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Ongoing MH Headwinds – Angry Manufactured Home Residents, Understanding the Manufactured Housing Industry Dilemma Through Their Eyes

June 12th, 2019 Comments off

 

HeadwindsAngryManufacturedHomeResidentsUnderstandingManufacturedHousingDilemmaThroughTheirEyesNYStateAssemblyGailTraversTrusteeAkronMobileHomeParkMHProNews

Still from NY State video, posted further below. The problem that Gail Travers describes exists in a number of states, as serious and objective observers know. The challenge, insights, analysis, and solutions follow.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson has been promoting manufactured homes as a sustainable private-sector element to the affordable housing crisis since early in his tenure at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

 

That acknowledged and saluted, as much as Secretary Carson has been striving to do, his factually grounded theme is largely drowned out by a variety of other voices.

 

Among them?  The angry resident who lives in a pre-HUD Code mobile home, or in a manufactured home built on or after the date that the HUD Code construction and safety standards went into effect on June 15, 1976.

Those angry residents often misuse terminology, much the same as other Americans or much of the mainstream media does.

 

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

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

 

With that backdrop, there is no denying that the problem that Gail Travers, a resident and ‘trustee’ in Akron, New York’s “Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association” exists in numerous U.S. markets.

As you read this letter below from Ms. Travers, imagine that you have been considering buying a manufactured home. How excited would you read her letter, would you still be ask excited about making that same decision?

The letter is presented neither to either endorse or debate her contention.  There is plenty of evidence for her claim. As our analysis which follows will reflect, our biggest point of departure with Ms. Travers and the thousands of others like her in numous states is the proposed solutions that many such voices advances in the face of the very real and painful challenges they share.

With that backdrop, here is her letter to the editor of the Buffalo News.

 

LetterMobileHomeResidentsNeedProtectionsFromPredatorsBuffaloNewsGayleTraversAkronNYManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

I read with interest the May 21 editorial: “NYC Rent Laws Unneeded Here.” New Yorkers throughout the state need safe, affordable housing, like elsewhere across the country.

The people of New York State fear monied investors are stealing our communities and future. We want our legislators to enact laws to protect the decent, affordable housing options that remain. And it is not just in cities.

Look at what is happening to mobile home parks – the largest segment of affordable housing in the country. Parks are being purchased by out of state investors with little interest in the area. Corporate investors like Sunrise Capital from Clearwater, Fla. (who bought Akron Mobile Home Park in Akron in late 2017) are snapping up parks, raising rents, and disrupting the well-being of life for the people who live there, most of them on fixed incomes. Now Sunrise has purchased another park in Lockport and is attempting to do the same as they have tried to do in Akron.

Mobile home owners who rent the land on which their homes sit need protections from these predators, as do apartment renters elsewhere.

This sentence from the editorial is interesting: “There are affordable housing options here, not on every block, but enough that most working people can find a place to live.” Shouldn’t ALL people have a place to live? We need safe, affordable housing free from exploitation. If our legislators are listening to their constituents, they will vote for protections.

Gail Travers, Trustee in Akron Mobile Home Park Tenants Association
Akron

End of Buffalo News letter to editor by Gail Travers.

 

Even a quick Google search reveals that Ms. Travers has been active in engaging the media and legislators. 

For example. You can see Travers’ testimony before the NY State Assembly hearing, starting about the 24:32 time mark, and ending about the 28:42 time mark.

 

 

It must be noted that other manufactured home community residents are also sharing similar stories in that same video, posted above. So for those who are not familiar with this issue, viewing more of this video is sobering. It paints the picture that her letter to the Buffalo News stated.

It may bear mention that Stacey White, noted on the NY State Assembly website as “a leader at MHAction,” also testified at this same session.  Certainly, some of the talking points that Ms. Travers used are like those raised by MHAction in their white paper, videos, talking points, etc.  The letter from the Democratic chair of the committee that held these hearings is linked here as a download.

 

Rent Control?

Rent control is one of the notions commonly floated as a ‘solution’ to such problems as Travers recounts.  But that has been passed in other jurisdictions, and it has routinely proven to not work as it was believed it might. Who said? Another resident activist in Delaware, that said as much, in a statement found in the report linked here.

Rent control, regardless of who promotes it, fails as badly as wage-price controls did when the late President Richard Nixon (GOP) promoted that ploy during his demonstration, and he watched that fail. The free market routinely works better than a command and control economy, so long as the free market isn’t badly distorted.  For those who doubt that, just look at communist-run China, were virtually empty, nearly new high-rise housing buildings stand.  Rent control, as several linked reports further below reveal, simply doesn’t work as its proponents claim.

Indeed, what is occurring is a distortion of the free market, that’s why this problem that Travers describes exists. The good news? Secretary Carson – should he opt to do so – holds in his hands the key that could unlock the solution to this vexing issue.

 

Corporations and Local Officials Distorting the Free Market, and What Secretary Carson Could Do

Secretary Carson is quite right when he repeated said in recent weeks that the heart of the problem for housing is found in increasing the supply of affordable homes. When more affordable housing options exist, then the increasing spike in prices will begin to abate.

Besides Secretary Carson, who else has said as much?  How about Lawrence Yun, Ph.D., Chief Economist for the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Writing in Forbes, Yun said the following.

