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Kobayashi Maru, Crime, Kevin Clayton, Darren Krolewski, MHInsider – State of Manufactured Housing Industry

May 23rd, 2019 Comments off

 

KobayahsiMaruCrimeKevinClaytonPhotoMHVillageLogoDarrenKrolewskiPhotoMHinsiderStateOfManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

Nearly a week has elapsed since the message further below was sent to the co-president of a well-known Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member firm that will be part of today’s fact-check and analysis.

 

 

To grasp the subject – for outsiders looking in, and for those in the industry who don’t yet ‘get it’ – a pair of analogies are useful, but one must begin with facts about law enforcement.

When local, state, or federal law enforcement undertakes a case, their goal in part is to obtain a conviction. That means at times that law enforcement professionals allow a criminal enterprise to continue while a case is being “built.” For those who’ve watch a legal drama in a TV series or a movie, that picture of monitoring or penetrating a criminal enterprise will start to come into focus.

 

BestInvestmentOneMadeinYourselfMoreYouLearnMoreYoullEarnWarrenBuffettQuoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

Using the principle of the wheat and chaff, this Warren Buffett quote is pure wheat. Give credit where it is due.

 

But that’s fictional. How real is it?

On various occasions during my manufactured home career, I’ve met and worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),” said industry publisher and consultant, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. “Convictions were obtained. There are a few industry pros who know, but I was also given a letter of thanks from the FBI, which proves it.”

Local law enforcement cases were worked on with Kovach’s assistance too.

Kovach explained he has friends who are and/or were in law enforcement. A case isn’t solved in an hour or two, he said. It can be weeks or months in many instances. If it is a major criminal enterprise, years could be involved.

What’s occurring in manufactured housing is not a onetime petty theft. It’s arguably a multiple billion-dollar ongoing scam that’s harmed taxpayers, as well as numerous specific companies in manufactured housing. Several multiple decade brands were put out of business that could well be thriving today if not for specific, illicit, market manipulation for which there is extensive credible evidence,” Kovach said. “That’s why the feds, attorneys, and others have opened up investigations.”

Kovach added, “I’ve personally been told [by federal investigators] that this will take time. Likely years. But to underscore that there are such investigations, we periodically share the video from Clayton Homes’ hometown news media. Don’t forget that the Seattle Times has also reported ongoing federal investigations too. The feds have their needs and timelines, but we as pro-industry publishers must think about warning those who are the purported targets of such scams.”

The news video he referenced is below.  The views reported on that video have roughly tripled since MHProNews began spotlighting it by posting it.

 

 

How do the powers that be in MHVille counter such claims?

In part, through threats from attorneys – that have not yet been acted upon – or by using surrogates George F. Allen purportedly to smear our publisher by sending out by email, or verbally tells his “intimates,” about Tony Kovach’s prior use of a pen name.  Allen acts as if that use of a pen name was a crime – to which, there are times our publisher/consultant laughs.

GeorgeAllenWithLATonyKovach

Concerns over Allen are not to be construed as calling into question potentially positive aspects of his career. But when someone has lost their pizazz, are they willing to cross lines to get – in their own minds – their magic back?

Look, I’ve not claimed to be a choir boy, and [George] Allen isn’t a dummy. He knows that thousands of people use a pen or stage name quite legally. I have too. So what? Most adults over a certain age know that Mark Twain real name was actually Samuel Clemens. Does George want Clemens charged post-mortem with the use of a pen name? Absurd. Performer Kid Rock’s real name is Robert James Ritchie. It’s legal and done for specific professional reasons. Ironically, Allen has told the story about walking into other people’s businesses in our industry and saying he was paid to claim that he was someone other than who he was. He calls that ‘mystery shopping.’  George has told dozens of industry professionals that he’s claimed – for instance – being in drag, or poised as a biker – in doing what he calls ‘mystery shopping.’ So, it’s smoke Allen and his buddies blow, and arguably hypocritical.”

 

Warning the MH Industry, Consumers – A War Without Guns

Among the sources for MHProNews are those inside what Allen us to call the 3Cs – Clayton, Cavco, and now Skyline-Champion. The in-depth ‘read hot’ report yesterday unpacks Allen himself pointing the finger and named Clayton, 21st and others as being part of an effort to monopolize the manufactured housing industry.

Every con job is a crime taking place in plain sight. Exposing the con is the start of ending the con.  There must also be legal efforts, which MHProNews sources confirmed are underway.

While those investigators must do what they feel that they ought to do, there is also a need for parallel efforts, that exposes the tentacles of those who by default or by design are pawns in the long-game being played by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

 

SuccessfulInvestingTakesTimeDiscplinePatienceSomeThingsTakeTimeWarrenBuffettQuoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

 

It’s Warren Buffett who talks about the long game and patience,” Kovach said, adding, “while Kevin Clayton said last week that it was a 100-year strategy.  Was that an understatement?  From 2003 to 2017, Clayton went from 13 percent market share to some 48 to 50 percent, depending on what source is cited. At that pace, it isn’t 100 years to conquer what’s left of manufactured housing, is it?”

 

ItsWaitingHelpsInvestorLotPeopleJustCantStandWaitCharlieMungerQuoteWarrenBuffettPartnerBerkshireHathwayManufacturedHomesMHProNews

Using the principle of the wheat and chaff, this Charlie Munger quote is pure wheat. Give credit where it is due. Munger is Buffett’s longtime partner in Berkshire Hathaway.

 

The point Tony makes in part is to know when Buffett or Clayton are to be taken at their word, and when their words must be considered in the light of their behavior and trends.

 

StockMarketDeviceTransferringMoneyFromImpatienttothePatientWarrenBuffettquoteManufacturedHousingMHProNews

This is a quote that bears scrutiny. It’s insightful, but it also has undertones that merits investor and public officials deeper understanding.

 

He then points to statements by MHI award winner, Marty Lavin, which makes those points quite well.

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

Ask yourself. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply in this case?

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

MHProNews looks at the facts, considers the sources, and follows the evidence. MHI earlier last year, and for years before, MHI routinely replied promptly to all inquiries. But since we’ve spotlighted the problems and concerns, they’ve gone silent. Why? If the facts are on their side, why not make offer a cogent explanation?

 

MHI claims to be working to grow the industry.  But where is the evidence?

If asked, they can point to articles and videos they’ve produced, including the video from which the still below is taken.

 

LeveragingMomentumCreationNewClassofManufacturedHomesManufacturedHousingInstituteMHILogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Clayton Homes is the purported source of this push. Kevin Clayton spoke about this very notion in the video interview with CNBC. Is there a conflict of interest at play at MHI, when the largest member is so deeply involved in conventional housing? What do the MHI bylaws have on that? They are mute, and won’t turn those documents over for examination. Perhaps there is nothing there. But if there is nothing to hide, why hide it?

ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHIVideoStillMHIPromotionalClaims

 

But even if every claim in that graphic were 100 percent true, that doesn’t mean that they have been ineffective at doing what they claim to do?  Are they implying that they are incompetent?

Or are they shrewd?

Is Omaha-Knoxville dominated MHI – which is based in Arlington, VA – working to grow the industry?  Or are they working to suppress the industry in a fashion that escapes the scrutiny of the unwary?

 

KevinClaytonPhotoMHIRichardDIckJennisonPhotoCharlieMungerHugeBuilder100PlusYearVisionClaytonHomesQuotesManufacturedHousingBlurLinesMHProNews

 

Then, is MHI embracing publishers like MHInsider, or bloggers like George Allen, as surrogates to counter the analysis and reports published by MHProNews, or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)?

Having set the table, let’s present the link to an in-depth report on that above, but also share an email between Kovach and MHInsider’s Darren Krolewski.

 

The Inside Look at MHInsider?!

If we are to save the maximum number of independents and rally the maximum number of industry professionals to resist the increasingly self-evident trends, doing what some think is unconventional – but is legal and moral – is useful,” said Tony Kovach.

 

He pointed to the email that followed.  The screen capture that documents the message is immediately below, and is followed by the complete, unedited text of his message. The typos are in the original.

EMailtoDarrenKrolewskiDanRinzemaMHVillageDataCompMHInsiderEmail5.16.2019ManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

Darren,

As you know, we’ve fact-checked MHInsider previously.  Have you corrected any of the factual errors that we brought to industry readers’ attention?  If so, where, when, and how?   A link or example are welcome for our planned report.

Next:

 

First Annual MHInsider™
State of the Industry Issue.

How many real issues will you deal with? Will you examine – for example – the problem of consolidation and monopolization? Will you examine the fact that every item spotlighted by John Oliver’s video was an MHI member company?  Or that Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett’s directly or indirectly funded nonprofits that have sparked negative news for the industry?

In fairness, are there any reactions, corrections, or analysis you’d like to provide on any article linked further below on MHProNews?

 

MHInsiderReaches31500CirculationDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHProNews

This claim will be unpacked, further below.

 

We’ve visually spotlighted that your ‘print circulation’ is in fact not all picked up at events.  The evidence reflects that most are not picked up, and are therefor logically not being read.  A company that advertised with us and your firm said your marketing produced zero results, while by contrast, MHProNews produced all of their external results – both by electronic measures and actual follow ups with respondents.

That said, what is the actual, effective engagement of MHInsider?  How many page views online?  How many daily visits?

Finally:

Given the problems with other facts your publication has previously reported – and to our knowledge, has not yet issued corrections – are there also problems with MHVillage claims of some 25 million unique visits a year?

It seems hard to imagine that the claim of some 25 million unique – non-duplicated – visits occur annually, and yet less than 97,000 new HUD Code homes were sold in 2018.  I’m asking you man-to-man, but on the record, is your firm exagerating those claims in some form or fasion?  For example, is it actually X number of unique daily visits, and you are extrapolating from that? Meaning, are there duplicate visits being counted as ‘unique?’

Please advise on each in writing, so we are both clear on each element of the above.  A confirmation and timeline on your reply are appreciated. Thank you.

Tony

##

 

Such claims matters to manufactured housing industry professionals for these reasons. First, because they think it is important enough to make the claim. Why? Because for years, these same people praised our platform as the tops, including Krolewski.

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

–      There is clear evidence in the report linked here that MHInsider, along with George Allen and others, are singing from the same song book that MHI does. It’s their right to do so.  But if MHI is misleading the industry – and there are arguably numerous examples herein or another linked here how that’s occurred – then aren’t their surrogates likewise misleading their readers?

–      If Berkshire Clayton, MHI and others are part of a scheme to consolidate manufactured housing, or are using methods that violate RICO, postal, IRS, and other statutes, then are their surrogates who continue to spew their drivel co-conspirators?

–      Is MHInsider exaggerating or lying about their actual traffic and readership, which could be a deceptive trade practice, or worse?

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

Data per MHVillage, collage by MHProNews. It is a legal violation if claims are made that are not true. If MHVillage can document their claim, why have they demured responding with the evidence?

 

Recently, an MHInsider advertiser told MHProNews that our platform – which provides third-party data about audience engagement – produced the ONLY results for their marketing effort.  MHInsider and others produced zero results, per that party which monitored their results.

CaseyMackTonySoheylaMHProNewsTeamFirstCallDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

A realtor who used to use MHVillage told MHProNews this week that based on their experience, MHVillage has lost its “umph.”  An MHI-member industry producer has used them for years. While they claim huge traffic numbers, using their own data, they have poor conversion ratios.  That firm talks about their untapped upside, and the industry itself is underperforming.  These are examples that underscore concerns previously raised by MHProNews graphically illustrated in the photos below.

MHInsiderDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsTunicaShow2019Day2

A photo of another rack at Tunica appears almost untouched. The industry’s pros, given a choice between fluff and reality often chose the real deal. But this raises concerns about their claims of 31,500 ‘circulation.’ Circulation to whom?  If it is to industry professionals, and if they are in fact being read, why are their results reportedly poor?

 

It all begins to look like smoke and mirrors. Big claims, by MHI, MHVillage, MHInsider, Clayton Homes, et al, but poor outcomes.  Why?

Because of the millions who are not being served who need affordable housing, these are issues that merit congressional and other investigations, that are public – not quietly taking place behind the scenes.

 

 

Trekkies and Chess Players, Unite…The Kobayashi Maru

In chess, if someone finds themselves in a losing posing against a superior force, one can quit – resign – or put strategies to work that change the games dynamics.  That’s how winning is done from a normally losing position.

The Kobayashi Maru is a training exercise in the fictional Star Trek universe designed to test the character of Starfleet Academy cadets in a no-win scenario. The Kobayashi Maru test was first depicted in the opening scene of the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and also appears in the 2009 film Star Trek.” – Wikipedia.

There are several factors at play that could go either way for manufactured housing independents.  They underscore the need for a classic “SWOT” analysis.

SWOTAnalysisDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

The four quads of a good SWOT analysis. Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.

 

Without going into but a few points, it is obvious that:

 

–      there is an affordable housing crisis.

–      That manufactured homes are the most proven solution in American history for affordable housing.

–      HUD Secretary Ben Carson recently praised the industry, while saying it is time to end the secret, and bring manufactured housing out of the darkness of limestone into the brightness of the limelight.

–      That Secretary Carson statement may not comport with the timeline – and thus the desired plan – of Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington to slowly consolidate manufactured housing into ever fewer hands and brands.

–      Which may explain why once more today, as of 10:33 AM ET on the MHI website and the Clayton Homes websites have no results in searching for HUD Secretary Carson’s fine speech to manufactured housing professionals in New Orleans.

