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Friday the 13th, Mobile Homes, Fires, Tornado Magnets and the 2020 U.S. Census

July 13th, 2018 No comments
Friday13thMobileHomesFiresTornadoMagnetsandthe2020U.S.CensusManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHpronews

What if the HUD Code or ANSI labels are missing? Or what if it is a pre-HUD Code mobile home? How will the media report this? 

It’s what award-winning manufactured home industry professional Marty Lavin, speaking tongue in cheek, called the industry’s “other image campaign.”

 

It’s what Darren Krolewski, now Co-President of MHVillage, said is part of the ongoing wave of bad news in mainstream media about “mobile homes” that seems to outweigh the good news about manufactured housing.

Among the most common mainstream news items related to factory-built homes in America are stories about mobile homes that catch fire.

Some mainstream news items are stories about arson. Others are kitchen fires, or the cause of the blaze may have been a careless smoker. But whatever the cause, because of the nomenclature issue with mainstream media, the false impression is left that manufactured homes are more susceptible to fire than conventional housing.

Another common local news topic, especially after the start of the tornado and hurricane seasons, are windstorms and “mobile homes.”

Because of the internet, every local story is carried globally. That means that people throughout the U.S. that are researching or shopping for a home, get the false impression that caused Ohio’s Governor John Kasich to mistakenly target manufactured housing for fire hazards.

While the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA), and their state’s resident group lost that battle, the OMHA’s routine push-back may have been a factor in rising new manufactured home shipments there, when two other states in their region are seeing declining new manufactured home shipments.

Alabama and Florida are among the state associations that have pushed-back on the problematic narrative of “mobile homes,” manufactured homes, and windstorms.

ProperDefinitionsMobileHomeManufacturedHomeOrTrailerHOuseCivirlRightsPublicPolicy&ValuesIssuesSunshineHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews550x315

How many know that manufactured homes are as safe as a conventional house? It’s older mobile homes that routinely create problematic news. Which is why both data collection and nomenclature are key issues to advance manufactured housing education, which will boost sales naturally, Fixing the Census on this issue can help. 

 

The Common Denominators, Root Issues?

What are the common denominators in these vexing mainstream news stories?

Two factors, one is nomenclature/accurate data. That challenge should be tackled at both the local market – the state level, and nationally – as our recent Daily Business News article spotlighted at the link below. As with any linked article, that can be read later for greater depth of understanding and more related facts.

Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues

 

But the other is an issue of data collection. That’s where the U.S. Census Bureau comes in.

The Census Bureau provides often useful data for manufactured housing, because it reveals the substantial price savings over conventional construction.

But the flip side of the Census Bureau is what storm researchers have told MHProNews and MHLivingNews.

The Census Bureau’s database needs to collect accurate counts of how many manufactured home are in use, as well as how many pre-HUD Code mobile homes are in use.

NPR-Tornado Hits Mobile Home, Fact Check-Why Terminology Matters to Manufactured Housing Industry, Home Owners, Weather, News Pros

Doing that, say storm researchers, would aid them in their impact models, which currently – and unfairly – lump pre-HUD Code mobile homes in with post June, 15, 1976 built HUD Code manufactured homes.

Letters to congressional representatives, U.S. Senators and other public officials asking for this bureaucratic change is long overdue, and a necessary common-sense step that would arguably save taxpayer dollars over time.  Why?  Because more manufactured home sales would arguably reduce the numbers of subsidized housing units needed.

Having the Census Bureau make a change in their data collection is an example of an issue that is ideally handled by state or national post-production associations. So those who are members of such groups should be asking them to engage in this.

It is a fact that more mobile homes burn more than manufactured homes.  More pre-HUD Code mobile homes blow away than manufactured homes. The success of the quality and safety of the HUD Code is undermined by poor data, and poor nomenclature.

Keeping the Home Fires from Burning: Fire Safety and the Modern Manufactured Home

The solution is good information and media engagement.

That requires pro-active efforts now to make this part of the rapidly-approaching 2020 Census. It is an opportunity for associations to do what Nathan Smith said is necessary, namely, to be pro-active.

On this Friday the 13th, its an apt time to change decades of often avoidable misfortune into potentially millions of more new manufactured home sales, all by taking common sense steps now. Each manufactured home professional, advocate, and investor is either part of the solution, or part of the problem. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

 

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Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues

 

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Proper Definitions, Mobile Home, Manufactured Home, or Trailer House – Civil Rights, Respect, Public Policy, & Value Issues

July 11th, 2018 No comments

 

ProperDefinitionsMobileHomeManufacturedHomeOrTrailerHOuseCivirlRightsPublicPolicy&ValuesIssuesSunshineHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews550x315

What other industry that has existed for over 40 years, and still struggles with the proper terminology about its product?

 

Have you ever heard of anyone use the term crank phone with a land-line,’ when describing a modern smart phone?

Or who calls a modern E-Class Mercedes by the name, ‘Model T?’

EvolutoinCrankBagCellSmartPhonesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Those are a little like what the manufactured housing industry has allowed to happen for far too many decades, when the industry accepts terms like ‘mobile home,’ or worse, ‘trailer house in a trailer park’ when it comes to manufactured homes and the industry’s land-lease communities.

2018-07-11_1237GoogleProblematicDefintionofManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What other major industry has this kind of terminology problem?

Earlier today, a simple Google search revealed the “definition”  shown above.  This has issue has ripple effects for home owners, those considering a manufactured home, and all others too.

 

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

Examples of what educated Americans who own a manufactured home, including an assistant mayor, have had to say about this subject are linked above and below.

Taking on the Trash Talk! Are People Defined by their Housing Choice? Video, Photos

If you think it doesn’t matter, then you haven’t talked to, or read enough, articles and interviews with manufactured home (MH) owners.  For years, a common refrain has  been that manufactured home owners don’t want to have their home called a “trailer,” or have their community called a “trailer park,” because it makes them feel like “trailer trash.” So why – 42 years after the HUD Code created manufactured housing – does this nomenclature problem persist?

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

TerminologyNomenclatureMobileHomeManufacturedHOmeModularHomeTrailerHouseHarvardUniversityDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsManufacturedfHomeLivingNews

The above arn’t a perfect set of definitions, but it is clarifying. It is a matter of law, not opinion, what is or is not a manufactured home. Ditto the example below, from the National Fire Protection Association.

manufacturedhomeNotMotorHomeNotTrailerNotMobileHome-NFPA-FARreportOnManufacturedHousingFires-posted-MHLiivingNews-com-

Again, not perfect, but clarifying.

 

“Economic Racism”

The publishers of MHProNews – almost alone in the MH industry, in conjunction with our sister-site, MHLivingNews and a few industry voices – has periodically tackled this topic for years, as the linked articles reflect.

ItsAsWrongtoUseNWordToDescribeBlackAsUseTWordTodescribeManufacturedHomeRevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword

Isn’t what Donald Tye Jr said part of the antidote to the t-word issue?

The last Foremost survey indicates that the use of the term “trailer” and “mobile home” are on the rise, so those of you that follow the news are not imagining that the proper terms – manufactured home, or manufactured housing – aren’t growing.

We’ve asked industry voices to sound off on this issue from time to time.  Some examples of what industry pros have said, past and present, are found below.

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

PublishingHandPickedInformationCanBeWorsefortheImpressionItMakesOnManufacturedHomesandOurIndustryThanStatingEntirelyFalseInfo-BradLovinNCMHA

 

While Frank Rolfe has admitted on stage to contradicting himself on this issue, even he knows that the terminology matters, but he is correct that this is association work that should be done.

Because the video below makes that point, though we’d argue that the shrewd move long-term view is to routinely use the correct terminology.

 

 

The Media has Responsibility, but So Does the Industry’s Members

We’ve brought the topic periodically to the attention of the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) for years, as have others.

We’ve also asked several mainstream publishers and news outlets if MHI has followed up with them, questioning their improper use of terminology, data, or other issues.