 

LawrenceYunNARShort8.3MillionHousingUnitsRisingRentsHousingPricesCuredOnlyByMoreBuilding

Collage by MHProNews.

 

But he did more than just say that, per our sources, it was Dr. Yun who encouraged the study of manufactured housing by NAR’s Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE).

Cororaton made a similar claim to Secretary Carson’s claim of the ‘resilience’ of manufactured homes, as the quote/graphic below reflects.  It bears mention that her 2018 research cited our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and MHARR’s President and CEO, Mark Weiss, JD, in her first footnote on page 48.  See her insightful research, linked here.

 

CompareMobileHomeTrailersPastManufacturedHomesSaferMoreDurableQuoteScholasticaGayCororationPhotoSmallPercentageDamagedDuringHUrricanesMHProNews

 

The facts that Carson and Cororaton touted complement each other to a significant degree.

But that is not the message that the vast majority of Americans are getting about manufactured homes, because of the image-plagued ‘mobile home parks’ (SIC).  It is from such land-lease communities where millions of pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-HUD Code manufactured homes are found. 

It is from such land-lease communities where a significant number of ‘bad news’ stories originate.  Note the screen capture from Google news, below, that makes the point.

 

MobileHomesNewsGoogleSearchDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The bulk of these stories are from manufactured home land-lease communities, a.k.a. mobile home parks. Street retailers and HUD Code home producers, take note. This impacts you as much as it does community owners.

 

It is arguably from ‘black hat’ operations that Travers and others understandably complain about that are causing significant levels of the blowback that manufactured home (MH) living experiences.

On the one hand, we respect the right of Travers and others to organize and ‘fight back.’ But the reality is that some of what they do arguably undermines their own economic position.  More on that another time, because what the focus should be is how can the issues they raise best be addressed?

Let’s look.

 

Manufactured Housing – White Hats, Black Hats, Investing, Consumers, MH Independents

 

Manufactured Home Residents, MH Investor Reality Checks

If an investor came into a community like Akron, paid a lot to buy what is a commercial property, and then tried to aggressively hike site fees (lot rents), what options does someone like Travers have today?  In her area, and many others, the choices may be very limited.

But if ‘enhanced preemption’ were being aggressively promoted, and/or new communities were coming on-line, the dynamic would shift.

This is what is missing from Secretary Carson’s pro-manufactured home dialogue.  Our sources at HUD, the fact that HUD officials asked about this question declined comment, and the utter lack of any mention of the words “enhanced preemption” on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) website all suggest that the good doctor has been kept in the dark on this subject.

That begs the question, why?

That should also beg the question, why doesn’t the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) have that critically valuable phrase on their website? 

 

MHIlogoManufacturedHousingInstitutelogoEnhancedPreemptionNoResults2019-06-12_1203MHProNews

The fact that MHI keeps reportedly nudging Allen into distractions away from the central issues that are harming the industry is itself revealing. Listen to what pro-MHI voices like that say, but consider the opposite. It will often be closer to the truth. Note, Allen calling MHI a monopoly, and blaming MHI members for the problems caused by consolidation are below.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

Allen, in the quotes above, is de facto pointing to positions that MHARR correctly took, but that MHI took the wrong stance. The purported choice of Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, who is said to be communicating with Allen, of him as their surrogate is almost comical, because of Allen’s history of attacking the Arlington, VA based trade group. He’s not a credible surrogate.

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

You can’t make this stuff up. Allen blasted MHI, but was reportedly recruited by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison for being their surrogate and attack dog. But when his bark or ‘roar’ are examined, there is no bite behind it. Allen contradicted MHI’s new stances several times, publicly, and has never explained his flip flops. Per sources, he is rewarded for his attack dog role.

 

Or why doesn’t the MHInsider – who along with brown-noser George F. Allen – who purportedly routinely regurgitate whatever their overlords in Arlington, VA desire – lack the words on their ‘professional’ blog?

 

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

By contrast, facts, problem, and solution oriented Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform has numerous articles on the topic of Enhanced Preemption.

 

ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReformMHARREnhancedPreemptionDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Some pundits, such as blogger George F. (F?) Allen have attempted to mischaracterize the work of MHI and MHARR. MHI clearly says of themselves that they represent “all segments of factory built housing,” that means retail, communities, lenders, suppliers and the like, not just producers. By contrast, MHARR clearly says that their focus is on the interests of the producers of HUD Code manufactured homes. So while MHARR has an indirect interest in lending, communities, or retail, that is not their mission. That said, MHARR members and leaders have voted to support the establishment of new post-production groups that would faithfully represent the interests of retailers, communities, and other segments of the industry. Allen’s characterization is arguably false, erroneous, or deliberately misleading. What is sadder, perhaps, is that Allen and Spencer Roane claim to represent the interests of communities. If so, why don’t they loudly and proudly call out MHI and Omaha-Knoxville for the ways that they’ve harmed other communities, and independents at large? Why does Allen ignore his own role in the SECO dirty laundry?

 

So too here on MHProNews, or ManufacturedHomeLivingNews. See what the Google search done today reveals.