–      There are documented examples of Warren Buffett donations flowing through ‘dark money’ channels to groups that have attacked various manufactured housing industry initiatives, and brands in a fashion that arguably harms smaller firms than larger ones.

–      Buffett has worked to elect and support politicians who promote heavier regulations and higher taxes that experts say can harm smaller firms more than larger ones.

The disconnects between claims made, behavior, and actual results are numerous.

“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger

MHProNews has offered several times to discuss these issues in public with those being named herein.  They’ve routinely declined.  That’s not proof, but it is indicative that they are unwilling or unable to debunk the concerns, allegations, and the evidence presented.

These merit public investigations. We will be pressing public officials, not just law enforcement, and others in the legal and investment communities to investigate what is occurring in manufactured housing.

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

Because the logic of the facts in the report linked above indicates it is costing the economy huge sums of money, and that means that individuals citizens, along with taxpayers are being harmed.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached.

 

If MHI, Clayton and others in the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington triangle are serious about growth, why is it that MHARR is the association pushing for the solutions that will actually return the industry to health and growth?

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

 

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Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg Discusses Antitrust Breaking Up, What Kevin Clayton, Joe Stegmayer, MHI Can Learn, plus Manufactured Home Market Updates

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MHARR Launches “Fighting Discriminatory Zoning Mandates” Manufactured Housing Project

“Lead, Follow … Or Get Out of The Way”

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Monopoly” in Manufactured Housing Alleged by George Allen, MHI Defender’s Turn by former Community-Investor, Self-Claimed EducateMHC Blogger

May 22nd, 2019 Comments off

 

MonopolyManufacturedHousingAllegedByGeorgeAllenMHIDefendersTurnByFormerCommunityInvestorSelfClaimedEducateMHCBloggerMHProNews

Free enterprise is predicated in part on the ability to compete. Be it in tea, banking, or other sectors of the economy, America from its earliest days as a colony includes examples of not just tax revolt, but anti-monopoly rebellion too. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt are among the scores of sources that have said as much.

 

  • The Open Markets Institute has said that antitrust or anti-monopoly efforts are one of the most important issues of our time. As they put it on their home page, the Open Markets Institute “…promote greater awareness of the political and economic dangers of monopolization, identifies the changes in policy and law that cleared the way for such consolidation, and fosters discussions with policymakers and citizens as to how to update America’s traditional political economic principles for our 21st century digital society.” Note to newcomers, MHProNews often turns direct quotes bold and brown to make them ‘pop,’ but otherwise the quoted words are as reported.
  • Several Democratic 2020 presidential contenders have made monopoly and antitrust enforcement a campaign issue.
  • The Trump Administration has let it be known that they have an executive order drafted on antitrust, a copy of which was obtained by MHProNews.
  • The Department of Justice’s antitrust point man – Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim – was cited at length in a prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report in a talk dubbed “November Rain.”
  • A top antitrust attorney named Lina Kahn was hired by Capitol Hill Democrats.  These 4 bullets make it clear that this challenge of market consolidation and monopoly are a bi-partisan concern, though the two major parties may have differing approaches.
  • Facebook’s co-founder is among several who have called for the breakup of the company.  But it isn’t just big tech that is facing calls of breakup under antitrust law.

 

That brief survey with links to various reports makes it clear that antitrust or anti-monopolistic practices sentiment has swelled in several swaths of the national political and economic discourse.

Which begs the question.  Other than MHProNews, and MHLivingNews, why has the bulk of the other trade media or bloggers in the manufactured housing industry been so obviously silent on the topic of monopolization, antitrust, and consolidation?

As MHProNews has noted before – but will hereby spotlight in a different way with additional quotes – there is an exception of sorts.

It’s George F. Allen, who shed his COBA7 moniker in favor of EducateMHC, reportedly sold his modest direct interests manufactured home communities, but still has a website called “Community-Investor.”

Before turning to Allen’s comments, let’s note that MHInsider, a far larger medium which is a staunchly pro-Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) backer, reveals nothing on a site search under the term ‘monopoly.’  Ditto a search under ‘consolidation’ or ‘antitrust.’ A search for articles about manufactured housing’s ‘enhanced preemption’ – mandated by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 – are missing from MHInsider, much like that topic turns up nothing on MHI’s website too. In fairness and accuracy – to MHInsider’s credit – they provided a few pull quotes from HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s address in New Orleans, which is more than the zero found on MHI’s website as of this morning as this article is being drafted.  But MHInsider lacks the entire – and highly useful for the industry’s independents – recent Secretary Carson speech to manufactured housing professionals.

 

MHInsiderLogoSiteSearchOligarchyMonopolyAntitrustEnhancedPreemptionManufacturedHousingTradeJournalMediaMHProNews

 

Other publishers in MHVille may lack a search tool, or have so few industry readers, that their pro-MHI stance is worth mentioning but not worth the time to document.  So, there are others, most of whom routinely sing from the same hymnal that MHI provides.  MHI-affiliated state associations often likewise regurgitate uncritically – often verbatim – MHI’s missives, perhaps for reasons noted in a prior report linked here.  That stated, one must note that a few manufactured home community (MHC) state associations broke ranks with MHI, citing the Arlington, VA based trade group’s lack of effectiveness.

 

NealTHaneyNAMHCOWhyBreakawayfromManfuacturedHousingInstituteMHI

 

Onto Allen and Monopoly…

With that survey and backdrop, here’s what Allen has had to say on the topic of monopoly operating in the manufactured housing industry.

 

GeorgeFAllenCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOcoba7MonopolyConsolidationClaytonHomes21stMortgageBerkshireHathawayQuotesManufacturedHomesCommunitiesMHproNews

The date shown is when the screen captures were performed, not the date it was published. More on that, further below.

 

To use a phrase Allen enjoys, those are salient points. He’s made others before, like this one.

ManufacturedHousingIndustryMonopoly-Oligarchy-GeorgeAllen-PostedDailyBusinessNews

While those are comments were made in years gone by, that begs the question. When the evidence for monopolistic behavior in America and our manufactured home industry specifically has mounted, why has Allen more recently defended the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is the arguably the breeding ground for what Allen dubbed himself called oligarchs and monopolists?

DougRyanAmericanBankerManufacturedHousingMonopoly-postedDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryProNews-575x237

While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge that Ryan raised in the article above, Doug Ryan at CFED, and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 

When Allen has demonstrably agreed with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) in the past, why has he attacked the Washington, D.C. based MHARR more recently?   Aren’t his disconnects apparent?

 

ManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformlogoMHARRlogoSearchMonopolyAntitrustConsolidation

 

Hold those thoughts.

