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Public Official, ABC News, Manufactured Home Community Owner Clash Over Resident Concerns

November 23rd, 2018 Comments off
PublicOfficialABCNewsManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerClashoverResidentConcenrsDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

Composite image from still of the video, posted further below.

If there is one thing that almost everyone likes, it’s good press.  The reverse of that reality is that public officials, mainstream media, and professionals dread media scrutiny that reveals unjust behavior.

 

Against that backdrop is the following mainstream news story out of Columbus, GA. It focused on a manufactured home community threatened with closure by a local official.  The uproar is over reported concerns about water, sanitation, and health issues.

This Daily Business News on MHProNews report and analysis will proceed as follows.

  • What the local ABC affiliate reported.
  • That ABC outlet’s video, with running must-read commentary that clarifies issues in an objective fashion, critiquing media, the local official named, and the claims about the community.
  • Third-party manufactured home industry insight.
  • BBB snapshot of the community.
  • The rapid and professional response by the property owner, which stands in stark contrast to some of the claims being made.
  • Analysis and commentary, because this case could reverberate well beyond the incident being reviewed.

For owners and managers in manufactured housing, this should be informative reading and viewing for front-line personnel. Investors, owners, and upper management may also find keen insights in this scenario.  Finally, mainstream media as well as public officials can be guided by the facts, analysis, expert insights further below, takeaways, and lessons learned that follow.

 

What WTVM 9, ABC News Reported:

The text that follows immediately below are from WTVM 9, including typo and nomenclature errors found in the original report, and are provided under fair use, as the local ABC News affiliate published it on the date shown.

 

ColumbusGAFortBenningEstatesManufacturedHomeCommunityHeadlineWTVMABC9DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The video posted further below, with fact-checks, commentary, and analysis, accurately reflect all that WTVM 9, an ABC affiliate, reported. These are shown under fair use guidelines that apply to media and such commentary.  Their text is as they had it on today’s date, including typo and terminology errors found in the original.

John Hudgison, the director of Building Inspections and Code Enforcement for Columbus, says his team went to the area Nov. 15.

Residents were left a notice stating in part, to “make arrangements to vacate property in case the owner cannot repair existing conditions.”

Caleb Walsh, the owner of the site with with Parks Management, described the various issues in an emailed response, as just “minor” code enforcement problems to News Leader 9.

He says there is “no eminent shut-down” and the notice by the city is a “standard” notice to residents letting them know the owner’s responsibility to fix various issues.

Walsh writes, “as always, we will be solving all outstanding issues.” It’s something many living in the area say they don’t believe will be done.

“If this place close down, I don’t have anywhere to go. I was homeless when I got here. I don’t want to be homeless again,” says one renter.

Inspection and Code officials will be on site Monday Nov. 26 to review compliance measures.

Officials say they are preparing and expecting to officially condemn the area.

Residents are being directed to United Way and Housing Authorities for immediate living options.

 

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The terminology matters because
the terminology determines the
construction standards a home was
built to,” Steve Duke, LMHA.

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As our commentary in the video posted above reflects, the introduction to the report by the ABC affiliate was professional and accurate.

However, the report that followed that anchor’s introduction was a mixed bag that begs for clarifying details. It ought to address improper terminology, and other errors, and thus merits expert – corrective – insights.  When media staff are under-informed on an issue, they should follow the SPJ Code of Ethics, and get all the information needed to properly and accurately report.

 

RevDonaldTyeJr.ManufacturedHousingNotT-railerNotNword_001

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the wrong terminology impacts price and acceptance. But it also impacts people’s emotions, including those of home owners.  See the commentary by the poet who rejected the use of the t-word with regard to her home, by clicking the image above.

 

Others from GA in MHVille About This

An early contact with SECO today failed to get a reply prior to press-time, but a source with the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) promptly stated matter-of-factly that neither Caleb Walsh nor his “Park Management” firm are apparently members of their trade group.

The GMHA source did not weigh in on the specifics of this case, which are quite different than the tragic drama in Northern GA involving a SECO planning committee member, and others on the board of that media-and-legally vexed trade group.  Sources say those distinctive legal issues involving a SECO board member are still not resolved. See more on that unrelated SECO connected case – but equally instructive report – further below.

 

What the BBB Says About Ft Benning Estates

The local Better Business Bureau (BBB) provided the following snapshot, captured in the collage as shown.

 

BetterBusinessBureauFortBenningEstatesManufacturedHomeCommunityNotRVParkDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

 

As noted, Caleb Walsh of Park Management – which reportedly owns Fort Benning Estates – provided prompt replies to a series of questions and follow-ups from MHProNews.

 

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All images or commentary were selected and presented by MHProNews, not by any other third party.

 

Regarding the BBB, here’s what Walsh’s on-the-record reply said:

This was our response to the BBB over the complaint that gave the property a C rating. It was filed by one of my staff members named Alexis Murdock:

I filed as response to this complaint for Denna Brown.”