 

EnhancedPreemptionSearchManufacturedHousingMHProNewsNadaMHIbutMHARRhasit2019-06-12_1227

 

This goes back to the argument that the power players behind MHI are posturing efforts to promote manufactured housing, but do so tepidly. Even brown-noser Allen admitted in a recent post that MHI was essentially dragged into the Innovative Housing Summit (IHS). He downplayed the key role that companies played, and made it look like MHI rose to the occasion, as if to save the day. 

 

ManufacturedHousingInstituteInnovativeHousingSummit2019-06-12_1242DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

If so, why was there so little public media coverage of the event from a manufactured housing perspective?  That’s an acid test.  The rest is window dressing for those who will buy whatever the big boys sell.

 

 

Frank Rolfe…

What MHI member and controversial community investor Frank Rolfe referred to as customers being chained to a Waffle House is apt but ugly description of this current environment.

Investors and resident groups like MHAction, NMHOA, or others talk about that point, each from their own perspective.  They agree, for example, that few move homes, and that the cost of such a move of a mobile/manufactured home can be $5,000

 

But the solution is potentially simple. HUD could begin implementing the solution on short notice. It fits a theme that the Trump Administration has repeated many times.

Enforce the law” on “enhanced preemption.”

HUD has oddly used their power of enhanced preemption only rarely, but it has been used, as the screen capture of the top of letter to a local jurisdiction below reflects.

 

HUDLetterCityRichlandMSEmilyGoodeJenHallMMHAFederalPreemptionofManufacturedHomesFederalEnhancedPreemptionMHIA2000DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Letter from MHARR to HUD Secretary Ben Carson, with examples supporting Enhanced Preemption is linked here.

 

What is missing is making that kind of letter from HUD to local jurisdictions a routine.  HUD could rapidly start the fix of problems like those Travers raised, simply by enforcing enhanced preemption routinely.  Doing so would open up new options for current and potential manufactured home buyers.

That’s why MHARR has been promoting it for years, and it is the same reason that MHProNews and MHLivingNews has too.  As a disclaimer, note that our trade media support of enhanced preemption predates any ads from MHARR by several years.  In fact, while our firm was an MHI member, our management was mystified that MHI didn’t push it. So as years of articles reflect, our editorial position has been consistent, unlike the ‘cowardly lion’ Allen – who when asked on the record – has not denied that he’s been rewarded for attacking MHARR, and this pro-growth trade platform.  So, he’s purportedly guilty of doing what he accuses others of doing.  How nice.

State association executives who are MHEC members know about enhanced preemption. The letter above was obtained at the request of a state association. But apparently, the word is out that MHI and the powers that be in MHVille don’t want this discussed.

 

 

MHARR has provided notice to HUD Secretary Carson delivered by FedEx and is documented here.  When carefully read, it reflects the intent of Democrats and other legislators who supported the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) in 2000.

The evidence in favor of enhanced preemption is compelling.

Which once more begs the question, if MHARR and congressional representatives who were in the mix are promoting the use of enhanced preemption, then why aren’t MHI and the big boys?

The logical answer, based upon the known evidence, is sad and sobering.  The big boys benefit from the current state of affairs, because it allows them to consolidate more of the industry at a discounted price. Because it is subtle, it isn’t obvious.  This fits Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat’ and other mantras. 

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Bad news is arguably part of the moat. A lack of good news serves a dastardly use for someone who wants to consolidate the industry too.  Since Buffett-led Berkshire bought Clayton, the industry is actually smaller today than then. How is that possible, during an affordable housing crisis, unless they wanted it to be so?

ManufacturedHousingSHipmentsBloombergQuintFactoryBuiltRebuidRecoveryDailyBusinessNEwsMHproNEws

 

Rephrased, for the big boys, bad news for the industry is paradoxically useful.  How so?  Because it harms marginal players the most.

 

 

That causes businesses to sell out at a discount. 

Some are silent on this trend, because they think they benefit from it. Others are silent out of fear of a loss of their jobs. But some, like Alan Amy call it out for what it is.

 

 

How Enhanced Preemption Would Make the Difference

If new communities were opening, or the Gail Travers of her area had an option to move to another community or to a development homesite, that would act as a competitive check

there have numerous times in our industry’s history that developers and communities paid to move someone in.

What’s missing, in other words, are options for consumers.  Rent control is a band-aid that will likely cause fewer to want to build a community, than the few that already do.

The solution is to encourage the creation of more home sites.

MHARR’s initiative is potentially part of the solution. More on that at this link here

As a total contradiction of his own arguments, Allen admits to the problems of predatory firms, without mentioning that many of these have clear ties to MHI.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

But if MHI and the industry’s powers that be truly wanted to solve the dilemma that faces Travers and others, they would have pressed HUD Secretary Carson, or Brian Montgomery at HUD, to ‘enforce the law’ on enhanced preemption.

Since many of the problematic news stories that are reported in the mainstream media are about issues related to the concerns raised by those like Ms. Travers, logically, the number of ‘bad news’ headwinds would abate as more options would come online.  ICYMI, or need a referesher, see the article linked from the text-image box below.

 

Spreading City Ban on Individual Lot Placements Threatens Independently Owned Manufactured Home Communities, Retailers, Residents, and HUD Code Producers

 

Buffett’s Gift to Manufactured Housing Industry, Media Coverage…

Letters and news like the gut-wrenching woes of Gail Travers drive down interest in our industry and sales. To reverse the trends, one must get to and resolve the root issues.