Be it Allen, MHI, or others – each has precisely the same rights protected by the Constitution that we all do. From the days of the British colonies, to after the time that the United States was finally formed following years of revolutionary warfare, and through the varied phases of our national history, America has had a love-hate relationship with pamphleteers and publishers. But with few exceptions – like the classic prohibition of not crying “fire” in a crowded theater when there is none – we defend in principle the constitutionally protected right citizens enjoy to say what they will, even if it is determined later to be demonstrably wrong.

Which brings us to a pressing point of free speech and free press. On the left, right and the dwindling center, there are voices in media talking about the news that have raised concerns about free speech, concentration of media, and manipulation of news reports.  That there is a need for a graphic like the one below is troubling, but speaks volumes.

MediaBiasChartSharylAttkissonLeftRightPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Full Measure’s Sharyl Attiksson’s media bias chart is useful in sorting out the agendas behind various headlines and news sources. 

The quotes that follow exemplify the issue, across the left-right and even academic landscape.

 

TheseLargeConglomerateCompaniesDecideOnTheirownandForTheirOwnPurposesTheNewsWeSeeandHearDanRatherQuoteFormerCBSNewsPhotoTwitterDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Dan Rather quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

DeepaKumarQuoteGiantMediaCorpLikeTimWarnerandNewsCoprDisneySoForthTheyGetToDecidWhatIsNews

Deepa Kumar quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

DannyGloverQuoteItsNotOnlyAMonopolyOfWealthItsAmonopolyofInformationasWellDailyBusinessNewsMHproNEws

Danny Glover quote from the compelling video, Shadows of Liberty, posted on the linked page.

ThomasSowellQuoteIfPeopleInMediaCannotDecideWhetherTheyAreInNewsReportingbusinessorManufacturingPropagandaMoreImportantForPublicchoseNewssourcesAccordingly

 

That’s problematic, but hardly new in either American or world history. In ancient times, a leader might lop the head off someone who brought bad news.  Far more recently, media in the 20th or 21st century have examples of being pushed and prodded by government and/or private interests. One must be aware of that pattern in order to begin to discern the vexing reality that someone’s worldview is forged by what media sources they adhere to most routinely.

 

GeorgeOrwellQuotesOurAGeNoSuchThingKeepingOutOfPoliticsAllIssuesPoliticalPOliticsMassLiesEvasionFollyHatredSchizophreniaManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNews

HowardZinnQuoteGeorgeOrwellSaidWhoeverControlsthePastControlsTheFutureHeMeantHistoryImportantShapingViewNextGenerationMHProNews

 

The founding fathers themselves experienced the problems of negative media that was often harsh and agenda driven.  The founders used the press and pamphleteering to stoke the flames that caused a revolution against England, and eventually turned colonies into the independent but United States. Those founders believed that it is the clash and testing of ideas that can reveal to those who scrutinize details what is or is not true.

A close reading or attention paid to statement and subsequent events may also reveal the instances when people say or write one thing, but do another.

 

FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

Ask yourself. Do these Marty Lavin dictums apply in this case?

 

While all fail from time to time to live up to ideals, there is a special scorn many have for blatant and repeated hypocrisy. Perhaps rightly so.

FrankRolfeMHIChairmanNathanSmithSSKCommunitiesHypocrisyQuote-MHProNews

 

Now the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has an antitrust statement. According to form, MHI’s numerous meetings every year are opened with a reminder that antitrust guidelines apply. But does that mean that they are adhering in deed to those antitrust guidelines, and not just merely in the mentioned word? There are highlighted items in the MHI antitrust statement, linked here, which in this writer’s informed view merit legal and regulatory oversight attention.

So why are these issues missing from MHI’s website?

 

2019-05-22_0735ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoAntitrustConsolidationMHProNews

Every symphony has high and low notes. There may be sobering, often dark drum rolls, and heartening crescendos. Symphonies – like other art forms – are meant to entertain, reflect, and inspire life. Novelists have plots, as well as subplots. Intentionally or not, publishing, writers, and media sources go through their own peaks, valleys, twists, turns, and familiar refrains.

The wonder isn’t that Allen – not just MHProNews or MHLivingNews – has raised concerns about “consolidation.”

Rather, it’s that others in manufactured housing trade publishing have not done the same. Are they unaware? That’s highly unlikely, because this writer hears from those publishers, their team, and followers. Are they afraid to rock the boat? Fearful? Paid-off via ads or other incentives? What?

One trade media competitor, in what was an unintended backhanded compliment said ‘Tony, you [MHProNews, MHLivingNews] write about that others in the industry read or talk about at bars and during meals.’  If so, that may explain why our audience dwarfs all others.  But that statement begs the question, then why doesn’t that gent and other writer/bloggers follow the lead of tackling the real issues, instead of playing footsy with MHI-driven drivel?

 

BarryColeMHInsuranceRVMHHallofFameCongratsManufacturedHomeIndustryMHProNews

 

Why does MHI have an antitrust statement, beyond as legal cover, while doing nothing of merit to commission independent research over concerns that they as a nonprofit group are being used as a tool for consolidation?

 

Then keep your tongue from evil

and your lips from speaking deceit.

Turn aside from evil and do good…” Psalm 34:13.

 

Let’s recall anew that George Washington, and other founders, for whatever their personal failings were – and they had them, as we all do – stressed the need for morality and religion, not just laws or a constitution.

 

OfAllDispositionsHabitsPoloticalProspertityReligionMoralityIndispensable-GeorgeWashington-picWikiCommons-postedMHProNews-

 

With that backdrop, back to Allen, monopoly, consolidation and what to do about it in MHVille.

 

Quoting Allen

A Final Thought for Year 2018, but Key for 2019

No names here, but hope you too boycott an ongoing online MH-related news media attempt to denigrate and divide us as an industry and realty asset class!

In my opinion, life is too short to be making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks, only befouling internet platforms better used to promote manufactured housing and the land lease community lifestyle!

If so, join me in 2019, committing to read only print and online trade publications advancing the causes, and improving the image, of HUD-Code manufactured housing and land lease communities! No more caterwauling (‘to fight like cats’) in public and in private. Period.”

To spell it out for those not informed, Allen called there for a boycott of MHProNews, and of this writer. The ironies and hypocrisy there are thick.  Because of his own self-contradictions, and his own de facto concerns over the very kind of monopolization and consolidation – in that quoted case above, of media – that he blasted previously about MHI and Clayton. Can George spell hypocrisy?

Yet Allen’s aptly cited problems with consolidation, oligarchy, and monopoly. He still calls consolidation “a problem” in even recent posts.

 

WeveGotAProblemGeorgeFAllenQuoteCommunityInvestorEducateMHCSECOMobileHomeParkManufacturedHomesMHProNews

To see more disconnects between Allen and his flip-flops, then and now, click here.