 

Denna Brown has been a resident in our Fort Benning Estates property since July of 2018. At the time she moved in we were holding a move-in special in which the $200 she paid moved her in and covered her first month (July 2018 Rent), and there would also be $200 off her first two months (August/September 2018 Rent), also part of the special.

This allowed the amount she was to pay for August and September to be at a discounted rate of just $220 for the first two months, and this also includes her water and trash for those months as well. As per her contract, starting 10/01/18 her rent would go up to the normal rate of $420 a month, including water and trash fees.

Mrs. Brown entered into a rent to own contract in which she agreed that unit repairs (if any) after the time she moved in would be HER responsibility. No changes have been made to her one and only contract and their have been no moves to any other units since the time she has been living in our property. We understood based off of some of the communications she was sending to managers onsite, and on social media that maybe she had not read through her contract or that there was some confusion on what she was to pay and why, so we made several attempts to call her, text her, email her, and even had onsite contacts knock on her door with no response. If we are unable to reach the tenant, regardless of unit repairs being her responsibility we cannot assist with answering her questions or see if the extent of repairs needed are something that we can assist with.

Our goal is to provide affordable housing to people in need at a low cost, and give them the opportunity to own their own home with no credit check required. This was the arrangement Mrs. Brown entered into by signing a Rent to Own contract. That does not mean we will not ensure each and every one of our tenants have proper working necessities to keep them safe and with proper essentials such as water, electricity, and working plumbing. However, we are unsure what unit conditions are an issue for this tenant as stated above, because we have not been able to reach her in any way.

To conclude, we are happy to assist further, keep her as a tenant in our property and ensure she is taken care of if she is willing to allow the contact needed to do this. We can be reached at 855-862-8837 or at admin@parksmgt.com. We take pride in ensuring that all of our tenants are taken care of in each of our properties and that we provide low income housing for those in need and will continue to do so.”

CalebWalshParkManagementFortBenningEstatesManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Several of the images that follow are from websites associated with Caleb Walsh and his affiliated firms. They are provided under fair use guidelines that apply to media, and are presented to round out the picture presented by local media in a more balanced and robust fashion.

 

WTVMABC9DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsColumbusGA-CBOJohnHodgison523

 

What Ft. Benning Estates’ owner Caleb Walsh Said About City Claims, Local Media Reporting

What follows are Walsh’s emailed reply, with typos and terminology errors below found in the original message.

Fort Benning Estates is a 140 unit community located on the south side of Columbus Ga that I have been pouring big capital into renovations and repair of the units and the utility infrastructure. I purchased the property in a distressed condition and am turning around the property like I have with countless other mobile home parks around the nation.

Over the past year as I had plumbing experts and engineers come in and replace and repair the utility infrastructure, it was brought to my attention that the water pressure was unlike anything they had ever seen reaching 120 PSI and higher caused by unregulated pump variation from the city water supply.

With utility bills reaching almost $130,000 for the year I contacted Columbus Water Works about the pressure and my findings. To my surprise they had no interest in a mutual fix or further investigation of the problem but instead wanted to continue being paid the massive amounts for water utility cost.

I brought in my legal team to get an injunction to halt everything until we could solve the physical infrastructure issues and it was discovered that the only judge who could hear the case had a relative who sat on the board of Columbus Water Works. The judge later recused himself when this was brought to light from my attorney and we have been able to keep the water on as we further investigated to fix the issue. Unfortunately the city is now attempting to close down the property through miscellaneous code enforcement issues because our experts made them look bad and brought to light their negligence with the water pressure and the city owned water company.

I have teams on the ground as we speak ensuring top level compliance with code, and I also have legal teams standing by if the city should attempt anything Monday. Thankfully in my decade of experience and my 2000 unit multi state portfolio this isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with a city who had a bias against affordable housing. The city of Columbus would rather put 100 families on the street than put money into fixing their faulty infrastructure. If if comes to that I will go to the mat with the city because in America everyone deserves a place to live!

 

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Disclosure. MHProNews pulled the various visual items together independent of all those involved in this report. All of the commentary and analysis are by MHProNews.

 

Fort Benning’s Facebook Page, and More Insights 

The screen capture above reflects a photo array from Facebook that suggests that John Hudgison, the director of Building Inspections and Code Enforcement for Columbus, GA, at best exaggerated his claimed concerns. The unit shown in the photos above don’t appear to be “unfit for human occupancy,” which Hudgison‘s memo, shown further above, alleged is the case for the entire community.

The once homeless man interviewed in the video above is worried about what he would do, if he losses this home at Ft. Benning Estates.

As MHProNews has learned from other incidents in various parts of the U.S., there is often an unstated prejudice against manufactured homes, which can include manufactured home communities.  In other cases, there are hidden agendas, such as a publicly unstated desire to see a property closed for redevelopment. That later point is a nagging problem that manufactured home community owners from various states have told MHProNews they have personally encountered.

 

2018-11-23_1405PMMarketManagementCalebWalshManufacturedHomeProNews

 

While the industry’s self-proclaimed post-production national trade association – the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) –  acknowledges such realites, they in fact purportedly do ‘fig leaf’ posturing – or nothing at all – in the majority of cases that MHProNews has spot checked for the past 2 years.