For MHI or state association members with the cojones, don’t forget to write a letter and thank Warren Buffett for contributing via the Novo Foundation to the Tides nonprofit, which in turn supports MHAction. It is MHAction that has been generating more bad media for the industry than MHI claims to generate good media.  Coincidence?

Or is it a coincidence that Berkshire Hathaway owned BH Media Group assets failed to cover IHS2019.

 

WAVY, Mainstream TV – HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Innovative Housing Showcase – Clayton Homes, and Berkshire Hathaway Revelations

 

These are professionals.  MHI has a professional public relations person on staff. What was that PR person doing prior to IHS2019? Why didn’t Kevin Clayton, or Tim Williams at 21st Mortgage Corp, ask Berkshire to have their media assets robustly cover Secretary Carson’s positive comments about manufactured housing?

The pattern is there to see, for those with open minds.

One must wonder if Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” would ever have been made without Buffett’s support of MHAction? Oliver shows a screen shot of the MHAction co-branded white paper.

MHActionPrivateEquityGiantsConvergeManufacturedHomesLastWeekTonightJohnOliverMobileHomesVideoStillMHProNews

You build a case, by laying out the evidence, one fact at a time.

 

Whenever you see MHAction at work, are you thinking of Warren Buffett? Of Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage Corp?

 

Prosperity Now, Nonprofits Sustain John Oliver’s “Mobile Homes” Video in Their Reports

WarrenBuffettTidesNoVoFoundationMHActionGeorgeSorosManufacturedHomeLivingNews

 

Conclusions – The Solution for Residents and Independents

Without supply and demand coming into better balance, the manufactured home industry is logically heading into a blind alley. Communities will slowly return to capacity, after years of being artificially depressed as evidenced by the documented machinations like the one linked here. When asked, MHI, Clayton, 21st and their attorneys have repeatedly declined comment on those documents.

What happens when existing communities reach capacity?  What impact will that have on independent producers of HUD Code homes that supply communities?

TonyGetsItAlColeOxfordBankTrustManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Sure, there will be replacements of older mobile homes or earlier manufactured homes even when a community reaches effective capacity.  But for the long-term health of the industry, and the benefit of consumers, it will require more #HousingChoice for consumers.

Enforce the law, as stated in the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000.  That must be part of the savvy, long-term mantra of industry professionals, especially independents.  It is on that point that consumer groups and industry independents could come together.

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UPDATE: MHC Future in Doubt, the Other Side of Rent Control

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facts Matter! Improving Your Manufactured Home Location(s) Conversion Ratios, Monday Morning Sales Meeting

January 22nd, 2018 Comments off

UnderstandingConversionRatiosImprovingBottomLineResults

Facts Matter. 

Reality is what is, not what we wish or hope it to be. 

Every successful business uses numbers to measure their success, such as profit and loss statements.  These are black and white issues, not a matter of subjective opinion.  A few quotes and four bullets from ‘the man’ may help.

1)    “All professional success comes down to learning and applying systematic behaviors that result routinely result in a positive outcome.” – L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

2)    “Once you learn what works, you keep doing it, while you refine those processes for ever greater effectiveness.” – L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

3)    Part of what the quotes above imply is that records must be kept, and results must be measured.

4)    In marketing and sales, results are measured by “call ins,” “arrivals,” “conversions,” and “closed business with happy customers.”  You can’t manage what you don’t measure.  You can’t improve, what you don’t measure and determine how to improve it.

MHVillage makes their statistics available, which is useful for an example of this lesson.  They’re the biggest at what they do, so this should not be construed as a slam.  Rather, it’s a look at the cold, hard facts that they themselves have produced, and what those facts might mean or imply.

And what they imply are low conversion numbers.

MHVillageStatistics10.4.2017DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The industry needs to wake up to reality.  It’s not the total numbers of visits, its how many of those visitors end up buying.  

Millions” of visits occur a year, says MHVillage.  But only several thousand actual sales take place from those visits.  Doesn’t that clearly indicates a disconnect between an interest by shoppers, and closed deals?

We’ve spoken with retailers who unlock homes, and let people wander.  For those that keep a head count, they routinely report very minimal sales results; for example, one retailer self-reported that 1 out of 70 walk-ins is sold.

ThereAreOnly2WaysToLearnOwnOthersExperiencesLATonyKovachManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Consider these facts.  Something like 80 percent (+/-) of shoppers have checked your location out online before walking in the door.  If you use the National Association of Realtors ™ (NAR) data, its closer to 94 percent have visited your website, and/or have done other on-line research, before they call you or come in.

The fact that they walk in means they are ‘half way sold.’  So using the example above, if only 1 out of 70 bought, that means something didn’t happen for 69 of those guests that the customer was expecting.  How many millions of dollars in lost sales volume did that cost that MH retailer?

#5 If you can’t write up at a minimum, at least 1 out of every 4 or 5 such arrivals, isn’t something wrong?

We teach our own proprietary sales systems, so we won’t dive into that today.  If you have a sales system that is doing #1 to #4 above and giving you solid results, that are routinely improving, then stick with it.  If not, then give us a call to discuss how that could be improved.

Our research and experience suggests that many MH retailers and MH Communities could increase their sales by up to 850 percent in the markets they are in.  It’s a process, it won’t happen overnight, but for those who understand and commit to the process, the results are impressive.