Thus far, not a single publication or news source has answered that affirmatively.  Rephrasing, MHI routinely fails to address the terminology issue. It fits the hit that Frank Rolfe laid on them for not defending the industry, and its image.

Keep in mind, MHI are the ones for the multi-million dollar budget for this task.  It was part of what MHI’s ‘leadership’ said would occur before they brought on board their first – and now, reportedly second – public relations professional.

 

So, we asked Mark Weiss at MHARR, his thoughts on this topic of terminology.  He said the following, which is followed by what U.S. Legal says about the issue, and what some select quotes from the Code of Ethics from the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ).

The definition of “manufactured home” in our federal law, as well as all of the other statutorily-defined terms, is extremely important to the industry and consumers as well.  That term or “manufactured housing” distinguishes federally-regulated manufactured homes, which are subject to uniform, binding, preemptive federal construction and safety standards,” said Mark Weiss, J.D., President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).

He said, “A manufactured home is the only federally regulated construction standard, which makes them unique from other types of structures that are either not federally-regulated, or not regulated at all, or are not designed or intended for use as a “dwelling.”

The use of any other term, by either uninformed or deliberately maligning media, academics, industry critics, or others, is not only inaccurate, but a disservice to the public,” per Weiss. “The deliberate misuse of terminology can also be offensive to the millions who proudly own a manufactured home, or the tens of thousands who work in our industry.”

Insofar as production is regulated at the federal level, under a law that specifically uses and defines the term “manufactured housing,” this is more often a post-production issue that needs to be addressed and fought by those who deal directly with the public,” said Weiss to MHProNews. “At that post-product level, it is vital to make sure that today’s manufactured homes are not confused with other types of structures that offer lower-quality, lower levels of safety, or are otherwise misrepresented to the public and/or government entities.”

TheDeliberateMisueofTerminologyCanBeOffensivetoMillionsWhoProudlyOwnAManufacturedhomeOrThousandsinourIndustryMarkWeissMHARRMHproNews575

 

USLegalManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What does U.S. Legal Say?

Here below is an extended quote from U.S. Legal about the legal definition of manufactured homes.

Manufactured Home Law and Legal Definition

The Manufactured Housing program is a national program established to protect the health and safety of the owners of manufactured (mobile) homes. Under the program HUD issues, monitors, and enforces federal manufactured home construction and safety standards. HUD’s authority is granted under The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. 5401 et seq.; 24 CFR Part 3280 and Part 3282.

A manufactured home is defined by the regulations of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as housing that is essentially ready for occupancy upon leaving the factory and being transported to a building site. Other factory build homes, that require a significant amount of construction on site before they are ready for occupancy do not fall under the HUD definition. The following is a portion of a federal statute defining manufactured homes:

“Manufactured home” means a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which, in the traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length, or, when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems contained therein; except that such term shall include any structure which meets all the requirements of this paragraph except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the Secretary and complies with the standards established under this chapter

All of these quotes and sources should convince any journalist that this isn’t an optional matter.

SPJSocietyofProfessionalJournalistsSPJCodeoEthicsMHProNews

Society of Professional Journalism, Code of Ethics: Select Quotes:

Ethical journalism should be accurate and fair,” said the Society of Professional Journalism (SPJ). “Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

There’s more, but those above serve to prove the point for serious writers, journalists, producers, and editors.

Accuracy matters. Rarely can one point to as common a misuse of terminology occurs.

NewspapersNewsPeoplePxManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

MHI arguably ought to be pushed, shamed and/or otherwise prompted into doing what it’s leaders promised with regards to engaging the media on each and every problematic story.

Isn’t this terminology and media engagement issues yet another example of the alleged failures by MHI to serve the industry’s obvious needs?  Shouldn’t the array of industry voices,  including several of their past or current own members, as well as those outside of their membership, be considered and cause MHI to act to pro-actively address this problem?

While other issues, like regulations, zoning, financing and the like matter, few others could be as useful as getting the mainstream media and third-party researchers to simply use the correct terminology, and accurate information.

It should be part of the mantra of every good post-production entity. Doing so would in time rally manufactured homeowners.  Accurate information and nomenclature could accomplish more over time do than a multi-million dollar campaign could accomplish.

But the media’s and academia’s role in giving the proper respect to manufactured home owners is important.

 

 

Some of the reasons to respects, and support, manufactured home owners and the industry are outlined in the article linked above.  That linked article above is useful, because it is on a mainstream media site. You can share that and MHLivingNews.com with those who just ‘don’t get it’ about manufactured housing.

Nothing is changed until it is challenged. Knowledge is power, but more so, whenever it is properly shared. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

UltimateManufacturedHousingFactsDataInfographicNotMobileHomeTrailerHouseManufacturedHomeLivingNews

For sharing this information with those outside of manufactured housing, please use the link below. Thank you. https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/the-ultimate-manufactured-home-industry-fact-data-and-insights-bullets-plus-at-a-glance-infographic/

 

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

MHVillageLogoConfirmsDataMichiganManufacturedHousingAssocLogoShipmentSalesSlideRevealedDailyBusinessNewsMHProHNews550

In a message forwarded to the Daily Business News, MHVillage (MHV) confirmed troubling data that has been presented in person to dozens of gathered industry professionals.

DarrenKroloweskiMHVillageCoPresidentManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHPronewsThe factoids were shared by MHVillage’s Co-President, Darren Krolewski, using a positive-spin narrative.

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, MHVillage Inc. is the nation’s premier online marketplace for buying and selling manufactured homes with more than 25 million unique visitors annually. Last year, more than 80,000 homes were sold on MHVillage with a combined transaction value exceeding $3 billion,” said their promotion of a George Allen event.

Accepting their data claims at face value, the numbers on the surface appear impressive, which is their obvious intent.  They’re claiming they are the “premier marketplace.”

But when the MHVillage data is viewed more closely, what they reveal ought to be troubling to marketers and sellers of HUD Code manufactured housing.

The ratio of sales of homes on their site is a tiny fraction of a single percent.

Specifically, using MHV published 2017 data,

  • it is only about 1/3 of 1 percent of all visitors to their site ends up buying a manufactured home, so,
  • the average sales price of the home listed and sold there would be $37,500.
  • Considering the U.S. Census Bureau said that the average sales price of a new manufactured home was $72,900 in Dec 2017,
  • meaning the average HUD Code manufactured housing unit sold there would be 51.44% – roughly half the value – of the average new manufactured home shipped in December 2017.

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

More Woes? Michigan Data Reveals Shipment Slide

According to the April 2018 shipment data supplied by a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) source, Michigan – one of the top 10 states per Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) data – is sliding.

2018-06-22_0704MichiganManufacturedHousingAssociationLogoDataShipmentsAparil2017vsApril2018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Several questions about the decline and related were posed to the Michigan Manufactured Housing Association’s executive director, over the course of a few days.  Neither Bill Shaefer, nor the association, opted to answer.

What’s going on?  It’s part of a previously reported trend, which can be read in the linked article below after this column is finished.

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

Krolewski is on record sharing this view, “I think one of the challenges we have as an industry is that there is not enough positive news about manufactured housing to counter the negative.

2018-06-22_0504MHVillageTrafficDataAlexaManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews600

It’s a reality check, not a slam to do the math. If MHV is the industry’s “premier marketplace,” then the industry’s image woes are center stage, and Krolewski’s own statement explains why.

BobCrawfordFrankRolfeManufacturedHousingIndustryProfessionalNewsMHProNews

Bob Crawford, left, Frank Rolfe, right. Still credit, Inside MH video, by MHProNews.com.

For years, we have wondered WHY there was so little pro-industry advocacy from MHI to government movements, proposals, rules, etc. that were [often] not in the best interest of this industry,” said Bob Crawford, president of historic Dick Moore Housing, a BBB A+ rated firm.

On the MHU blog, Frank Rolfe has said, MHI – the industry lobby group…what’s with the concept of silence is golden? Negative articles on the industry are met with “no comment”. Positive news opportunities are met with “no comment”. 
I’ve never seen anything like it
.” 1

Krolewski has said at one point that the industry would be getting support from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on image building and messaging.  In fact, MHI has an active social media campaign, and reportedly one or two public relations people on staff, and has contracted others at times too.