 

Nevertheless, he is hypocritically attacking this platform, and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR), each of which have consistently been sounding alarms about those issues – with specific examples – to the attention of the thousands of the industry’s readers.

MarkWeissDTSQuoteManufacturedHousingAssocRegulatoryReformMHARRDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews

Allen has pointed out the obvious, that MHARR is a sponsor of our website. But that’s out in the open, MHARR has banner ads here. What Allen fails to mention is that MHI used to sponsor MHProNews too. Our coverage has been based upon our LLC’s own research and work, without favor. What Allen has, by contrast, avoided is what are the ways that he is being coached, rewarded, and influenced?  In pointing an errant finger, are three pointing back at George’s chest? Note too that MHProNews cites sources from MHI, MHEC members, MHARR, and others.  We do so accurately and in their historic context. 

 

Allen’s voice is significant, but small compared to this platform’s.  We have more readers in a few hours than he will have all week.  So, why bother?  Because frankly, reviewing the history of Allen’s musings make clear some of the very problems he once asserted, and now denies.  Its instructive to unpack Allen.

YouMHProNewsSeemToHaveConceptualIQThatIsMoreImportantThanSpellingAbilityQuote

Many of these quotes are from MHI insiders.

Allen is interesting to the extent that he does periodically make accurate statements.  But a stopped clock is correct twice daily too.  More politely, he is a reason why we believe in the wheat and chaff approach to people and sources. We all have our good and bad days, our good points, and our weaker ones.  Our readers have pointed out that we get typos, for instance.  Guilty as charged.  That’s our chaff, but who strive for finer wheat that feeds our audience that doesn’t find like content from other’s in the industry trade media.

Closely read, Allen’s arguably consistent about only one thing, support for himself.

With that said, he has apparently been re-embraced by the very people – MHI and their leaders – that he railed against for unfair treatment by examining his business interests under the cover of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA), and then unethically going into competition against him. Allen personally felt the sting of manipulative and costly maneuvers from MHI, whose structure and funding point to firms in Omaha and the Knoxville, TN metro areas as their dominating, driving forces.  He ought to be leading the charge, instead of giving the manipulators cover.

Rephrased, Allen knows first-hand who pulls the puppet strings at Arlington, VA based MHI. He fought them, he was marginalized, he lost. That is, he lost until he was more recently reembraced to be the apparent purported surrogate and attack dog for the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.  Now, for example, MHI Chairman Joe Stegmayer is back on Allen’s stage.

The key to understanding Allen’s pivots in publishing is to understand that he is highly motivated by self-interest.  That is per a former, significant client of his, who told this writer that the way to understand Allen is summed up in this saying: “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.” Pondering that claim, and watching the pattern after that was heard, that source arguably proved correct.

The point here isn’t that Allen has flip-flopped, or that the balance of the industry’s trade media has been mute on the issues of monopolization, consolidation, antitrust, and market manipulation that has kept manufactured housing underperforming.

 

BloombergShipmentProductionDataManufacturedHousingMHProNews2019-05-16_1057

MHARRshipmentProductionMarch2019ManufacturedHousingReportMHProNews

While MHI in their monthly shipment report doesn’t deny the decline, neither are they addressing the underlying causes, nor have they proposed a remedy via their messages to the industry. Why not?

Frankly, we’ve covered much of that ground previously.

So the point here now is to make clear to new industry readers, investors wondering why a stock isn’t performing as it could be, outside researchers, legal, and public officials looking into MHVille seeking to grasp the facts that have caused obvious patterns to be obscured by others –including, but not limited to, the industry’s trade media.

 

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Be Skeptical, Question and Test

It’s entirely logical to test the accuracy of the reports and analysis here on MHProNews and MHLivingNews. It is logical to likewise test the writing and publishing of others in this same news and commentary space, to see how consistent each sources may be, or what evidence is offered by said sources beyond mere words.

GeorgeAllenPhotoPamDannerPhotoEducateMHCMobileHomeCommunityInvestorManufacturedHomeProfessionalNewsUnlike Allen’s railing – as was cited above – about “…making crass and obtuse claims of national advocacy conspiracy, corporate antitrust imaginations, and disgusting personal attacks…” we’ve provided on MHLivingNews and MHProNews the documents and direct quotes from the sources involved.

Besides, Allen himself said similarly – as this report makes clear – only he’s not been consistent about it.

Allen uses the old debaters’ tricks of red herrings, commits the ad hominin attack fallacy, and demonstrably accuses others of what he does himself. It’s the classic definition of a hypocrite.

 

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When we’ve given documented opportunities to Allen to publicly debate the issues we claim.  Bring on the supporting evidence as to what are the factors hindering manufactured housing industry’s growth, during an affordable housing crisis.

Other than MHARR and our trade media, who today in MHVille have offered a cogent explanation for the why and how the explains the cause of over 15 years of manufactured housing as an industry’s underperformance?

That underperformance in turn cost taxpayers, homeowners, and independent businesses collectively billions, at each turn.  Some of those independent businesses are the smaller community owners that Allen and his allies claim to care about.

That public debate offer with George Allen is one he’s routinely ducked out on. Thus, noting his roar like the lion in Wizard of Oz – but his failure to back up that roar – he’s arguably earned the mantle of that fictional character. It should be noted, Cowardly Lion finally got his courage, and did the right things.

We hope and pray Allen will do the same. Because Allen, in fairness and accuracy, has at times – albeit inconsistently – argued similar claims to those we, MHARR or others in MHVille seeking to maintain a lower profile have raised. Let’s note that some of those MHI sources, unhappy with what the Arlington trade group is apparently doing, have said they would testify to federal investigators about what they know.

Let’s return to one of those flashes from the past of apparent candor from Allen about the problem of monopoly power.

GeorgeAllenCommunityInvestorBlogMHMPostedMastheadBlogManufacturedHousingIndustryCommentaryNewsMHProNews-133x150a

George Allen, photo credit, MHProNews.com.

Hopefully you already realize we live and work in turbulent times, where the national economy and our industry’s business model are concerned. But have YOU stopped and considered the lasting effects horizontal (consolidation) and vertical integration have had, and continue to have, on our industry and realty asset class?

If you’re one of those who believe the MHIndustry needs a new, independent national trade association to protect and advance the business interests and concerns of the post production sector of manufactured housing, you’ll want to read this week’s blog posting from beginning to end. Because there is indeed a third such party ‘waiting in the wings’ for the timing and leadership to be right and effective from the word ‘Go’!

  • In short order, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers plummeted from more than 14,000 to fewer than 4,000.”

After listing some of the extensive holdings of Buffett led Berkshire in manufactured housing, Allen says:

Now, here’s the proverbial ‘rub’. With quiet but increasing frequency we read of conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over (if not already ‘taken over’) the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry.”