Our system isn’t high pressure, it’s all about attraction.  The guest wants to do business with you with our system, you’ll invite them to do so.  So you get a nice steady stream of referrals too, so long as you service the customer well.

What we will do today is share a video with a client who self-reports that their sales grew over 400 percent as a result of using the very basic parts of our system.

We have more advanced methods than what they are currently using.  But they’re doing so well with their current results, and getting product from the factory has restricted them to their currently high levels.  So, they are just fine where they currently are, based upon all those factors.

Anyone can take out a smart phone, and turn on the video function, and do an ‘interview.’  But not everyone gets to have a third-party media outlet come and do that interview for them.

Client results and third-party research indicates the impact of our approaches are tremendous.  This is something no one else we know of in MHVille is doing as we do it.  Even if they started today, we have the advantage of years of content that validates the visitors’ impressions and those interviewees experiences.

When you’re ready to invest in your own business to take your results to the next level, click here to give us a call or send a message. We’ll show you where you can maximize what you are doing now, and work with you to improve whatever is needed so that your systems become more productive and profitable. ## (Industry results, marketing, sales, tips, analysis, and commentary.)

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Hurricane Irma Disaster Survivor Describes Her Experience

September 12th, 2017 Comments off

WashingtonPostFloridaLostPowerManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSandy Canard braved the winds of Hurricane Irma inside her manufactured home in a manufactured home community in Melbourne, FL.

Very scary,” she said of her experience Sunday night. “My whole house kept shaking all night. But, thank the Lord, we made it,” per Florida Today.

The water rose quickly, coming into her driveway, she said.

But it receded really fast,” Canard said.

The woman credited recent drainage improvements along John Rhodes Boulevard.  She felt that kept the flooding from being worse.

Stories are pouring into news rooms in Florida and nationally with stories of significant damage, destruction, courage, and survival.

DrudgeReportHeadlineMHProNews

As the skies clear, and water recedes, damage assessments will begin.

As was reported yesterday evening, insurers believe that they dodged a bullet.

CNBCWhenIrmaTurnedWestSighRelifInsurerDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

While damage is extensive, had the storm track hit the east coast in Florida vs. shifting towards the west, the losses would have been greater.  To learn more, click here. ## (News.)

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Governor Signed Manufactured Home ‘Dealer’ License Bill, Now in Effect

July 12th, 2017 Comments off
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Image credit, MHProNews.com.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed House Enrolled Act 1119, the “Manufactured Housing Dealer Licensing Bill” into law on Monday April 24, 2017.

That bill which took effect July 1, 2017, Ronald L. Breymier, Executive Director of the Indiana Manufactured Housing Association said to MHProNews.com.

The new statute requires “that anyone selling 12 or more manufactured homes in a 12 month period be a licensed dealer with an established place of business that meets the minimum standards prescribed by the Secretary of State by administrative rule,” Breymier said.

Previously manufactured home (MH) dealers were in statute when the dealer services division was under the control of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles,” Breymier said. “When dealer services transferred to the Secretary of State several years ago, MH dealers still existed but it was only voluntary.”

HEA 1119 placed manufactured home retailers – a.k.a. “dealers” – back into statute.

The reason for this is the manufactured home industry “dramatically changed the way it sells its homes” and “increasingly manufacturers are requiring those who sell their homes to be licensed dealers,” says Breymier.

When credit constricted, the number of independent retailers in Indiana plummeted post-2008 mortgage housing crisis.

TeaserAlertManufacturedHousingINdustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe backdrop to some of that is part of a planned special report, one that could shake-up the understanding of what is taking place in the industry, and why.

EricHolcombIndianaGovernorSignsBillManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Credit, Wikipedia.

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Credits, IMHA, MHProNews.com.

These homes used to be sold by dealerships with vast inventories like an auto dealer. Now almost all manufactured homes in Indiana are sold in manufactured housing communities rather than from a dealer lot,” said Breymier.

IMHA is working with the Secretary of State’s Office on a new proposed rule to provide minimum standards for dealers selling manufactured homes from inside manufactured housing communities,” Breymier told MHProNews. “These new standards will be less restrictive than those under which traditional “street dealers” must operate.”

The application fee to be a “manufactured home dealer” is $30.00. Breymier explained that this is not a fee increase, nor is it a new fee. It’s the same fee MH retailers paid to the state to be voluntarily licensed as dealers.

During the legislative process IMHA became aware that some local governments are in a position to prohibit manufactured home communities from obtaining a MH dealer license based on the fact communities are mostly zoned residential.” Breymier said that, “The bill was amended to remove that obstacle for our MH communities.”

creditManufacturedHomesDirectory-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit, Manufactured Homes Direct.

The amendment that is now a part of the new law states:

A government body may not regulate or restrict a:

(1) mobile home community: (A) owner; or (B) manager; or

(2) manufactured home community: (A) owner; or (B) manager; to obtain a dealer’s license or to sell a mobile home or manufactured home located within the owner’s or manager’s mobile home community or manufactured housing community”. ##

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Manufactured Home Community Best Practices Debate, Rentals vs. Sales and Accounting Methods

May 26th, 2017 Comments off
tristar-estates-bourbonnais-il-CreditMHC-MD-com, posted MHPorNews.com.