Frustration with MHI has resulted in the birth of a new post-production national MH community association.  Failure to successfully address the image issue, or regulatory problems, has caused others to initiate their own efforts, see the related reports, linked here and further below.

MHProNews will reach out to the local official involved in this matter, advising him of the trends and concerns raised in his case and others seemingly like it in other jurisdictions.  Those have at times ended up with legal actions taken against a given municipality, for steps that on the surface appear similar to what Columbus has threatened in this case. ICYMI, or need a refresher, see one such report, linked below. Another report – at this link – spotlights another case, with more examples crossed-linked.

 

Lawsuit Filed Against City to Defend Manufactured Home Owners Rights, led by Equal Justice Non-Profit

 

This pro-industry and pro-consumer trade publication will also ask local media to instruct their reporters to learn and use proper terminology in their reporting about manufactured homes and communities, in order to avoid the appearance of prejudicial, biased, or merely underinformed, and/or ignorant reporting.

 

ManufacturedHomeIndustry#1HeadlineNewsMHProNews

To see a sample of our emailed news update, click here. To sign up for the factory-built home industry’s #1 headline news, click here or the graphic above.

 

Takeaways from Columbus?

When a community operator acquires or takes over the management of a previously neglected property, it takes time, professional effort, and money to bring it up to standards.  In this case at Fort Benning Estates, that is apparently being accomplished via free enterprise, through private investment dollars — presumably without local, state, or federal funds.

Walsh has the opportunity for his deed to match his words, provided above.  If so, Walsh’s response for the allegations against Ft Benning Estates – if his promises prove accurate – will likely turn this incident into an overblown local bruhaha that could prove his operation to be someone worthy of applause, as opposed to being a business that is perhaps being unfairly targeted by a local official.

If public officials in Columbus, GA promptly and properly respond as did the city officials in Washington, IN, they may avoid an ACLU and other investigations of their case, which a prior MHProNews’ report sparked in that town’s troubling incident.  See that, linked below.

 

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

 

Lessons Learned? 

These are among the real-world examples of what steps are necessary the manufactured home industry-at-large must take to advance.  As MHProNews has said for years, what our industry needs in such cases are an ADL-style response.

Ideally, objective pro-industry, and pro-consumer trade media reports and analysis can work with all honorable, forward-looking professionals in a fashion that nationally spotlights overreach by public officials, and/or by mainstream media.  Industry professionals must also be held to account for any failures to properly follow just laws or sound business ethics.

Affordable housing is a critical need, as the once homeless man in the video above reminds us.  Manufactured homes can provide options that no other form of permeant housing can match, for quality, safety, and low-cost living.  That’s a reasonable takeaway from the National Association or Realtors (NAR) 2018 research about manufactured homes.

LowerMonthlyPercentCostManufacturedHomesConventinoalHouseRentalHousing2016narRealtorUDaiyBusinessNewsMHproNews

The bulk of Scholastica “Gay” Cororaton’s research for the National Association of Realtors (NAR) appears to be accurate, and is insightful for serious researchers.

That NAR research can be examined in a report found here, along with other insights that are linked further below the byline.

 

 

The quality of modern manufactured homes are also reflected in a prior HUD Office of Manufactured Housing Program (OMHP) administrator’s commentary, told to MHLivingNews, in their report in the video shown above.  These should be required viewing for media and all public officials who deal with manufactured homes.

 

 

Open-minded public officials, like the county official in the video above revealed, find that manufactured homes today are very different than the stigma, prejudice, and/or biased thinking reflects.

It is thus useful for all people of good will concerned about affordable housing to objectively reconsider manufactured homes in the light of facts. Too often, reports and public policy are based upon mere uninformed opinions, that rely upon outdated notions about some of the mobile homes built over 40 years ago, instead of the reality of today’s federally regulated manufactured homes.

It is also necessary for local officials to seek solutions to legitimate problems, but without doing so in a fashion that disrupts the lives of members of a community, such as the ABC affiliate’s video of Fort Benning Estates reflected.

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

You must meet people where they are. Terminology must be taught and caught. Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

 

While it is in another nearby state, the views of the affordable housing focus group below, reflects the unpaid views of those who’ve owned conventional housing prior to buying a manufactured home.  They are insightful to those with bias or a misunderstanding about modern manufactured homes.

 

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews will continue to monitor and report on this incident in Columbus, GA, as needed. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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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.

 

Related Reports:

Local Star Chambers Wage War on Affordable Housing

Anti-MH Bigotry, Prejudice, and Possibly Illegal Action on Display in Manufactured Housing’s Birthplace?

George Allen Blasts MHI, NCC Ignoring Own, Spencer Roane, SECO, COBA7, Tom Lackey Controversies

 

Manufactured Homes Could Help Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis, So, Why Aren’t More Manufactured Homes Being Sold?

Has the Manufactured Housing Institute Accused Former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith of Federal Law Violations?

Giving Thanks for Manufactured Housing Independents, Applauding “MHIdea!”