That being so, where are their measurable results?

2018-06-22_0518EngagementofSiteVistorsMHVillageManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe industry is slowly crawling back from the bottom hit in 2009/2010. Aren’t new manufactured home sales the final metric that matters?  Isn’t that how the National Association of Home Builders ™ (NAHB), or the National Association of Realtors ™ (NAR) are measuring results?  Don’t sellers see want to know how many housing starts, and how many actual conventional housing unit sales?

We always hear about the tornadoes, flooding, fires, residents getting evicted from their homes so a shopping center can be built, unreasonable rent increases, how manufactured homes depreciate in value, etc,” Krolewski has said. “I think it’s less about the industry not responding appropriately, than it is us constantly having to play defense when we do.”

And all of this from the publisher of the MHInsider?

Rolfe has said, “…it’s my belief that the only way to elevate the public opinion of our industry is to explain to people (who are often full of negative stereotypes from such movies as 8-Mile and television shows like COPS and Trailer Park Boys) the truth about our product and business model.”

donaldtrumpnominatesbencarsonashousingsecretarycreditmhpronews2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews.

Kurt Kelley, JD – a colleague of Rolfe’s in the MHR project – pointed out that: “My Dad used to tell me, ‘Perception is the reality of others. So you better make sure you are perceived accurately and positively.’ If you let others define you, you’re stuck with their definition of you.”

Historically,” Kelley said, “the MH industry has been defined by the lowest common denominator, and not by the great value offered by our homes or the excellent living choice MHC’s offer across the country. A recent poll showed that 85% of all Republicans and 60% of all Democrats didn’t trust the media. You can fight back successfully.”

Editorially, we note that Kelly’s point is precisely what MHLivingNews and MHProNews has done, fight back with facts.

So why did MHI, while this operation was still their member, undermine and allegedly attempt to derail our pro-growth industry efforts?  One of hundreds of examples can be found at the link below.

WhereAreYouHeadingThisSummerHowManufacturedHomeLivingCanImproveYourLifestyleMHLivingNews

Readers can circle back and check out the article below, which points to facts useful for the manufactured home industry.
https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/where-are-you-headed-this-summer/

The first step in solving a problem is to recognize that it does exist,” the late, great Zig Ziglar said.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism,” said the inspirational minister, author, and speaker, the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, according to BrainyQuotes.

Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things,” said Winston Churchill, per the New Statesman.

CriticismMayNotBeAgreeableButItIsNecessaryItFulfillsSameFuncationAsPainInHumanBodyItCallsAttentiontoUnhealthyStateofThingsWinstonChurchillMHProNews

Critiques, fact checks, aren’t personal. Rather, they are a professional necessity.

Frank Rolfe, Marty Lavin, Bob Crawford, L. A. “Tony” Kovach and others are among those that have recognized that the industry’s post-production sector – specifically Arlington, VA based MHI – has failed to deliver on image building.

The result?  Historically low sales levels, which have contributed to industry consolidations.

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What was accomplished previously in sustainable shipment levels, can clearly be done again.

Rollohome, Creating 60,000 Factory-Built Homes in 2 Years

Having identified the problems, the next step must be to move toward solutions.

The communities sector, after breaking last year with MHI, is launching their own post-production national association.

‘Tip of Iceberg’ – Rick Rand; Marty Lavin, Communities have ‘No Confidence’ in Manufactured Housing Institute, New National Trade Group Announced

What about those in retail, installation, lending, suppliers, and services, etc.? To learn more, see the related articles, linked below. ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Footnote: 1) Typo in the original.  In fairness to Rolfe, in England, quotes are placed as he used it, inside the punctuation mark.

Related Reports:

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

George Allen Reply to Mainstream Media re: Roane/Lackey/SECO Exposé, Plus MHI, MHARR, et al – “Make Manufactured Housing Great Again”

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

“’Trailer Trash’? Watch Who You’re Insulting When You Throw Around Those Words” – Buffalo News

June 15th, 2018 Comments off
TrailerTrashWatchWhoYoureInsultingWhenYouThrowAroundThoseWordsBuffaloNewsManufacturedHOusingIndustryDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

Leisure Acres, known today as “The Woodlands,” the community which inspired the resident letter, shown below.”

SuperPages says that the community that was once known as Leisure Acres has since been renamed the Woodlands. “The Woodlands in LockportNY — 6237 S. Transit Road” used “…to be called Leisure Acres

Today, the online reviews give the property 3.1 stars out of 5. But current community and satellite pictures still routinely look good.  20 years ago, many of their residents thought of the manufactured home community as a premier property. How do we know that claim? 

Today is June 15, 1976 – the anniversary of the first manufactured homes (MH) – so its an apt topic. We also know that media, researchers, and the public at large often use the ‘T-word” incorrectly to describe manufactured homes.

Almost twenty years ago, a resident of Leisure Acres let the world know how much she resented having their fine community called “a trailer park,” or their homes as being known as “trailer houses.”

We’ll look below at that manufactured home resident’s entire letter, by Helene Lee, that was published in places as diverse as New York State and Chicago.

Rightfully so, Lee made a number of useful points.

As MHLivingNews and MHProNews has touted for years, the terminology matters.  Steve Duke is one of several industry professionals who believes the same.

TerminologyMattersBecausetheTerminologyDescribestheConstructionStandardsHomeBuiltToSteveDukeLMHAaMHLivingNewsMHProNewsBiggerPocketsSunshineHomesRedBayAL

The first home in the graphic above is an older mobile home, the second above is a modern manufactured home. ”The terminology matters because the terminology determines the construction standards a home was built to.” – Steve Duke, LMHA.

While he may routinely violate his own publicly stated principle, Frank Rolfe has said that we should be simply calling our factory-built manufactured home (MH) industry’s homes, as just “homes.”  That’s not new, as Stacy Epperson with NextStepUSA has said similarly to MHProNews some years ago. 

LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHLivingNews and MHProNews – see’s this differently.  We take a more nuanced view.

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As the industry’s top publishers, as MH consultants, and as business development service providers, we believe that the proper terminology should be strictly adhered to, for each era of the evolution from trailer, to mobile home, to manufactured housing.

But why?

Simple.

Because there are hundreds of millions in the U.S. alone who use the terms “trailer,” “mobile home,” and “manufactured home” interchangeably, for better or for worse.  A serious and sustained effort to clear that up has to be made.  The issues weren’t created over night, and it won’t be cured overnight.

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Learn more at the link below.

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

As noted, media and the public use the terminology interchangeably.  That’s a problem for the modern factory-built home industry, because a trailer house IS NOT a mobile home, and a mobile home IS NOT a manufactured home.  That’s why we developed the graphics, and numerous other articles above or below that compliment that point.

It’s all about accurate education, that allows the industry to define itself.  The alternative is that others have and will define today’s manufactured homes in ways that harm our proper understanding and image.

That’s also why we’ve also done videos that walk viewers through the facts.  Once such interview and article is with multiple award-winning industry veteran, Dick Moore.

 

Manufactured Home Owners Often Care Deeply

The first challenge is to understand just what people who live in manufactured homes, or pre-HUD Code mobile homes, think.  Let’s admit that some don’t care what their house is called.

But many do. Frankly, all manufactured home owners should care. Why? Because the nomenclature in marketing can be tied to the resale value of the home.

Helene R. Lee and her husband were living in a community once known as Leisure Acres, in Lockport, NY.  The article appeared in the Buffalo, NY newspaper, and later was republished in the Chicago Tribune. We’re republishing it in its entirety, further below.

To set the stage, this was written during the Paula Jones/President Bill Clinton sexual affair and related scandals era in 1997.

As part of the ‘defense’ of then President Clinton, his campaign adviser and Longtime loyalist James Carville famously said of JonesDrag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,”” per the Daily Beast and other sources.