Arial photo credit, MHC-MD.com.

A recent post from Eric Enloe, Managing Director of JLL Valuation and Advisory Services has revved up debated topics in the industry – home rentals versus sales – as well as a look at various best practices regarding accounting and corporate structure methods.

Most participants in the manufactured housing industry know that the best way to add value over time to a land lease community is to drive maximum rental growth rates while holding expenses to a lower growth rate,” writes Enloe.

But, did you know you can often add value to a community without investing any time or capital?”

Enloe then provides three “tricks” to maximize community value, as viewed through what he calls the eyes of a lender:

  • Ensure that your leases allow for a pass-through of increases in real estate taxes and other government assessments.

Enloe writes that this lease clause will ensure that, as your property rises in value, a hypothetical increase in real estate taxes doesn’t impair the underwritten value of your property.

  • If you have community-owned homes, make sure you charge yourself the same rent as your third-party pad tenants.

If you charge yourself—or a related entity— below-market pad rent, you could be reducing the value of your property from a lender’s perspective because they are often limited to underwriting rents supported by the rent roll,” Enloe said.

Alternatively,” says Enloe “the lender is not likely to allow you to count community-owned pad rents in excess of unrelated third-party pad rents, but be sure not to short change your community by failing to ensure that community-owned pad sites depict rental rates at least in line with other tenants.”

  • If you have community-owned homes, some of your payroll, as well repairs and maintenance expenses, is likely associated with maintaining these homes rather than the actual land lease community.
IncreasingValueManufacturedHomeCommunityTheInvestor

Credit: The Investor.

Enloe writes that, “if you can track these labor and materials expenses separately, or at least make a reasonable estimate of them at the end of each month, many lenders will allow you to deduct these expenses from your property’s operating expenses, thereby increasing the underwritten value of the community.”

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Eric Enloe. Credit: CRE.

He continues, “if the lenders can’t give you credit for your personal property (chattel), you shouldn’t be penalized by counting the expenses for maintaining such chattel as a community operating expense, reducing the underwritten value of your property.”

Following these three simple suggestions,” writes Enloe, “will maximize most lenders’ underwritten value of your community, ensuring the best possible financing terms for yourself or a potential buyer.”

 

Gathering Industry Feedback

As the manufactured housing industry’s trade publication of record, MHProNews asked for industry feedback from professionals in the community sector on Enloe’s article.

RichardNodelOwnerNodelParksManufacturedHomeCommunities-postedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews-

Richard Nodel, owner, Nodel Parks, photo credit, LinkedIn.

I agree with all three points made. I think the most important one has to do with segregating all expense attributable to the home operation separate,” says Richard Nodel of Nodel Parks.

As we know lenders do not like to count the ‘home rental income.’ To help offset that, we need to clearly show all the expenses that could be cut if the rental homes were not there.  Again, nothing controversial there, just good common sense.“

I am in favor of more attention being paid to the ever-growing segment of our business, which is rental housing,” said Nodel.

Sun, ELS and UMH are among those community operators that turned to rentals as a faster way to fill vacant home site.

Bucking the Rental Trend with Home Sales

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Video still from Roberts Resorts are from an exclusive interview, A Cup of Coffee with Scott Roberts of Roberts Resorts, linked here.

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http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/cup-of-coffee/a-cup-of-coffee-withscott-roberts

Scott Roberts of Roberts Resorts, is one community professional who is “bucking the trend” in the tide of rentals in communities.

Roberts says that his operation is focused on selling homes, rather than renting them.

Other industry professionals point out that renting homes routinely results in a drop in new manufactured home sales.

While some renters may, over time, decide to buy the home they lease/rent, the total conversions reported to MHProNews typically hover in the low single digit a year range when it comes to the percentage of buyers that become renters.

Other Views

I disagree with the first bullet – rising real estate taxes would be a reflection of rising site rents or occupancy – both of which should cover increases in RET. I assume owners are already charging what the market will bear for site rent,” said one industry professional, off the record.

Other comments included this from a Midwestern operator.

If the owner is at that max, and the RET finally catches up, does it really make sense to go to residents and say, “I just increased your rent for 2018 by $15.  That was before I knew I’d pay an additional l $5 per pad for increased RET.  So I’m passing that on too? Isn’t the increase in RET reflective of the ongoing increase in site rent?”

DTSManufacturedHomeLendingViewtoFHFANAFCUanInnovativeMHCommunityOperatorandMHARRcreditLinkedIn2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Brian Gallagher. Credit: LinkedIn.

Brian Gallagher, Chief Operating and Financial Officer Santefort Real Estate Group, LLC, shared his take regarding point number three in the Enloe article.

Rather than record all home and site expenses on the books of the entity which owns the community and is the borrower on the mortgage, and then ‘deduct’ home related expenses from site operations, it’s much better to establish a separate LLC to account for all home operations, separately from site operations,” Gallagher told MHProNews.

 

A Closing Disclosure

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On the consulting side of MHMarketingSalesManagement, there are companies our sister operations work successfully with that fall into each of these camps.

mhmsm-logo-mhmarketingsalesmanagement-MHProNewslogo

MHProNews is not taking a public position on these questions.