 

 

Factory Rep’s Tip–Manufactured Home Service & Satisfaction – ABC News, Clayton Controversy Follow-Up

October 12th, 2018 Comments off

 

FactoryRepsTipManufacturedHomeServiceSatisfactionABCNewsClaytonHomesControveryFollowUp

Let’s begin with an analogy. Toyota today issued a recall on 168,000 vehicles, said Newsday. Just a week ago, Consumer Reports said that Toyota has recalled over 900,000 vehicles for stall. Do manufactured home industry professionals think those numbers prevent people from buying a Toyota?  Is it unfair for media – or trade publishers – to cover that news? “Toyota sold around 10.4 million vehicles in the fiscal year that ended in March 2018,” said Statista. Corporate News said that “…nearly 2.5 million [Toyotas were sold] in the U.S…in 2016.”

 

Rephrased, Toyota sold more vehicles last year then the total number of pre-HUD Code mobile homes, and post-HUD Code manufactured homes currently exist in U.S.

There is a demonstrably different response to media reports about problems with conventional housing, or automobiles, then there are to negative news about manufactured homes. Why is that so?

That may not seem fair, but industry pros and investors need to grasp the reality and learn how to navigate and deal with it.

 

Clayton’s Service Woes Repeatedly in Mainstream News Stories

While Clayton is the subject at the heart of this service/customer satisfaction controversy, the Clayton Homes/ABC News story video is a lesson for the industry at large. That MHVille’s industry’s professionals and investors care about this story is proven by the tremendous interest, and considerable feedback.  ICYMI, or want a refresher and to see the video, see our Daily Business News on MHProNews report at the link below.

Clayton Homes Ripped by Customer Complaints Spotlighted on ABC News

 

The follow up report has also drawn comments and thousands of hits. ICYMI, or need a refresher, see those above and below.

 

Clayton Homes Consumer Complaints Saga Continues, Mold and More

 

Factory Rep’s Comments on Service Issues

ConfidentialNewsTipsOKTipsIreportMHNews@MHMSM-comGraphic

To report a news tip on any industry related topic, click the image above or email to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

With that backdrop, look at what a factory representative emailed as a news tip/comment to MHProNews.

He used just one of many cases to make his point.

Only one more day for the service tech, [and he] would have finished this customers home. Yet, the service tech, takes off to another job and the customer is left with unfinished work. Why? I don’t know,” said a HUD Code manufactured home builder’s representative, in a message for publication to the Daily Business News to MHProNews.

It is very costly to a mfg the more times they visit a home! Well, because no one returned to complete this customers home, they filed a complaint with the state…[edited out comments, that might reveal the source]…All because of, just one more day!! All mfg deal with this because they don’t have a good plan for servicing the product they build!!! Customer satisfaction should be #1, to get customer referrals!! Enough said!!

Powerful thoughts. He’s not the only one who has said similarly.

 

Other Industry Reactions About Clayton, etc.

MHProNews has heard from communities and retailers who have dropped Clayton, over service and quality issues. There are also those who have said that they want to drop Clayton product.

By contrast, there was a Clayton cheerleader from the community sector that publicly defended Clayton, see the report below.

 

LinkedIn, Manufactured Housing, and Manufactured Home Industry Professional Insights

 

So, the reactions have been across the board. That’s reflected in this and prior reports. Clayton was contacted for comments.  They opted not to respond, after numerous outreaches at the retail, factory and home office levels.  Rephrased, this thread of reports about Clayton and service has been balanced.

 

NOTICE & Reminder

Manufactured home corporate readers who want to comment and/or provide a news tip, off the record, are reminded to do so from an email address that is NOT a company email. For more details, see the below.

 

Reminder to Clayton Homes. Cavco Industries, and Skyline Champion Employees

 

Why This Matters to MHVille Pros?

Stating the obvious, millions of people want the truth.  Sane people, savvy professionals, investors, and owners want facts, not fiction or mere feel-good. Facts are actionable. By contrast, mere feelings or emotion can lead people astray.

As we approach the end of our 9th year, with the date of our launch on Oct. 15, 2009 MHProNews is having a record month with readers.  In spite of everything that opponents of this trade media have thrown our way over the past 36 months (+/-), we have more readers than ever before.

What the Toyota story and statistics at the top reminds thinkers and doers in MHVille is the following.

AutoDeathsVsTornadoDeathsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

NationalWeatherService2017ManufacturedHomeMobileHomeTornadoFatalitiesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

One of the most over-hyped stories by MSM is the topic of tornado deaths. As sad as each one may be, it pales in comparison to deaths in auto-accidents.

Our manufactured home and factory-built housing industry – right, wrong, or meh – demonstrably aren’t treated the same by:

  • public officials,
  • the mainstream media, and
  • the public at large as are other industries.
  • But why?
ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformJOINMHARRbani-200x200

Click here or on the graphic above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.

Part of the reason is arguably failures on the post-production side of the industry. By way of comparison, in years gone by, there were plenty of automotive industry executives who feared promoting automotive safety.  It was controversial to show videos of automotive crash tests.  But in hindsight, by doing that, car-truck-SUV makers took some of the public sting out of the tens of thousands of deaths that occur every year in auto accidents.