Should Clinton and Carville bear some responsibility for how this terminology exploded in useage since that line was uttered?

“Drag a hundred-dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you’ll find,” James Carville, Clinton Strategist

Particularly, those who are the industry’s long-desired target market – those who can “stroke the check, or have great credit, and can buy a new manufactured home with ease – care about what their home is called.

We’ve featured several stories, which will be linked as resources at the end of this article, that make that point from the manufactured home owner’s perspective.  We’ll link up reports about the surveys reflecting high levels of manufactured home owner’s satisfaction.

Plus, our classic report about the 40th anniversary since the first manufactured homes were built.

Note, with letters to the editor or Op-Eds, headlines are often supplied by the publisher.

The headline shown below is the version from the Chicago Tribune. But the first version we’ve found of this classic letter was in the Buffalo News, under the headline shown at the top of this Daily Business News Flashback-Friday post.

The photos and Google images were not part of her original, but have been added to illustrate author Helene R. Lee’s point.

TheWoodlandsLockportNYFormerlyCalledLeisureAcresNotTrailerParkNotTrailerTrashManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Entrance to The Woodlands, Lockport, NY – once known as Leisure Acres – the community where the author of the article below, Helene R. Lee, lived.  The headline below is the one used in the Chicago Tribune, April 2, 1997.

— Note, often letters to the editor or Op-Eds, headlines are supplied by the publisher. —

Watch Who You’re Calling ‘Trailer Trash’

By Helene R. Lee

 Remember the character in the movie “Network” who yelled; “I’m mad as hell and I won’t take it anymore”? That’s exactly how I feel whenever I hear or read two words–“trailer trash.” The supposition seems to be that people who live in trailer parks are trash and/or that their homes ae trash; that they are mentally challenged; unclean and have little conception of world events.

The words or inference keep popping up in novels, in articles, in movies, on TV, in a description of a Barbie doll.We’ve heard them repeatedly in references to Paula Jones, President Clinton’s nemesis in a sexual harassment case. A Newsweek writer, speaking on television, referred to Jones’s reputation as “just some sleazy woman with big hair coming out of the trailer parks.” And James Carville, Clinton’s former adviser, made the comment: “Drag a hundred dollars through a trailer park and there’s no telling what you’ll find.”

LeisureAcresTheWoodlandsLockportNYMapGoogleSatDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Google satellite images.

I have to stop at these quotes because I am getting angrier and angrier.

The park where my husband and I live has more than 1,000 homes. The park is well maintained, likewise the homes, with perhaps one or two exceptions. Not a bad ratio, since unkempt homes can be found in any neighborhood.

RedFallColorManufacturedHomeTheWoodlandsFormerlyLesiureAcresLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

The Woodlands, Lockport, NY. Previously called, Leisure Acres.

The diversity of the residents is apparent, especially on a warm summer evening. There are young couples just starting out, couples with children, retired couples, widows, widowers and singles. There is neighborliness, too. After our last bad snowstorm, we soon saw our young neighbor shoveling out not only his car, but an elderly neighbor’s as well.

2018-06-15_1306TheWoodlandsLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Websites often cherry pick photos, but the 3D satellite view provides a pretty objective idea of what Helene R. Lee’s community, The Woodlands looks like today.

There are yearly contests at Christmastime for the best decorated home–also for any homeowner who demonstrates special improvements. There are parties for the children at holiday time. In the summer there are organized softball games and other pastimes, all taken care of by parents and the park management.

I would like to point out that communities like ours are no longer called trailer parks. They are “manufactured-home communities.” There is no way one of these homes can be hitched up to a car or small truck and pulled away. Once the home is set up, there it stays. Only extraordinary and costly ways are utilized to pull one out.

BoulevardEntryManufacturedHomeTheWoodlandsFormerlyLesiureAcresLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Contemporary photo of The Woodlands, author Helene Lee’s community.

The homes come in varying sizes and are very affordable compared to site-built homes. Not everyone can afford a $100,000-plus house, after all. In our area (western New York), a new manufactured home can cost $40,000 to $50,000 while a good used one can be bought in the $20,000 to $30,000 range, depending on size.

Because of the reasonable costs, these homes make good starters for young couples who hope to move up later to larger, conventional houses. They are suitable for retired people on fixed incomes, families with lower-wage jobs or those who just don’t want the hassle of maintaining a large home.

My own experience with so-called trailer parks extends to California where I visited a friend a few years ago. Her park was beautifully laid out and landscaped, as were other parks we toured. The pride of the residents was obvious in the immaculate homes and well-maintained lots.

InteriorFireplaceLivingRoomManufacturedHomeTheWoodlandsFormerlyLesiureAcresLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Interior photo, fire place, living area, in the community that letter-to-the-editor author Helene Lee was describing.

At this point I admit I am not wearing blinders. No doubt there are trailer parks that are rundown.

InteriorKitchenManufacturedHomeTheWoodlandsFormerlyLesiureAcresLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Interior photo, kitchen, in the community that Helene Lee was describing.

Unfortunately the film industry and television insist on perpetuating the stereotyping of trailer parks–manufactured-home communities. In their version every park is rundown, inhabited by borderline illiterates and drunks prone to violence.

The film industry and TV executives along with James Carville, the Newsweek writer and a host of other writers owe an apology to all the residents of manufactured-home communities. We’re sick and tired of the stereotyping. ##

ExteriorManufacturedHomeLandscapedRampTheWoodlandsFormerlyLesiureAcresLockportNYManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHPronews

Leisure Acres, known today as “The Woodlands,” the community which inspired resident Helene Lee to write the letter above.

HELENE R. LEE and her husband are retired and have lived for nine years in Leisure Acres, a manufactured-home community in Lockport, NY.  The property is known in 2018 as The Woodlands.

—- End of extended quote. —- 

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

Similar views from other manufactured home owners, are linked above and below.

Taking on the Trash Talk! Are People Defined by their Housing Choice? Video, Photos

We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third party image, and/or content, are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

“Trailer House Trauma,” Fresh Look at Manufactured Housing’s Opportunities

“Trailers for Sale or Rent,” “Pencil Head, Its Not a Trailer Park,” Manufactured Home Rental Reality Checks

Manufactured Housing Roadblock? BBC Reports “Trailer Park Living”

5 Steps for Making Lemonade from Lemons, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

NorthStar and Manufactured Housing Radix

 

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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com. Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

 

Code of Conduct – Good or Bad News, and Home Selling – Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

May 28th, 2018 Comments off

StopCodeofConductPxStoryBlocksManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews550x315

To do a good job of marketing and selling, one must first have a sense of the broader, and local market elements. We’ll share some examples today that are essential for a marketing or sales professional in manufactured housing to understand in order to be effective with qualified prospects. We note that in all of our coaching sessions, good ethics and customer satisfaction must be understood as the given background, and the goal must be for the good of all.

 

Crain’s Detroit published a story that explained just how far manufactured housing nosedived in their state from the peak of 1998, until the recovery from the bottom hit in 2009 began in 2010. While it has positive elements, that report also raises questions for a savvy shopper or investor.

The Urban Institute did a report in January on manufactured homes, which was largely positive for the manufactured home industry, at least by mainstream news standards.

Several mainstream media (MSM) outlets have been spotlighting the need to protect manufactured home communities from destruction, because they are so important for affordable housing.  We’ll plan to spotlight one of those, sent to us as a news tip, hopefully this week here on the Daily Business News

The first takeaway is that there are some positive news stories carried by MSM and by third party researchers. These are examples of the kinds of stories industry professionals should prefer to see more of – and it is in part, up to pros like you – to make that happen in your market(s).

That said, the sad reality is that beyond press releases, most media coverage about our industry tend to be negative. Ignoring that reality costs the industry billions of dollars a year in new HUD Code manufactured home sales.  That means, mostly negative media coverage likely costs your location millions of dollars a year in additional manufactured home sales that your business would otherwise make.

The two screenshots of Google search results below are recent examples. See for yourself the ratio of bad news to good news stories.