Instead, as the industry’s trade publisher of record, we’re highlighting the evolving discussion and debate in the important manufactured home community sector on how these issues are viewed by professionals.  This fuels the useful discussion of what are the best practices for community owner/operators?

The Daily Business News will continue to track these and other industry debates and discussions. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

Veteran Gets Assist from Manufactured Home Community Residents

May 26th, 2017 Comments off
VeteranGetsAssistfromManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentscreditFOX11-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Auer’s home in the Lakeview Community. Credit: FOX 11.

As we head into a holiday where we honor those who’ve made sacrifices, the spirit is alive and well in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

According to FOX 11, Martin Auer, who is an Army and Marine Corps reserve veteran, and also a 30-year resident at the Lakeview Mobile Home community, needed some help.

His home was in need of some TLC. I needed a new shed, plus I needed new skirting,” said Auer.

The company that owns the Lakeview Community, RV Horizons, selected Auer to receive a renovation, and community residents got together to volunteer their time and deliver on that promise.

It’s back-breaking, but it’s worth it,” said resident and volunteer Edith Simpson.

It’s going to be really nice, and when we get it done, it should look like a really nice place,” said community manager Donna Hodges.

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Volunteers work on the home. Credit: FOX 11.

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Credit: FOX 11.

As the renovations got under way, Auer, in true military fashion, was grateful.

I’m very appreciative, and relieved. I didn’t have to try to get it done myself,” said Auer. “There’s a lot of good people out there.”

The feeling from the volunteers is reciprocal.

Freedom is not free, and it takes a lot of sacrifice from people like Mr. Auer,” said Hodges.

VeteranGetsAssistfromManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentscreditFOX11-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews5

Credit: FOX 11.

I know what it’s like to struggle. It’s nice to be able to help somebody in the community that really needs the help,” Simpson added.

As the house skirting, hammering and building took place, Simpson and Auer reflected on the deeper meaning of taking action for good.

This is good, people’s attitudes have really changed about the military,” said Auer, while discussing that the treatment of veterans has not always been as good as it is now.

We’re all together, chipping in and helping, and doing what we can,” said Simpson.

VeteranGetsAssistfromManufacturedHomeCommunityResidentscreditFOX11-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews3

Credit: FOX 11.

Our vets deserve to be helped out with every little thing that they need, and this is a big thing, more people should get out there to help our vets.”

RV Horizons says it would like to continue doing projects like this for residents in need in the future.

For more on manufactured housing doing well by doing good, including assisting victims of Superstorm Sandy, click here. ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

When You Manage a Community Long Enough

May 24th, 2017 Comments off
WhenYouManageaCommunityLongEnoughcreditTheLedger-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: The Ledger.

Both residents and operators of manufactured home communities will tell you that, if you’re around long enough, you may see anything.

That was the case this past weekend in the hometown of MHProNews, Lakeland, Florida.

According to The Ledger, a 19-year-old driver lost control of his vehicle while speeding on a state road, and crashed into an unoccupied manufactured home in Lakeland Harbor.

Officials from the Lakeland Fire Department say no one was at home at the time of the incident Sunday morning, and the driver was taken to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center with minor injuries.

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Credit: Google.

No additional information was available.

 

Other Recent Strange, But True MH Stories 

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Graphic credit, MHProNews.com.

In our Daily Business News periodic series, we’ve covered a number of strange-but-true stories, including the case of a theft in Purcell, Oklahoma, for a man and woman charged in McClain County District Court with knowingly concealing stolen property.

Tana S. Lang, 41, and Michael G. Slay, 43, are accused of stealing appliances from a model home on the Mid-State Manufactured Housing retail sales center during a June burglary. A Whirlpool refrigerator, range and dishwasher were taken.

Other strange but true stories include:

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

Manufactured Home Community Faces the Music

May 23rd, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHomeCommunityFacestheMusiccreditStarDemocrat-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

The Talbot Trailer Park community. Credit: Star Democrat.

In Maryland, a number of residents are losing a place to live.

According to the Star Democrat, the owners of the Talbot Trailer Park in Easton informed the county council of its plans last week, due to financial and regulatory challenges surrounding sewage disposal.

The majority of the community is due to be closed by June 30th.

 

Local officials and the Maryland Department of Environment (MDE) said that they have been working with the owners to come into compliance with state regulations.

While hoping a resolution could be found, local agencies have proactively developed a plan for how to best help residents relocate,” said Talbot County Council President Jennifer Williams.

The council fully supports and will assist agencies with efforts underway in meeting the needs of the displaced residents and recognizes that this can be a very unsettling time for those involved.”

The community currently has 47 home sites, with 35  of them occupied.

ManufacturedHomeCommunityFacestheMusiccreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

Talbot Trailer Park will close by the end of June 2017, according to the county,” said Lorraine Claggett, chief operating officer for Norris E. Taylor Contractors Inc., speaking for the owners.

Those residents of the park [sic] owning their own mobile home [sic] units, by law, have longer to make alternative living arrangements and have been told to remove their units from the premises by midnight June 30, 2018.”

One of the major challenges for the community is that it has been operating with an interim wastewater treatment system since the 1980’s. MDE says it has been working with the community owners for an extended period, trying to come up with a solution for what had become an ongoing public health issue.

Community officials from the health department, social services and the non-profit Neighborhood Service Center have teamed up to assess the housing needs for residents who will be displaced.