Assuming truth and legitimacy of these claims of ‘conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry’, what’re the solutions? In the same op/ed piece in THE JOURNAL, the writer makes this case for a new independent national trade association to represent the post production sector of manufactured housing:

  • “…to monitor issues in the nation’s capitol, mobilize for effective action, and fight for their interests and issues, rather than the few industry-dominant lenders and the corporate conglomerates that stand behind them.” And until that happens, the writer opines, our shipments of new HUD-Code homes will continue to languish well below 100,000 units per year.

So, where’s this new independent national trade association going to come from? Surely not the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) with its’ 80+ percent national member market share of new HUD-Code manufactured housing distribution; nor, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and its’ regional housing manufacturing firms.”

Allen on that occasion from his blog dated 21 August, 2016 proposed himself  and his now defunct COBA7 as the industry’s solution and savior.  It is as if he set out to prove the point noted above from that former client of his that said, “With George, it’s always AAA – All About Allen.”

But sadly, one must ask, is Allen a white hat in MHVille, or a black hat?

 

White Hats, Black Hats…

 

 

TomLackeySECO2018-06-06_1742PlanningCommitteeSECODailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Allenites – those who uncritically follow him – turn a blind eye to problems like his ‘education’ on lease-purchase, or contract for title, which an industry attorney has called ‘illegal’ in the Dodd-Frank era, and which the NY State Attorney General’s office punished dozens of manufactured home communities for practicing. Hasn’t Allen condemned the kind of problematic negative news headline causing issues that his buddy Tom Lackey is accused of running? If so, why didn’t Allen called Lackey out, and asked for his ouster from SECO’s board? See the Chattanooga Times Free Press report, which notably cited MHProNews in part of its coverage. Note the circle.  MHVillage – which is a sister firm to MHInsider, which has Allen as a writer.  MHInsider’s parent company is part of MHI.

Allen failed to mention at all then that Dick Moore/Bob Crawford had launched a third party effort dubbed the MHIDEA, which MHProNews reported years before this specific 8-21-2016 musing by Allen.

While the effort never garnered the traction its concept merited, MHIDEA – short for the Manufactured Housing Independent DEaler Alliance – was launched in 2008, even before the full effects of Buffett’s Moat became clear.

 

UnderstandingWarrenBuffettCastleMoatMetaphorsQuotesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached.

 

MHProNews reviewed MHIDEA’s otherwise insightful notions in depth in a report, linked below.

 

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

 

During the 2010 timeframe, MHProNews reported on the MHIDEA efforts. Hindsight can be 2020. Had MHIDEA been better supported – by us and others – would the industry’s current issues be as severe as they are now?

By contrast, MHARR covered these issues to various degrees, and in a consistent fashion.  It must be noted that several of Allen’s references to concerns over monopolization were oblique references to claims and allegations made by MHARR.  They have been by far the most consistent in the industry on the topics that they’ve engaged upon.

Once more, it must be noted that MHI avoids these controversies, as reflected by using the site-search tool on their website.  If they suddenly, after weeks and months of such reports suddenly popped information that mentions these issues onto their platform, that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve avoided it for some years.

 

 

Summing Up

This current and historic survey revealed the following.

  • MHARR has consistently called out the problems of market monopolization, proposed solutions, and has done so for a period of years. It should be noted that the MHARR website is relatively new, so one would have to go to MHProNews’ MHARR module, or specific MHARR monthly articles to see the years of consistency in their reports and analysis.

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

  • MHIDEA – while effectively dormant at this time – raised these concerns over a decade ago.
  • NAMHCO – which does not yet have a website – is still young, but has made it clear that they felt that MHI was ineffective and not advancing the interests of their members, which is why they said they broke from MHI in 2017.
  • MHI has nothing on several potentially positive items for the industry, ignored publishing Secretary Carson’s fine speech, and has nothing on these controversies.
  • MHInsider – essentially parrots the MHI stance, as have most if not all of the lesser known trade bloggers and publishers.
  • Blogger George Allen has flip-flopped, apparently based on if he’s getting benefits from MHI or not. But what’s clear is that Allen on several occasions raised the issue of monopoly, consolidation, and ‘oligarchy.’  More recently, Allen has attacked MHARR, and MHProNews for making arguments similar to those he himself previously advanced.  Allen does not bother to explain his contradictions, which can demonstrably occur within the same blog post.
  • MHProNews raised the issues years ago, in reporting on the MHIDEA and MHARR reports. But frankly, this writer – and our LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC family of publications – were not convinced initially. We reported what others said, but did not strongly advocate on the issues of monopoly, consolidation, marketing rigging, and the need for legal and federal action.
  • As I’ve said previously, per the SPJ standards of journalism ethics that call for clearly stating errors or omissions once noted, it took years of evidence, documents, news tips, and commentary by others until the scope and chutzpah of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis was fully grasped in more recent years.
  • Oddly, some of Allen’s and MHI’s circle and readers have been among those who’ve for some time explained why they thought market manipulation was underway. They explained Allen’s role – or lack thereof – in masking or exposing it at various times.
  • It should also be noted that MHInsider publisher Darren Krolewski himself praised this publication and writer for taking on the tough issues. He was among those that informed us of what was underway, where MHI was allegedly undermining our pro-industry growth work, even as we were dues paying members of that association.

 

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Krolewski is now co-president of MHVillage, and the publisher of MHInsider. He now arguably avoids the difficult topics he once praised us for tackling on MHProNews.

 

Allen could perhaps go back and purge his site, if he was incentivized to do so. But we already have the screen captures, so why bother?

While he loves to charge that we misquote or do something ‘out of context,’ he’s not once provided evidence of that claim. In fact, as noted, when invited to debate or prove his case in a third-party moderated forum, publicly in front of an industry audience, and on video so others could witness it later, he’s always declined that offer.

The allegations and concerns raised in this report clearly tie directly into the issue of what we’ve dubbed  the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis.

Namely, that leaders at Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), Joe Stegmayer (MHI Chair), MHI salaried staff, and their inside and/or outside attorneys have repeatedly been invited to discuss and debate these concerns publicly.  Such offers to those leaders have been documented. The offer was to do hold such a discussion/debate in front of a live manufactured home industry professional audience.  That means that those who understand and/or are the most impacted by the issues to be discussed would be in attendance. A third-party moderator, plus video recording so others could see it all later, were part of the offer.

The powers that be in MHVille have declined every time. It’s their right to remain silent.  But that means that the allegations against them stand unrefuted.  One might ask, why they haven’t sued us – with or without just cause – as they’ve threatened in writing several times to do?  Is it perhaps because their leaders have praised us often, and for years, and that would come up in any legal proceedings?  How could they possibly explain it all away with a straight face?