 

ManufacturedHomeIndustryMembersDeclineTakeSidesRossvilleParkOwnerChatanoogaTimeFreePressManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

There are times when none of the top 8 to 15 MSM news stories about MH are positive. Do you think that pattern impacts home buyers?  The third story from the top, above, is linked here.

2018-05-27_1331MobileHomeGoogleNewsMobileHomeSearchDailyBusinessNewsMondayMOrningSalesMeetingMHProNews

Let’s be clear. A large percentage of the time that we at MHProNews engage with the mainstream media, the reporter will use better terminology, and will try to work in some of what was said. Reporters are people, they usually want to be fair. Are there exceptions? Sure, but many will strive to get some balance into their report. For MHVille, more balanced reporting represents progress, every time it is done.

That in a nutshell explains a significant part of why manufactured home (MH) sales are still at historic lows, in spite of a raging affordable housing crisis.  But for the savvy MH marketer, that’s opportunity in disguise. Keep in mind that the MH Industry squandered a historic opportunity in the late 90s and early 2000s.  We’re being given another such moment in history.  Let’s make the most of it, shall we?

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A savvy, visionary MH marketer sees the problematic trend since 2000 as opportunity in disguise.  To tap that opportunity requires work, but the reward is significantly higher levels of new home sales that result in happy customers.

 

Story Telling, Defining Yourself, Media Engagement, and Code of Conduct 

To tee this up, as a volume retailer for many years with happy homeowners, I never waited for someone else to define my business or my products. I didn’t wait for an association, a manufacturer or anyone else to do what our team could do best.

That’s not to say that associations, builders or other third parties can’t play a role. Indeed, they can and should.  But I didn’t hold my breath, waiting for that to happen. 

Because if you or I’m waiting for someone else to define and boost business, what if they delay? What if they do a poor job?

We set sales records, and hit the top ½ of 1 percent of all retailers in the nation by making things happen.  We synergized with others, as much as possible, but we also did what we needed to do, come rain or shine.  

So, akin to what Sam Landy, president and CEO of UMH Properties told MHProNews, we did our own marketing. It was wildly successful, and that occurred during tough times when dozens of new home retailers in our state vanished. 

The are many beautiful aspects to manufactured housing.  One such point – if you make it appealing in your market(s) – is this. Affordability is always going to have a clientele. Nor does affordability have to be the lowest rung on the ladder client. Good times, or bad times, a motivated retailer, community, developer, or producer, can sell, sell, sell. They can do so honorably, with good CSI, and happy homeowners who send their friends.   

After my first few years in the manufactured home business, I learned by trial end error how to successfully engage the media. Do that in your market, and forge that habit.

 

Example

Here’s an example of a radio show I was recently invited to do. This was for a regional talk radio station, so imagine this in your market.

AffordableMobileHOmesNotWelcomeinBozemanMT1450AMTomEgelhoffOpenForBusinessSmallBusinessExpertManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Notice that the topic sounded negative. Indeed, in one sense, it was, but it was dealing with a local reality. Don’t run from tough topics! Dive in! Push back with the facts, and the truth properly told! Make a difference!

This part of the radio show is about 20 minutes on air, with maybe half of that – near the middle – included me.  If you listen carefully, every caller had something good to say about manufactured homes. Even though the others on the air may have misused the terminology, I hit key points using the correct industry lingo, while also explaining briefly the industry’s evolution, and appeal to all economic groups.

Click the arrow to play back the audio.

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Make a habit of using the correct terminology. Encourage your team to learn it and use it too. It pays.  

I’ve never stopped reading or learning about the industry, and how it fit into the broader housing market. We use that with our coaching clients, and with publishing.

Rephrased, we practice what we preach. 

Why? In the long run, it works best. Short-term thinking produces short-term results.  

 

Code of Conduct

The mainstream media story linked here makes an important point, and this is one that associations can, and ought to play a useful role in.  

jay-hamiltong-executive-director-georgia-manufactured-housing-association-gmha-posted-mhpronews-com1-1

Jay Hamilton, Executive Director, Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA).

Jay Hamilton, of the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) would not make a specific comment to that media about a specified series of bad-news stories that involve one or more members. But he did speak to the reporter (a plus), and Hamilton explained to the reporter what the GMHA’s ethical principles are (another plus).

Hamilton spoke about the GMHA’s code of conduct for members. That’s something members stipulate to, when they join the association. 

When a code of conduct is enforced in the way the GMHA executive director outlined, arguably that would make it clear to readers that the majority of the industry – or at least that membership organization – care about honest business practices.

That in turn is good for honorable association members.

But if an association fails to take action against a member that crosses a line who won’t repent, its arguably harmful to all.  

The code of conduct should be rigorously enforced, regardless of who it is. 

Mistakes happen. Corrections can and should be made. When they aren’t, let the members or board vote to expel an unrepentant offender for cause. If that became a habit, anywhere that took place would – over time – would likely see more sales growth among member companies.  Because consumers want ethical companies to do business with.

ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews-575x235

 

Do your best. Don’t wait for others. If you are part of an association, and bad news strikes about a member who won’t repent or do right by their customers, press for an enforcement of the code of conduct. Enough said for today. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images are and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related References:

Life Hack Success Tip-Any Pro Can Do This-Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Is it Better to Be Candid, or a Kiss-Up? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales, Marketing Meeting

Style or Substance? Lesson from Most Hated in America – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting

What are the FACTS about Manufactured Housing Industry Traffic vs. Real Estate? MHVillage, MHProNews, Manufactured Housing Institute Data

‘You Are Either Clayton Homes, or You’re Not’ – Monday Morning MH Sales Meeting

 

InvestInYourselfAndInYourBizManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Time, talent, treasure. Why not put your money, as we do, where your mouth is?

FactoryBuiltCarsClothingAppliancesElectronicsCellsSmartPhonesHomesItJustFollowsLATonyKovachC2017MHproNewsBy L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Home Group Commissions YouGov Study, Most Don’t Understand Modular Homes

May 10th, 2018 Comments off

HomeGroupYouGovMostDontUnderstandModularHomesManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Home Group, one of the UK’s largest providers of homes for sale and affordable rent, has reported that 52% of individuals would be unlikely to live in a modular home, yet almost 90% failed to identify a modern modular product,” the operation said in a statement in their news blog.

The British company uses the King’s – err, now the Queen’s – English, so some of the spelling is a bit different there than on this side of the Atlantic.

Almost 90% of respondents failed to recognise that this home, by ilke Homes, was modular. Yet over 70% identified shipping container homes as modular homes.”

The research, carried out on behalf of Home Group by YouGov, found that more than half of those surveyed would not choose modular, and 41% believe that modular homes are less durable than conventionally built homes,” Home Group’s statement said.

As if to make their point about most don’t understand the product, another U.K. based publication showed a photo of a single section American HUD Code manufactured home, instead of a British modular home, as in the photo at the top of this post.  The errant Showhouse photo, reporting on this exact same YouGove survey, is below.

ShowcaseManufactueredModularHousingImageHUDWikidpeidaManufacturedHousingDailyBuisnessNewsMHproNews

The YouGov research found that, “using a selection of images from which respondents could identify modular homes, many identified the two container home images as modular (75% and 78% respectively), whereas only 11% identified today’s product as a modular home.”

Brian Ham, executive director of development, for the Home Group said, “If we are to respond to the ongoing housing crisis we need to find new and innovative ways of tackling the issue, and modular homes, as well as wider modern methods of construction, including volumetric products, will allow us to deliver homes more efficiently.”

The YouGov survey was based upon a sampling of over 2000 adults in England, using images online.

Councillor Malcolm Brain, a Cabinet Member for Housing, Gateshead Council said: “We welcome this project to build around 40 new homes, many of which are being built using modern methods of construction, for affordable rent in Gateshead – especially at a time when affordable housing is a big issue.  Modular housing has huge potential to speed up the delivery of new homes and we look forward to showcasing the best designs here in Gateshead.”