The Talbot County Health Department and Department of Social Services began planning how we might assist residents of the trailer park [sic] when we received confirmation of the closure of the mobile home park [sic],” said Dr. Fredia Wadley, health officer for Talbot County Health Department.

We stand ready to assist the residents, recognizing that relocating is never easy when low income housing is needed as part of the solution.”

For more on sewage challenges for communities around the country, including the case of the Oak Hollow Mobile Home Park in San Antonio, Texas, click here. ##

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

Manufactured Home Community Dealing With Serious Flooding

May 19th, 2017 Comments off
ManufacturedHomeCommunityDealingWithSeriousFloodingcreditKBOI1-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A view of the flooding in the Riviera Estates community. Credit: KBOI.

In Eagle, Idaho, residents at the Riviera Estates community are dealing with, floodwaters, and looking for answers.

According to KBOI, more residents were forced to evacuate yesterday due to floodwaters, which began on Wednesday. Initial flooding of two to three feet has now spread several more feet, and county officials still are uncertain as to where the water is coming from.

The Eagle Fire Department has been on site at Riviera Estates since Wednesday working to pump water out of the community’s shed pumps, which provide potable water to residents.

The community is also on a septic tank system, and both the Eagle Police Department and the Ada County Sheriff’s office have asked residents to limit their use of the system. Officials are concerned that any standing water could be contaminated.

And that concern has residents leaving, and taking their things with them.

ManufacturedHomeCommunityDealingWithSeriousFloodingcreditKBOI2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A resident waits for assistance. Credit: KBOI.

They’re going to still have to release more water, more water means deeper flood water,” said J.R. Schooley, who is working with a family to move out of the community.

Deeper flood water means there’s a point where you can’t get out of here and that’s what we worry about the most, you get to a point where it’s two, three feet deep.”

While there is no mandatory evacuation in place, the sheriff’s office visited each home and strongly encouraged residents to leave.

Eagle Police say nine people were forced to stay in a Red Cross shelter or with family members last night.

ManufacturedHomeCommunityDealingWithSeriousFloodingcreditKBOI3-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: KBOI.

The Daily Business News will continue to follow this story and provide updates.

For more on manufactured home communities dealing with the effects of flooding, including those at the Balls Ferry Fishing Resort and Mobile Home Park in Anderson, California, click here. ##

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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

 

(Copyright Notice: This and all content on MHProNews and MHLivingNews always have been and are Copyrighted, © 2017 by MHProNews.com a dba of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – All Rights Reserved. No duplication is permitted without specific written permission. Headlines with link-backs are of course ok. A short-quoted clip, with proper attribution and link back to the specific article are also ok – but you must send a notice to iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com of the exact page you’ve placed/posted such a use, once posted.)

State Adds Requirements for Manufactured Home Community Owners

May 6th, 2017 Comments off
StateAddsRequirementsforManufacturedHomeCommunityOwnerscreditZillow-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A manufactured home in Oregon. Credit: Zillow.

In Oregon, the recently passed House Bill 2008 adds a number of new responsibilities for manufactured home community owners when residents are required to relocate.

According to KTVZ, the bill increases the fees MHC owners are required to pay residents if they require residents to relocate, and mandates the Office of Manufactured Dwelling Park Community Relations to recalculate those relocation fees annually and in line with inflation.

Representatives Julie Fahey (D-Junction City) and Pam Marsh (D-Ashland) were the co-chief sponsors of the bill.

StateAddsRequirementsforManufacturedHomeCommunityOwners creditFacebookJulieFahey-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Julie Fahey. Credit: Facebook.

Despite being called mobile homes [sic], these homes are not actually easy or affordable to move,” said Fahey.

If it is even possible to move a home, it can cost thousands of dollars. This bill provides more financial stability for the residents of these communities.”

Aldo included in the bill is the requirement for community owners, upon a community sale, to notify the states’ Manufactured Communities Resource Center and make adjustments to co-op membership requirements, allowing MHC non-profit co-ops to better take advantage of a federal Rural Development program. Information on the Rural Development program is linked here.

With more than 1,000 manufactured home communities in the state, Marsh says that 62,000-sited homes serve as a vital affordable housing option for many working individuals and families.

StateAddsRequirementsforManufacturedHomeCommunityOwners creditPamMarshOfficiaPhoto-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Pam Marsh. Official Photo.

In my community, I have seen how financially disastrous these events can be in the lives of hardworking people,” said Marsh.

At a time when affordable housing is at a premium in communities throughout Oregon, this bill provides needed protections.”

House Bill 2008 passed the house by a 54 to six vote, and will now move on the Oregon Senate.

graphic-cfed-proofmhaffordablehousingsolution-posteddailybusinessnewsmhpronews

Graphic by CFED, text credit by MHProNews.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, the state of Oregon has been a hotbed of activity for manufactured housing over the last year, including a discussion about affordable housing in Portland, Oregon, and four “surprising facts” raised by OregonMetro’s Craig Bebbe.

The panel discussion at the Metro Regional Center shared hopeful signs for preserving and possibly even expanding access for manufactured housing and manufactured home communities in the future.

Bebbe called manufactured homes “Oregon’s largest source of unregulated affordable housing.”

That story is linked here. ##

 

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RC Williams, MHProNews.

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