Manufactured housing doesn’t have to be perfect to be of tremendous value.  As our publisher has said for years, a possible choice only need be better in one or more ways than other options for it to be selected by buyers.

The Clayton service errors stories have multiple possible lessons learned. The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) certainly isn’t defending non-member Clayton Homes. But MHARR routinely says that the industry’s overall quality is the best ever.  The relatively low numbers of service complaints for the industry reflects the wisdom and reality of MHARR’s points.  Reports from state dispute resolution reports go to states, and flow into HUD too.  There are just very few of them.

One of several takeaways here is that manufactured housing in general tends to suffer from things that Clayton does or fails to do. That’s not a mere opinion by a writer, it is the feedback from others in MHVille. That’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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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.

Related Reports:

NBC Video – Federal Authorities Investigating Clayton Homes, Maxine Waters Denounces Lending “Discrimination” Against Minorities

LinkedIn, Manufactured Housing, and Manufactured Home Industry Professional Insights

October 8th, 2018 Comments off

 

LinkedInLogoManufacturedHousingManufacturedHomeprofessionalsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsLogo

 

LinkedIn is a useful tool in several respects, one which thousands of manufactured home industry professionals enjoy.

 

While Facebook certainly has more MH professional users, LinkedIn provides a different look, feel, features, and experience.

Social media in many respects is ‘public,’ so on publicly posted messages, there is no expectation of privacy.  But so as not to discourage industry comments in social media, this Daily Business News on MHProNews item will not spotlight specific names in this post.

On a recent post by MHProNews on LinkedIn, a self-described Clayton Homes devote protested our coverage of a specific article that featured a mainstream media report by an ABC News affiliate.

That’s fine, it is her right, and our publisher thanked her for her comments. In fact, it sparked a useful discussion, worth reading. Let’s begin with the back ground.

ABC video reflected significant service problems on a manufactured home sold by one of their TRU producers.  As our publisher – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach – explained to that pro-Clayton industry professional on LinkedIn, this trade publication has for years done fact-checks, analysis and commentary on mainstream media reports about other companies in manufactured housing.  Perhaps she didn’t carefully read that article or view that video, because the video was used in part to turn lemons into lemonade.

Clayton is therefore no exception to our coverage of problems attributed to an industry company that has drawn mainstream media attention, and/or our analysis of such coverage and news.  As the largest producer and retailing company in our industry, Clayton no doubt gets more such coverage, but that is true in mainstream media too.

 

How Hot Is That Clayton Homes Story?

That story about Clayton’s service complaints is far and away the most popular read on MHProNews at this moment in October.  To understand the following data, as we’ve explained previously, MHProNews has numerous URLs and several C-panels.  Each of those has their own unique statistics and traffic. So, when we reveal ‘back end’ data, this is from only one c-panel, not all of them.  Rephrased, what follows is a fraction of the traffic, not all MHProNews traffic.

Per Webalizer – a third-party analytics provider – here is the data from one C-panel for our trade media site, as of Generated 08-Oct-2018 07:02 CDT.  The first number reflects the rank on that article on our website, the second the hits on that article, and the third rectangular box is the URL.

2 15523 http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/clayton-homes-ripped-by-customer-complaints-spotlighted-on-abc-news/

Clayton Homes Ripped by Customer Complaints Spotlighted on ABC News

Comparisons help someone get a better sense of that traffic. To give you a sense of just how hot that is, another Clayton article from September – for the entire month, not just 7.3 days, produced the following hit count. Again, the first is rank on our website from that URL at that time, the second is hits, the third is the URL.

13 10015 http://www.MHProNews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/toxic-trailers-clayton-homes-warren-buffett-kevin-clayton-clintons-expose-videos/

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

MHInsiderManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsNote that either of those data-points arguably reflects more readers than any other trade publication in manufactured housing today. MHProNews gets more readers in a day, than other MH trade publishers in our industry might garner in an entire month for all of their content.  The photo of MH Insider that is shown is just one way of reflecting that reality.

 

Take Aways?

First, while there are routinely occasions when:

  • via social media, or in
  • calls and messages to MHProNews
  • gets feedback for, against or in between on a particular article.
  • There is often significant interest in articles on Clayton, 21st, Vanderbilt, their leaders and Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett.

 

Second, articles that fact-check the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) also get thousands of hits, as do a number of others every month. Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) reports gets thousands of hits, and the MHARR News module often gets 5 figures of hits.  MHI stopped providing articles directly to MHProNews some years ago (note: they did to the Journal as well, prior to their ceasing publication), but others often provide them, for the purposes of fact-checks.

One obvious takeaway is that thousands of industry professionals want to have information other than what is sanitized or weaponized by MHI, Clayton, 21st and their purportedly ‘bought and paid for’ trade media allies.

As MHProNews – which has long been the number #1 trade media in manufactured housing – is often the only source for such reports, analysis and fact-checks, it is no surprise that ‘inquiring minds want to know.’  Others print items of interest, but debatably the reason that we dominate is because we cover topics and issues that others can’t, don’t or won’t.