Per their website, Home Group describes itself this way. “We are a social enterprise and a charity with a turnover of over £350m and one of the UK’s largest providers of high quality housing and integrated housing, health and social care.”

What would a similar survey of adults reveal about the public’s understanding of HUD Code manufactured homes, or modular homes reveal?

It should be noted that British media has reported on American manufactured homes numerous times, and often in less than a glowing light.  That may explain in part why Brits don’t recognize a modular home. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

(Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachMHProNews-com-

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach addressing industry professionals in an educational session.

By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – Masthead commentary, for MHProNews.com.

Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Within an Ongoing Wave of Routinely Problematic Media Reports, What Do Actual Manufactured Home Owners Say?

April 16th, 2018 Comments off
WithinAnOngoingWaveofRoutinelyProblematicMediaReportsWhatDoActualManufacturedHomeOwnersSayMHLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNews

Still from the MHLivingNews video, posted further below.

There’s an ongoing drum beat of news media coverage that reflects on manufactured homes and their owners.

 

In part because of the principle of significant numbers of editors – “If it Bleeds, if Leads” – many hard news media, stations, and news channels tend to focus on problems, as opposed to ‘good news.’  Simple Google searches demonstrate that reality when it comes to manufactured homes, as the report linked below reveals. To be fair, its not universally true.  There are arguably some mitigating circumstances, for example, when a writer is rushed and relies on stereotypes instead of in depth research.  But the fact remains that a survey of most news coverage about manufactured homes tend to be negative, rather than positive.

 

Media Bias, Ignorance, Manufactured Homes, Agenda Journalism, the Truth About “Fake News”

Given the affordable housing crisis, the general pattern of media coverage is a problem for millions of home seekers, who are kept in the dark due to in part to a general lack of understanding of what the realities are today.

There are exceptions to that pattern of media bias or ignorance, as the report linked below reflects.  As other Daily Business News reports have indicated, public officials also play a role in this challenge of misinformation.  The same could be said about some significant forces within the ranks of the industry, who fail to routinely defend the industry which they are supposed to promote.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

Third Party and University Level Research Often Favorable Towards Manufactured Housing

While you may not learn it from the bulk of media reports, for at least two decades, federal and third-party researched published reports often debunked prejudiced or ignorant view of modern manufactured homes, and their owners.

MultipleReasonsExpectManufacturedHousingDoBetterThanSiteBuiltHousingEricBelskyEecDirJointCenterHousingStudiesHarvardUnivDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

At the time Belsky made this prediction, manufactured homes were selling over 250,000 new units per year. This year, MH won’t reach 40 percent of that total. What happened?

Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

Weather Expert’s Surprising, Bombshell Statement on Tornado Deaths and Affordable Manufactured Homes

Federal Data Spotlights Manufactured Home Industry Quality, Regulatory Questions

But for a variety of reasons previously outlined, the voices of manufactured home professionals and owners are often depicted as negative.

Meanwhile – in an ironic twist, federal data, plus third party surveys and research – routinely reveal widespread manufactured home owner satisfaction.

Foremost Report: Manufactured Home Customer Survey and Market Facts

Manufactured Home Owners – Satisfaction Survey Redux

What the brief review above reveals is that the authentic voices of manufactured homes owners are often lost in the bulk of affordable housing discussions in America.

 

Affordable Housing Focus Group Video, Episode 2

Thus this affordable housing focus group video below is a break from the norm.  In this periodic series of videos with manufactured home owners, they will help correct some of these oversights and challenges found in the context of America’s affordable housing discussion.

 

 

Episode 2 – above – of our affordable housing focus group builds on what Daily Business News readers learned in our first report, linked below.

Affordable Housing Focus Group, Comparing Housing Options, Rent, Conventional, Condos, Manufactured Homes

This post will be updated to the MHLivingNews.com public version of this post once that’s published and available.  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Reports:

Evergreen, Manufactured Homes and NIMBY, “Why the Feds Must Step In”

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Evergreen, Manufactured Homes and NIMBY, “Why the Feds Must Step In”

April 12th, 2018 Comments off
EvergreenMHNimbyWhyTheFedsMustStepInmanufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Residents packed a meeting room to discuss – or oppose – a planned manufactured home community near their neighborhood.

A HUD PD&R, and other third-party studies reveal that manufactured homes appreciate side-by-side with conventional housing.

 

There’s been no new mobile homes built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976, the date construction on the first HUD Code manufactured homes formally began.

But you may not know those facts if you were one of dozens of residents who piled into a Montana town’s meeting room.

According to NBC Montana, most of those residents where there to protest the development of a new 122 site manufactured community.

A hung jury for the Flathead County Planning Board Wednesday night regarding a controversial mobile home [sic] development on West Evergreen Drive,” per NBC Montana.

SICSicutJournalismDefintionSocietyProfessionalJournalismDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The 6 person jury was split, 3 voted against and 3 voted for the proposed West Evergreen Estates subdivision.

More than 70 people turned out for the meeting from the surrounding vicinity to give testimony against it and a decision wasn’t reached until past midnight,” per the NBC affiliate.

Residents gave public comment on how the proposed 122-lot mobile home [sic] park could potentially lower their property values, increase crime in the neighborhood and strain their already congested streets and schools,” wrote Larisa Casillas.

Who’s going to pay for the loss in our property? We already have people who have their homes for sale, and the buyers will say, ‘It’s going to depend on whether the mobile home goes through, otherwise we don’t want your property,’” said Virginia Feiker, an Evergreen resident.

It’s really going to be devastating to all of us what ends up happening,” she added.

Anders’ neighbor Chance Jeschke doesn’t think it’s a good idea. “Neighbors would like to see another type of development built on the vacant lot across from them, but they feel a trailer park may lower their property values,said Casillas.

I was raised in a trailer, I don’t have a stigma against it, but I just don’t know if that’s exactly what we need right here,” said Jeschke, who has lived in his current home for 19 years.

The issue will now go before the County Board of Adjustment on May 1.

 

“…Hasn’t done Jack Sh-t…

A twenty-five year award winning veteran of a well known manufactured home industry operation lamented to the Daily Business News that the industry “hasn’t done Jack Sh-t” to deal with the image issue.

Frank Rolfe, before going silent in the wakes or reported “encouragement” from 21st Mortgage Corp., complained that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), the industry’s self-proclaimed post production association routinely failed to deal with the challenge of bad news, and often ignored positive media reports beyond their own advertorials.

I think that [Richard] Dick Jennison [MHI’s President and CEO] wants to control the narrative with media. He’s afraid to talk to the press, because he knows he can’t control the narrative,” a state association executive told MHProNews

 

Why the Feds Must Step In

LATonyKovach-QuestioningNYSAAteam-NewYorkHousingAssociation-MHProNews-com-PhotoCreditMarkSimon-250x167

L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY. 

This is the latest sign of a long pattern that costs America an estimated $2 trillion dollars annually in lost productivity,” said published L.A. “Tony” Kovach (see linked YIMBY vs NIMBY, in related reports, linked further below).

Every claim and concern voiced in these videos by locals has a fact-based third-party response that’s been documented on MHLivingNews and MHProNews,” Kovach said. “Call it bigotry or ignorance, but their thinking fits a textbook definition for prejudice. This is why the Feds must step in, just as they did in the 1950s and 1960s on school and racial issues. Access to affordable housing is a right, part of the dream and promise of America.  Which of those residents would want to have their access to ownership denied in a similar fashion?”

 

He pointed out that the homes across the street have roof pitches that looked very much like those found on lower cost, entry-level manufactured homes. The award winning industry professional explained that HUD arguably had the jurisdiction to act in cases like this.

 JackieAndersEvergreenResidentSunshineHomesRedBadAlManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

But beyond legal force, there ought to be a sustained educational effort. “Understanding that this costs them money not to do it, plus denies honest economic development, there are many reasons to do this kind of project.”

CappaertManufacturedHousingTunica2018ManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Homes like those shown would enhance the neighborhood in Evergreen, where a proposed community of 122 sites is being debated.