 

TimWilliamsToRephraseMHITonyBothCorrectThereisNoDaylight21stMortgageCorpMHIChairmmanufacturedHousingProNews

 

What the axis apparently did instead was reembraced Allen, who was persona non grata after their purported backstab of Allen only a few years ago. Allen was apparently re-engaged and rewarded precisely, to be used as a purported surrogate and as an attack dog against MHARR, MHProNews, and this writer.  Given that they can’t or won’t defend their actions, they’ve turned to the smear tactics instead. Allen and company do what they allege we do, interesting ploy, isn’t it?

SnearMudThrowingTacticsUsedWorkToDuckDodgeDebatePixabayMastheadCommentaryMHPronews

 

Last week, an MHI member named Andy Gedo began to enter into a question/answer with this writer about an article posted on LinkedIn.  That posted article spotlighted how Kevin Clayton, in a recent video interview with CNBC, did not deny that Berkshire monopolization of not only manufactured housing, but the broader housing market, was underway. Gedo initially questioned, but gave up on, defending Clayton against that claim. The Gedo discussion with this writer in its entirety is linked below.

 

Andy Gedo, Partner at ManageAmerica, Raises Clayton Homes Monopolistic Practices Debate; Manufactured Housing Institute Related Issues

 

While these incidents, Berkshire Hathaway documents and direct quotes in context linked here or other concerns are not proof in an absolute or legal sense, it is enough to cause more federal regulators, public officials, candidates, media/researchers to sharpen their scrutiny.  That’s frankly part of the reason to do such summary articles, which then link evidence and examples.

The reason we say ‘more’ is because there are already – beyond MHARR, NAMHCO, MHIDEA, MHProNews, and MHLivingNews – non-industry sources that have spotlighted some of these same concerns.  Some of those are linked below.

 

  The New York Times had an interesting article on the historic trends, and named several industries being monopolized.

  The Atlantic, without specifying how the monopolization was being accomplished, noted that the independent retailers in manufactured housing were being rapidly eliminated/consolidated, that report is linked here.

  GuruFocus said “Warren Buffett Can’t Escape Unethical Strategic Moats,” their specific points are linked here.

  The Nation called it “The Dirty Secret Behind Warren Buffett’s Billions…” and specifies Clayton Homes among those using the strategic moat in ‘dirty’ ways.

  The Jacksonville Florida Times Union summarized the connection between the John Oliver viral hit video dubbed “Mobile Homes,” MHI, Clayton Homes, and their related lenders. That op-ed was first fact-checked by an editor, before it was published not only in the one newspaper it was submitted, but at least in 5 Florida newspapers.

But what those other sources may lack are specific examples of documents and video that were not yet published, until the trade media our LLC deploys covered them.

 

SmokingGunEvidenceOfAntiTrustMonopolisticCollusionMoatClaytonHomesKevinClayton21stMortgageTimWilliamsWarrenBuffettMHLivingNewsMHProNews

In a series of direct quotes in context, a document from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation. Why hasn’t Allen told his readers how that cost them money? https://www.manufacturedhomelivingnews.com/bridging-gap-affordable-housing-solution-yields-higher-pay-more-wealth-but-corrupt-rigged-billionaires-moat-is-barrier/

 

What this summary does is reveal to industry readers and to outsiders looking in that there is substantial evidence of monopolization, consolidation, and examples of potential violations of antitrust laws at play in manufactured housing that date back about a decade or more. That’s almost roughly the same timeframe that Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, and began the slow ‘strategic moat’ and other related conquest techniques of the manufactured housing industry.

No one with common sense can believe that Buffett, Berkshire, and their billions could somehow have failed to grow manufactured housing to over 500,000 or more shipments a year.  MHI’s president himself said that was doable.

 

MHI CEO Dick Jennison’s Pledge – 500,000 New Manufactured Home Shipments

 

Which leads thoughtful readers and researchers with the vexing concerns that manufactured housing has been de facto sabotaged, largely from within.

 

 

That’s why the industry is the ‘best kept secret’ in affordable housing, as Terry Decio from Skyline Homes lamented on camera.

TerryDecioSkylineChampionHomesPhotoQuoteImTiredofManufacturedHousingbeingBestKeptSecretReadyHelpHouseAmericaDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

That’s arguably why Secretary Carson’s full address isn’t found on MHInsider, or at all on MHI’s website.  Carson made it clear he wants to promote the manufactured housing solution, and end the secrecy that hangs over the industry.

Alan Amy is one of the many quiet, thoughtful voices that helped advise this writer as to what was occurring, and why. Manufactured housing is the housing of the future, not just the past, said Amy.  The big boys are consolidating the industry at a discount now, knowing that they can reap billions in annual earnings once they’ve completed their conquest of the industry, and a friendly administration to their interests takes over in Washington, D.C.

 

DearTonySoheylaNoGreaterResourceSpeakstoIssuesOpportunitiesWeFaceAsIndependentRetailersGusRodriguezTejasHomesTX

Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies, and opportunities.  From independents like Gus, to the largest players in the industry, and thousands in between, this is the most read source in the industry, because we tackle the issues most avoid – all in search of getting manufactured housing to achieve its true potential.

ManufacturedHomeMHShipments1990-2017DailybusinessNewsManufacturedHousingMHProNews600

Note the trend line. This is from an MHI member firm’s investor relations package.  They point to the industry underperforming, but they refer to it as the upside potential for growth. Manufactured housing is underperforming. Note the difference between RVs 20 years ago, and MH 20 years ago. No one else has advanced a thesis as logical and compelling. To date, Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington have not even attempted to refute the claims. Will they today?

The puzzle pieces fit, which is what Occam’s Razor calls for in its test of reason.  Otherwise, observers are to believe that Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, and MHI staff are all incompetent?  That they don’t know how to grow this industry that used to produce hundreds of thousands of homes per year?  That they can’t achieve growth during an affordable housing crisis? That’s absurd.

Once more, the powers that be are invited to refute or explain away these concerns and allegations. Or they can keep using diversionary tactics, while the industry’s shipments have shrunk for 7 months, during an affordable housing crisis?  Absurd. Preposterous.  Impossible to believe, unless the powers that be want it to be so.

And on that note, let’s call it a morning, as the sky suggests that the dawn will soon break.  We pray that dawn will be a sign for this once far greater industry that a new day is coming.  But like the founders and generations before us, freedom won’t be free. It will only come from a struggle.  That struggle begins with understanding the issues, which hopefully this report, fact-check, and analysis has helped shed fresh light upon.

It is long past time to break up the monopolists, using existing federal and state laws.  As Secretary Carson said about a different topic last night on Tucker Carlson’s show, “enforce the law.”

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

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHProNews.com.