As a result, MHProNews traffic has more than doubled since November of 2017, both in visits daily and in page views, as the Webalizer screen capture below reflects.  Again, this is one of numerous URLs – only one C-panel of statistics, a fraction of total MHProNews traffic, not all traffic.

2018-10-08_1115WebalizerDataDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

People want a full range of news, not just MHI hand-picked news. One reason why MHARR and MHProNews are so popular, is precisely because information that readers won’t get from MHI, are found here. On federal regulatory issues, the MHARR website covers insights in a very different way – fact and evidence based – than what MHI presents on a similar topic.

Why Does It Matter?

That community professional’s LinkedIn comments were largely polite, and ostensibly at her own initiative. When Tony asked her after the industry was broken off after the post linked below with Clayton, 21st et al, or would it be better off if those giants were broken up under anti-trust laws

The industry gets MHI and their ‘big boy’ backers news shoved down their throats from several third parties, and/or directly. MHI provides no diversity of opinion. When we provide MHI, Clayton or others a chance to respond, their responses are routinely off the record, not on, if they come at all.

Clayton Homes Consumer Complaints Saga Continues, Mold and More

Off-the-record replies from Clayton Homes team members on this ABC news controversy are found at the link above.  Keep in mind, that in the regrettably smaller world of manufactured housing, negative news that hits them, often unjustly spills over to others in the industry.

It arguably matters to the bottom line of independents and others, even if you don’t carry Clayton product.  Hopefully, by spotlighting them, they’ll not only address this consumer’s concerns, but others before they hit the mainstream media to further impair the industry’s public image.

Note that MHProNews has also raised the issue that conventional housing can have similar problems on homes that are often many times the cost of a manufactured home.  See the related reports, linked further below.

We’ll close this by noting that industry professionals feedback is encouraged, as are topic suggestions and news tips.  Several stories that we do are published because of tips from readers. “We Provide, You Decide.”  © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

 

Exposé! Heartbroken Conventional Housing Buyers? Dare to Compare Site Built with Modern Manufactured Homes

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

Warren Buffett Would be Okay With Clayton Homes Losing Money, Says Kevin Clayton – But Why?

Clayton Homes Ripped by Customer Complaints Spotlighted on ABC News

October 2nd, 2018 Comments off

 

ClaytonHomesRippedByABCNews2BatonRougeWZBRZDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

As we sit here, somebody is doing something wrong at Berkshire.”

– Warren Buffett, per Quartz.

 

I’m tired of dealing with it,” said Cody Navarre to ABC news affiliate WBRZ2 in Baton Rouge, LA.

The cabinets are falling apart, the vinyl’s coming off of them,” Navarre said. “Nails and stuff under the carpet, the front door needs to be changed, our tub needs to be fixed.”

The list goes on from there,” said News 2’s Brittany Weiss.

The retailer said that he’s addressed the issue about the home he purchased new from a Clayton Homes owned manufactured housing builder, River Birch Homes several times. Navarre said that the retailer has been out to see the issues several times.

When 2 On Your Side called the factory with Navarre’s concern, the reporter said she was hung up on.

 

The Democracy Now, and Seattle Times Effect for Manufactured Housing?

A problem for industry giant Clayton is regrettably one that often spills over for the rest of manufactured housing.

Clayton’s:

  • – FEMA MHUs sparked class action suits, post-Hurricane Katrina,
  • – Democracy Now’s tough report on Clayton, following the Haitian earthquake crisis,

“Toxic Trailers” – Clayton Homes, Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clintons – Exposé Videos

  • – or the Seattle Times/BuzzFeed and other reports in 2015 and since,

Seattle Times -Federal Investigations-Berkshire Hathaway’s Clayton Homes, GuruFocus Spotlights Buffett’s Clayton’s “Unethical,” Monopolistic Moat

have all been part of the ongoing black eye, that caused industry professionals to email this news tip to MHProNews for coverage.

2018-10-02_1519ClaytonHomesLogoManufacturedHousingDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

The video shown will be posted in the near future on MHLivingNews as a reminder to consumers as well as professionals that service should be prompt and correct.

We keep going through the same process,” said Navarre. “We’re going to send a crew out there, we’re going to send a crew out there. They send them out here, nothing gets done.”

One happy customer is said to tell 3 people.  One unhappy customer is said to tell 100 people. But when unhappy customers get in the newspaper, or on TV news, the bad news is measured in the thousands.

MHProNews notes that MHLivingNews will strive to turn lemons into lemonade by pointing out the dispute resolution program, which site builders don’t have, but manufactured home buyers do.  But that tip won’t mitigate for some the impression left by such a report.

There are ways that retailers, communities, developers, installers, and producers who strive to get and keep customers happy can work to turn lemons into lemonade too. But isn’t this the latest example of a reason why manufactured homes are kept at such historically low levels?  Sad, and arguably utterly avoidable. “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)

NOTICE: You can join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here.