Manufactured home professionals are routinely honorable people. Manufactured home residents aren’t criminals whose kids are to be shunned in school. Change the story from NIMBY to race, and these people would be labeled bigots,” he said, adding “But this isn’t about name calling. It’s about action. This will cost their tax base if it isn’t advanced.  It will cost people who need or want a manufactured home an opportunity to build equity. Presuming the developer does what so many want, and execute on this project properly, it would raise their property values.” 

Many benefit if it is done properly, and the very ones protesting, plus many others are the losers if it isn’t advanced,” Kovach said.

 

Where is MHI?

When will MHI routinely begin to act to engage on issues like this one?

When will state and local officials realize that it often costs them money, because they have to create subsidized rental housing?

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Tye explained that public housing – an entitlement – often yields addiction. Ownership vs. renting or living in “projects” leads to integrity, a view he likens to those of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And when will HUD and federal officials enforce the laws and rulings that could create more economic development and opportunities in towns like this from coast-to-coast? ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing “Top Ten Truths”

YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact

Pride and Prejudice: The Truth About Manufactured Home Communities and Crime

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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Media Bias, Ignorance, Manufactured Homes, Agenda Journalism, the Truth About “Fake News”

April 9th, 2018 Comments off

FakeNewsManufacturedHomeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Both the left and the right have developed their news and other media platforms.

 

Both the American left and the right have watchdog sites that track the reports of the ‘other side.’  Sometimes those opposition researchers Fisk” – or fact-check – how a story is presented, in the light of the known facts.

For decades, news has been a mix of accurate and unbiased reports, while others are tainted by an agenda or prejudice. While the modern era may be more extreme in the “fake news” category than it was 40 years ago in American history, it is not per se a new phenomena.

Journalists, j-schools, and the Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics all state their goal to report facts accurately – without bias – and when needed, to “speak truth to power.”

That said, often, money, ratings, those unstated agendas, ignorance, or bias prevail over an accurate reporting of the truth.

Partially with that in mind, the Daily Business News for some time has provided periodic reports on third party guidance about the facts regarding media tilt.

The best chart we’ve seen on that topic is by the awarding-winning independent journalist, Sharyl Attkisson. Her left-right media graphic is below.  Keep in mind that just because something comes from a different source than what you or your friends may normally read or view, that doesn’t mean its automatically ‘bad.’   Once facts and bias are understood, then discerning the truth becomes easier.

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources. http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/no-fire-just-smoke-and-democratic-clinton-supporter-says-enough/

 

Journalism Ignorance, Agenda and Bias Impacts Manufactured Housing Daily

Do a search on Google, Yahoo, or Bing using the two words – manufactured home” – select the news” tab, then hit enter. Search results vary by platform, device and location, but today’s result in our office looks like the following.

ManufacturedHomeIndustryNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsgooglesearch4.8.2018

This is the acid test, the day-by-day reality check on how manufactured housing is being reported by mainstream media. Note: people are people.  Most journalists want to get the facts correct. That said, no one knows what they don’t know. Some person has to take the time to INFORM the media, when a report reflects bias or ignorance.

 

Do the same test for “mobile home” – the result from a laptop search in central Florida as of the date and time shown is as follows.

MobileHomeSearchManufactguredHomendustryNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsgooglesearch4.8.2018

 

Then do a search using a phrase like, “trailer house,” “trailer park,” or “mobile home park.”  We’ve just done one of those three to illustrate, as shown below.

TrailerParkSearchManufactguredHomendustryNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsgooglesearch4.8.2018

 

These examples are the media-based impressions the general public sees, reads, and hears about manufactured housing.  It is what award-winning industry expert, Marty Lavin called, the “industry other image campaign.”

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It is easy to curse a journalist or editor from afar. But experience shows that most reporters care about getting the facts correct.  But it normally takes personal engagement in order to get corrections, or prompt more accurate reporting.  With respect to political bias, that can be another story. But regarding manufactured housing, what the industry needs is routine, expert, respectful engagement in media at the local, regional, and national levels.

 

As the president of a HUD Code builder told MHProNews last week, “…two amazing things: the first is all the inaccurate garbage that gets put out [by media] about our industry. The second is you are the only person in the whole world that is willing to call people out on it! Amazing.” We thanked the sender for his comments, and noted others who support our or other efforts to correct the record.

But that quote and Lavin’s exemplifies several things.  Frustration is experienced by thousands of industry professionals about mainstream media reports.  That said, there has also been some progress too.  For example, note the 4 mainstream news sources.

Bloomberg, HousingWire, Realtor and Fox all suggest Manufactured Homes as Important Solution for Affordable Housing in America

One more example can make the point.  Several community owners have told us in recent months about an incident that took place in their community.  These incidents were at times from 4 or 5 star type properties. Yet, in each case, the media called their attractive community a trailer park” [sic].

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Until writers, anchors, editors, and producers realize that terminology is offensive, ignorant, or bigoted, it will continue to be a black eye in mainstream media reports.

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Is Journalism Dead?

Journalism isn’t dead, as some opinion writers or talk show hosts on the left or right may say.  There are a mix of accurate, inaccurate, or a blend of both in every report.  Bias routinely is reflected, especially when it comes to politics.

But with respect to manufactured housing?

Journalists don’t know what they don’t know.

That said, news media reports are often manipulated, and the narrative can be framed in a manipulative manner. The OZY Media, or PBS reports on manufactured housing are but two examples of how the narrative can be couched, including the choice of music on the video designed to make you feel sympathetic toward some alleged “victim” of a business.

Fighting Fake Manufactured Home News: Fisking OZY Media’s ‘Trailer Park Nation’

As a state association executive told MHProNews, they are not in the business of defending an apparent “bad actor,” and neither are we.

Given the constitutionally protected freedom and of the press, there is not much that can be done – at least obviously – by government to “regulate” the truth.

However, an effort launched years ago – CSPAN – routinely provides a window on federal oversight meetings.   Local and state meetings may also be carried by video. Viewership levels are often low. What that means is that anyone who wants to take the time to sift through hours of testimony to find the few minutes – or moments – can do so.  At times, they provide powerful insights. 

Time, talent, and the treasure are needed to support such efforts.

That said, such free access government video services can be useful, as three Daily Business News and another on MHLivingNews reported last week all originated from precisely such national or local hearing video feeds.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson and Senator Thom Tillis Discuss Affordable Housing and Manufactured Homes, Video

What Actual Home Owners Say…

Manufactured Housing, Media and You

Daily, news stories about our industry and customers are created.  Once published, because of search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, those stories can multiply, and live on for years online.

Good, bad or indifferent, those news stories influence how a particular business, location or the industry appears to the public when certain searches like those shown further above are conducted.

Often, how a story is initially framed – the narrative – may shape other reports in its wake.

The solution?

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L. A. “Tony” Kovach, photo by Mark Simon, shows Kovach engaging with SAAs in NY. 

I’ve spoken and communicated electronically with reporters, producers and editors for years about manufactured housing issues that they’d covered,” says MHProNews and MHLivingNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “They are people like you and me. Which means they too are impacted by human nature.”

Journalists,” says Kovach – who himself was engaged in journalism since high school and earned a journalism scholarship, before later turning to a business career in manufactured housing – “don’t know what they don’t know.”

Journalists and writers have deadlines and pressures to produce a story. They pick and chose what facts are presented. That’s why Brad Lovin’s insight last year is so spot on.”

 

PublishingHandPickedInformationCanBeWorsefortheImpressionItMakesOnManufacturedHomesandOurIndustryThanStatingEntirelyFalseInfo-BradLovinNCMHA

 

We noted last week that Berkshire Hathaway owned Clayton Homes has the ability to respond to any news story they want, via their own media relations people, Berkshire Hathaway’s media resources, or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), and their media resources,” said Tony Kovach.

So when a negative news story doesn’t get a response, it’s because MHI, Clayton or both decided not to respond.