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Related Reports:

Manufactured Homes Could Help Solve the Affordable Housing Crisis, So, Why Aren’t More Manufactured Homes Being Sold?

Rumble over Anti-MH Law-State Association, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Clayton Homes, and MHARR

 

Smoking Gun 3 – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp Tim Williams – Manufactured Home Lending, Sales Grab?

Has the Manufactured Housing Institute Accused Former MHI Chairman Nathan Smith of Federal Law Violations?

Investors, Heartbroken Home Owners, Site Building Giant DR Horton, and Manufactured Housing

July 12th, 2018 Comments off
DRHortonHomesAmerciasBuilderLogoPhotoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Photo of a D.R. Horton Home model in MD. 

Investors: D.R. Horton, Inc., America’s Builder, has been the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States for thirteen consecutive years,” says the publicly-traded company’s website.

 

Their website provided the following data, linked here.  The screen capture below is just part of that fact sheet.

DRHortonFactSheetPostedManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHpronews

Click here or the image above to download the full size fact sheet.

 

Horton sells more than half the total number of housing units annually sold by the entire manufactured housing industry, and obviously at a far higher average price-point.

A report in Oct 2017, said their sales total in 2016 was $12.3 billion in revenues.

That’s more than double the retail sales total for all of the HUD Code manufactured homes sold in 2017 by the manufactured housing (MH) industry. The latest MH data can be reviewed later, at the link below.

Manufactured Home Shipments, State by State Breakdown, May 2018 Official HUD Data

Why does any of this matter to MHVille?

Fair question, let’s look.

 

The Site Built Housing Industry Reality Check  #1

ABC News did the following exposé of the host of problems found in the conventional housing industry.

This isn’t new, there are numerous other similar reports.  Check out this short one by a local news report.

 

These are similar to the kinds of problems that caused the old pre-HUD Code mobile home industry’s leaders to turn to the federal government and ask for federal standards.  Problematic pre-HUD Code mobile home builders in the early 1970s caused the builders of better homes NOT to want to be branded by those with a poor image.

The ‘quality crisis’ of the late 1960s and early 1970s led to exposés by CBS’ 60 Minutes and others.  That threatened the credibility of the then-booming mobile home business.  Are site builders heading toward a similar crisis? And will manufactured home producers, marketers and sellers be able to tap into those concerns?

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

D.R. Horton is far from alone in facing such concerns among conventional, on-site builders.  There have been numerous websites over the years – example, http://www.kbhomesleak.com/kb-home-sucks-1-gone/ – that spotlight these kinds of problems with other stick builders.

The point here isn’t to trash D. R. Horton, nor any other, conventional housing builders.

Rather, it is to make a few points similar to what the National Association of Home Builder (NAHB) official interviewed in the ABC News video above made.

Namely, that housing isn’t perfect.

No product is, and that includes manufactured homes.

So why is it that conventional housing is roaring, and manufactured home shipments are snoring?

ConstructionofModestsizedHomesRemainsLimitedHarvardJCHS2018ManufacturedModularHousingDailyBuisnessNewsMHPronEws

The only JCHS graphic that specifically mentions manufactured housing. To see our exclusive review of the Harvard’s “State of the Nation’s Housing in 2018, click here or the graphic above. 

Part of the beauty of manufactured homes is that there are third-party inspections. Those avoid many of the kinds of problems being identified by site builders, noted in the videos above.

HUD Code manufactured housing consumers can take comfort in that inspection process. Furthermore, the dispute resolution process that is part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA) gives consumers a level of confidence that is frankly not found in the conventional housing world.  The MHIA of 2000 is found in the article linked below, along with other information that can be read later for greater depth of understanding on a related topic.

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

Unlike many conventional builders, manufactured home producers are all third-party inspected. And the review process – per HUD data reveals – so few consumer complaints that it should make all manufactured home sellers proud.

The article from MHLivingNews last year spotlighted the relatively few numbers of dispute resolution complaints on HUD Code homes.

Federal Data Spotlights Manufactured Home Industry Quality, Regulatory Questions

There are so many ways to make the points to consumers that today’s manufactured homes are a good investment.

It should be noted that Horton Homes, a manufactured housing company that was based in Georgia, was not connected with D.R. Horton.

Per References for Businesses, “…the publicly-owned D. R. Horton construction firm, based in Dallas, Texas, is an entirely different company…Horton [Homes] had played a part in improving the industry’s prestige, however. For years, jokes had persisted about manufactured housing–or rather trailers, sometimes nicknamed “tornado bait.” The homes had been considered to be shoddy, unattractive, substandard, and (in the case of a tornado or even of high winds) unsafe. Starting in the 1970s, however, that began to change. In June 1976, the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) set new safety standards for mobile home construction. In the wake of hurricanes Hugo (1989) and Andrew (1992), HUD increased its requirements, declaring that manufactured homes should be able to withstand winds of 110 m.p.h. Horton [Industries] decided that his own product should meet even higher standards, and in 1997 the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that some Horton Homes could sustain winds of 135 m.p.h.”

 

As an interesting side-note, Texas-based Legacy Housing, Inc. states that it purchased Horton Industries manufactured housing production facilities in Eatonton, GA in a January 2016 statement.

 

The Stick-Builder Horton Website Says the Following

About D.R. Horton, Inc.

D.R. Horton, Inc., America’s Builder, has been the largest homebuilder by volume in the United States for sixteen consecutive years. Founded in 1978 in Fort Worth, Texas, D.R. Horton has operations in 79 markets in 26 states across the United States and closed 48,731 homes in the twelve-month period ended March 31, 2018. The Company is engaged in the construction and sale of high-quality homes through its diverse brand portfolio that includes D.R. Horton, Emerald Homes, Express Homes and Freedom Homes ranging from $100,000 to over $1,000,000. D.R. Horton also provides mortgage financing and title services for homebuyers through its mortgage and title subsidiaries.”

 

The D. R. Horton Takeaways for Manufactured Housing?

There are numerous top-line takeaways for manufactured housing in the D. R. Horton story. The Daily Business News on MHProNews will point to only one this morning.  It’s this.  There is a need for all true leaders in the manufactured home industry to stand up and fight for the reputation of their industry.

D. R. Horton proves you can have significant issues, and still be wildly more successful than those in our industry are today. D. R. Horton’s quality concerns arguably dwarf those of manufactured housing. D.R. Horton aggressively markets their product.

If that is obviously so, then how is it that on something as apparently simple as the use of proper terminology about manufactured homes, the MH Industry can’t get the media to get that right?  How can it be that 42 years after the first HUD Code homes were built, that the industry’s big corporate leaders can’t get many in the media to use the correct nomenclature?

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

See the related story, linked above.  The public focused story on D.R. Horton, is linked below.

Exposé! Heartbroken Conventional Housing Buyers? Dare to Compare Site Built with Modern Manufactured Homes

That’s this morning’s look at “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing.” © “We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“Why Advocates Need to Rethink Manufactured Home Quality,” Harvard, GSE, Genz, “High Satisfaction”

 

“Take the MH Advantage Challenge – Can You Tell the Difference?” Fisk of Sarah Edelman, Director of Duty to Serve, Single-Family Mortgage Business for Fannie Mae

 

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U.S. Existing Homes Sales Reach Highest Level in Nine Years

December 23rd, 2016 Comments off
USExistingHomesSalesReachHighestLevelinNineYearscreditHousely-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Housely.

Data from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that Americans bought homes in November at the fastest pace in nearly a decade.

Sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 million housing units.

That was up from a downwardly revised 5.57 million in October and the highest since sales hit a 5.79 million pace in February 2007. Sales were up 15 percent from a year earlier.

While the news was good, potential challenges loom.

A deepening shortage of houses, higher prices and rising mortgage rates could present problems for the conventional housing market in the next year.

We have a housing shortage,” said Lawrence Yun, the chief economist for NAR. “We are not building enough housing.

USExistingHomesSalesReachHighestLevelinNineYearscreditTheBusinessJournals-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Lawrence Yun. Credit: The Business Journals.

As the Daily Business News previously reported, 76 percent of builders indicated availability of labor and cost as their major problems.

While home sales rose 8 percent in the Northeast and 1.4 percent in the South, sales were down in the West and Midwest.

Less than 1.9 million homes were on the market, down 9 percent from a year earlier. The tighter supply of homes pushed the median price up to $234,000, an increase of almost 7 percent from a year ago.

With the increase in sales activity, the rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed rate mortgage last week rose to a 52-week high of 4.16 percent.

According to ABC News, U.S. interest rates have been climbing since the November 8th election of Donald Trump, and investors have bid rates higher because they expect Trump’s program of tax cuts and higher spending on defense and infrastructure will boost economic growth and inflation.

The NAR is predicting that the combination of higher rates and declining affordability of conventional housing in many parts of the country likely will lead to only a small gain in sales of existing homes next year — an estimated 2 percent increase to about 5.52 million.

Conventional Housing Challenges = Manufactured Home Opportunities?

ExistingHomeSalesNewNAHBSaldes-ManufacturedHomeSales-statistics2016-SlideFromJune7TuesdaysWithTonyPowerPoint-MHProNews-com-768x574-575x430

Even figuring in the cost of land, manufactured homes are clearly a bargain, yet equal only some 1% of the total housing market. Graphic credit: MHProNews.

While manufactured home sales are about 1 percent of the total of all U.S. housing sales (new, existing, manufactured, etc.), they represent one of the most effective ways to deliver a quality, affordable solution in a difficult housing market.

Some prospective buyers are going to be straining to get to an affordable monthly payment with mortgage rates higher and may take a harder line on prices (or settle for less home) to make the numbers work,” said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont Securities.

Therein lies the opportunity for manufactured housing, so long as challenges such as discriminatory zoning are dealt with.  See a related report, linked here.

DonaldTrumpBenCarsonOpenLetterMastheadBlogMHProNews-

For Masthead commentary on how HUD Secretary nominee, Dr. Ben Carson, could help ease the affordable housing and save taxpayer’s money by enforcing existing law, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.