Part of the purpose behind MHLivingNews and MHProNews is precisely to create opportunities to engage with media, researchers, nonprofits, or public officials,” Kovach explained. “It’s necessary. It doesn’t work every time, but it does work often enough when persistence and professionalism are involved.”

What industry readers ought to understand is that MHI knows all of this.  Their prior chairman addressed this in writing to MHProNews.

 

MHProNews presented on this subject at an MHI event, a few years back.  The response was positive.

 

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In spite of a positive response to a presentation organized on media engagement by MHProNews’ L. A. “Tony” Kovach, MHI has yet to routinely engage the media when poor terminology, or misrepresented facts occur. There is no excuse for them to ignore this basic duty for a post-production association. 

So any time MHI, a surrogate of theirs, or others attempt to minimize ongoing pro-industry growth efforts done by MHProNews, or MHLivingNews, aren’t they arguably consciously deciding to limit the industry’s growth?  Before jumping to a conclusion on that question, note what MHI president Richard “Dick” Jennison said.

 

 

MHI, Industry Leaders, and their Surrogates

It is undeniable that for years, MHI and their members deliberately engaged with MHProNews. That meant their was trust for the consistent accuracy of our reports.  There are words of praise from MHI leaders and others across the industry spectrum, as comments above and below reflect.

The same is true for No one has to ‘like’ every report, but there ought to be a basic understanding of the premise at MHProNews, which is to educate and promote a better understanding of the industry.  If the problems are external, we spotlight them.  But when they are internal, there is a need to spotlight those too. Without calling out questionable behavior when it occurs, where is the motivation of a disengaged or poor actor to stop it?

the It should be noted that we’ve engaged for years with both national associations, Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), and MHI.  But MHI, over a year before we did a significant fact check on them, stopped providing their news. Why?

The point, beyond the facts being laid out, is that MHI must look in their own mirror, instead of pointing fingers behind the scenes.

 

ManufacturedHomeVideoMontageMHProfessionalsMainNewsMakersLATonyKovach-comVideos

 

What changed at MHI?

In a phrase, they made a decision some years ago to replace our reports with their own.

That decision was made while MHProNews were still MHI members.  Independent companies at MHI take note, because ours is not the only operation where MHI attempted to tip the scales against a dues paying member.

Note too that the MHI decision was made while MHLivingNews and MHProNews alike were actively supporting some of their lobbying efforts, like the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.  That’s indisputable.  The report below is one of several examples on MHLivingNews, far more are found on MHProNews.

Renters’ Nation: The Dark Side of Dodd-Frank and Its Impact on Affordable Housing

While you or we can call the examples in this report allegations, don’t years of published stories and produced videos prove the points?

 

Street Cred

Not only did MHProNews pioneer “The Daily Business News,” but it is still the only such resource of its kind in MHVille.

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While it is true that anyone can post anything on a blog or on social media, it’s different writing a few words vs. researching and crafting several news reports every business day, and then doing cogent related analysis.

The consistent reliability of our reports are what makes us number one in all manufactured housing industry trade publishing. We provide facts and analysis that has “street cred,” per our readers.

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The proof we are still the runaway #1 is dramatically demonstrated in the photo, below. Notice that rack after rack had free magazines that were unclaimed.  First that happened at Louisville, so the provider bought those nice racks and placed them in several key places in Tunica.  The result in both cases was the same.  Very few were picked up, as the photos reflect.

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There’s a difference between being a mouthpiece for MHI or others that carry paid ads by MHI or prominent companies, vs. doing real reports and analysis.

That difference is “Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use” vs. reading MHI talking points.

Never forget that reports by MHI have been documented at times to be spin. Some have been half truths, or distortions of reality. They’re arguably “Weaponized,” posturing a position, usually to make themselves look better than their actual performance merits.

One need only look at the latest shipment report – or see the chart above – to realize just how ineffective MHI’s advocacy and promotion are.

Keep in mind, they say they’re the post-production ‘umbrella‘ group representing “all segments of the factory-built housing.”   

If so, why isn’t MHI defending the industry against the daily onslaught of problematic news?

Is that why they duck questions now, which previously as recently as about a year ago they were still responding to our inquiries.

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This graphic was created over 6 months ago, but the principle remains the same. To their credit, they’ve done better in their recent letter to HUD, but it still lacked critical information, see the Masthead, linked here.

There has been only one report MHProNews has done which turned out different than what our source(s) said. That one was the announced plot discussed by MHAction to protest at last year’s MHI’s annual meeting. But what happened instead is that MHAction protested at a Frank Rolfe event. Apparently, once the element of surprise was lost, they changed their plan.  There was also a hurricane that struck, which may have disrupted the plans of the disruptive MHAction activists.

Frank Rolfe, MHU/RV Horizons Protest by MHAction; Nathan Smith/SSK/MHI Flashbacks?

MHI should send a thank you note to us for that report. Frank Rolfe and his associates should know that the Daily Business News had no similar warning or tip prior to his meeting.

Summing Up

The bottom line is that mainstream media must be engaged.  Engaged industry trade media is part of the solution, but can’t do it alone.  The same holds true for problems within the industry.

Weeds don’t uproot themselves. A cancer that’s not addressed spreads. Those analogies are reminders that to fix the challenge of problematic reports, be they inside or outside of the industry, takes time, talent, and treasure.

But the payoff could be enormous.  The reverse is true too.  Failure to address these issues means they can be expected to continue.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

Related Reports:

Clayton Homes, Manufactured Housing Industry News, Reality Check

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SoheylaKovachManufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

“Ready Player One” Movie – Unsubtle Slam on Manufactured Housing?

March 30th, 2018 Comments off

ReadyPlayerOneMovieUnsubtleSlamOnManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The “Trailer Park Boys,” on Netflix and the movie. 8 Mile,” movie with Eminem. Some zoning board, near you…

 

Day by day, for whatever reason, numbers of entertainers, officials and in media find an excuse to spotlight mobile or manufactured homes, and routinely do so in a negative light.

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So, the new Steven Spielberg movie, “Ready Player One” – which uses steel framed multi-story older manufactured homes as a backdrop to their dark future – is sad, but given the trends – should be no surprise.

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From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse.” says the official YouTube page.

But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger,” adds the movie’s promotional trailer’s commentary page.

 

What’s the Answer?

In a phrase, positive engagement.

Routine education and an ADL/NAACP type of response is needed to counter this,” says publisher and consultant L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

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Last year at the Deadwood 5 state event, Kovach told attendees that manufactured housing should position itself in part as a new civil rights movement.  “Bashing so-called ‘trailer trash,’ and the owners of ‘mobile homes,’ and manufactured homes businesses are among the last acceptable prejudices,” says Tony.  “Why?”

It’s on the minds of home owners, as articles like the one linked below demonstrate.

“Home Sweet Home” – Assistant Mayor Wants to End Housing Choice Stigma

Replace manufactured homes – the T-word with the N-word – and such mockery would never be acceptable, says Kovach.

It’s what Marty Lavin has said is “the industry’s other image campaign.”

Or what Frank Rolfe lamented a year ago was the industry’s Arlington, VA based association’s failure to engage the media, and demand such bigoted slander be changed.

It’s a post-production issue, and the industry has to realize that this is serious.  A reverse look at MHI’s own claims reflects just how little acceptance there is for manufactured housing today,” says Kovach. “If indeed millions of people have visited their social media, and have read their articles, why are so few new manufactured homes being sold?”

It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, the movie has on the industry and public perceptions, he mused. If it doesn’t have a harmful impact, it may only be because there is so much negative news about “mobile homes” and manufactured homes already.

But this is an opportunity in disguise, he says, for those willing to stand up in their local market and debunk the myths, as tests in various markets have successfully demonstrated.

Manufactured Housing’s Professional Crucifixion

On Good Friday, the reflection linked above is just one possible way to consider this phenomenon.  As a disclosure, this writer has not seen the well-hyped movie, and doesn’t plan to buy a ticket.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.) 

Related:

Intelligence Report – MHI Producer Spotlights “the Plan” for MHCs, Community REITs

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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.