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

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Fact Check, Darren Krolewski, MHInsider Claim on 2019 Louisville Show Attendance

March 25th, 2019 Comments off

 

FactCheckDarrenKrolewskiMHInsiderClaim2019LouisvilleShowAttendenceMHProNews

Darren Krolewski, Co-President at MHVillage and publisher of their MHInsider magazine made another bold claim in their most recent issue.  As regular and close readers of MHProNews fact-checks may recall, a problematic claim was made in their prior issue too, and no known correction of that factual error took place.

 

In that prior instance, they made an outrageously high claim for the number of new home sales that claimed were being made by a Clayton Homes retail center.  Even MHProNews sources with Clayton denied the accuracy of the overblown MHInsider reported statistics.

In this fact-check instance, Krolewski personally said that in 2019, they had the biggest attendance of any Louisville Show in the 60-year history of the event.

Seriously?

DarrenKrowleksiPage5MarApr2019MHInsiderLogoFalseClaimMHVillegeLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

First, common-sense alone tells an informed manufactured home industry reader or investor that when this segment of the factory-built home industry is at only about 75% under its last peak in 1998, that outrageous claim on its face doesn’t make much sense.  There were thousands of more retailers years ago, not to mention more communities, suppliers, producers, lenders and so on.

 

ManufacturedHomesAsPercentageofSinglefamilyHousingStartsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsSkylineChampionSKY780x943

 

Second, the industry today is doing only about 20 percent of what it produced in the early 1970s. See the shipment graphic, provided by another Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member, Skyline-Champion (SKY).

Third, Danny Ghorbani used to run the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show as a vice president for the Manufactured Housing Institute in the 1970s. When asked by MHProNews about the attendance, he said the show drew roughly 10,000 attendees a year back in the day.  That would be several times higher than the 2019 turnout.  Ghorbani stressed that the show was a national event then, and is only a regional show now.

Keep in mind as well that the number of new home display units in Louisville declined in 2019, a fact they show management, MHVillage, and MHI can’t hide.  At its peak, by contrast, the Louisville Show used to have over 150 or more factory-built homes on display.  That’s several times bigger than what the show has been in recent years.  Homes used to occupy several show halls. This year, exhibitor space and display unit totals both decline.  Is MHVillage/MHInsider giving cover to MHI for troubling signs ahead?

DannyGhorbaniFormerMHIVpQuoteFoundingMHARRPresidentQuoteDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

What Does This Obvious Error by MHVillage/MHInsider Means?

At a minimum, this is another example of either an obvious error that a manufactured home industry knowledgeable editor should catch, or perhaps is an example of a deliberately false or “fake news” claim.  The problem is this is a pattern of repeated errors, not a one-off.  See another recent example from MHInsider below. But why would they be making obviously mistaken or fake claims?

 

PatrickRevereRetailersSeeHighDemandMHinsiderLogoMHVillageLogoDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsFactCheck

 

Legacy Housing monitored their results of their most recent promotion.  Casey Mack, made the following statement. Additional details are found here and here, or further below.  Rephrased, part of this might be puffery on the part of MHVillage/MHInsider.  They may be posturing for the sake of advertisers.   But beyond that, this purported pattern of “fake news” all seems to point in one direction.  Namely, to make the readers of such false information believe that times are better than they actually are.  The industry in numerous markets is in months of decline, not growth.  Where is there such an admission by Krolewski, MHInsider, or MHI?

CaseyMackTonySoheylaMHProNewsTeamFirstCallDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

While several speculative notions could be floated as to why this occurs, one point is clear.  MHInsider repeatedly themselves makes or publish the claims of others that appear exaggerated on their face or are perhaps deliberately misleading.  Either way, it is part of an ongoing pattern that pro-Manufactured Housing Institute MHInsider has exhibited for some time.

For just one example of a growing industry crisis, where are their reports on problems like the one reported in MHVille only by MHProNews, in the hot-linked text-image box below?

 

Urgency Grows, Another City Prepares Ban on Manufactured Homes

 

These are the issues that cause manufactured home retailers real or metaphorical heartburn. Why doesn’t MHInsider, MHR, or other industry publishers aligned with MHI cover these same concerns?

 

Mobile Home Militia – “Clayton [Homes] Wants Your Cornbread Too” “Join the Revolution” – ‘You Gotta Have Swagger’

 

Wittingly or not, these articles by MHInsider are akin to purported propaganda techniques being used by MHI, their surrogates, and select MHI members While the industry is routinely being buffeted by several problematic issues, MHInsider routinely makes it seem that all is sunshine and roses, forgetting that the later always has thorns.

 

MHI’s Growth Agenda? Rick Robinson, JD, SVP Manufactured Housing Institute, Preemption Evidence, Writ of Mandamus, and Addressing HUD Code Manufactured Home Shipment Woes

 

DarrenKrolewskiPraisingMHProNewsDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Darren and others at MHI praised the fact checks and ‘thankless‘ pro-growth work based upon reality, not falsehoods.

 

The Daily Business News on MHProNews believes in accuracy.  While anyone – including us – can get typos or such accidental mistakes, factual errors beg for correction. Where is MHInsider’s mature admission of such mistakes?

 

As Affordable Housing Crisis Rages, New HUD Code Manufactured Housing Shipments Fall, Some States Drop 35-40 Percent

 

Fake news or false hype are apparently aimed to make manufactured home industry pros and independents think things are better than they are.  MHInsider, MHI, or MHR each provide examples that sadly don’t help manufactured home pros recover from the very real challenges faced in zoning, financing, public acceptance, and the like.  These are issues that MHProNews, MHARR, NAMHCO, and others will be exploring at Tunica Thursday March 28 at 12:15 PM.  We’ve documented the problems for some years, now it is time for industry professionals to organize and take the steps towards cures.

 

2019TunicaManufacturedHousingShowDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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See the related reports below the byline for more on the special Tunica Show event.  RSVP and sign up for our industry leading emailed headline news that sources say Krolewski, George Allen, and Ken Rishel – all MHInsider writers – among others read closely, per their confidants.

 

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Gus’ message came in response to a series of exposes on issues within manufactured housing, as well as tips, strategies and opportunities.

 

That’s  from manufactured housing most read and most trusted “Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use,” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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

July 13th, 2018 Comments off
Friday13thMobileHomesFiresTornadoMagnetsandthe2020U.S.CensusManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHpronews

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ProperDefinitionsMobileHomeManufacturedHomeOrTrailerHOuseCivirlRightsPublicPolicy&ValuesIssuesSunshineHomesDailyBusinessNewsMHproNews550x315

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

 

The Common Denominators, Root Issues?

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The solution is good information and media engagement.

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

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

 

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Related Reports:

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

 

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MHVillage Confirms Data, and Michigan Operational Slide Revealed

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

MHVillageLogoConfirmsDataMichiganManufacturedHousingAssocLogoShipmentSalesSlideRevealedDailyBusinessNewsMHProHNews550

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

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

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

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

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

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

Specifically, using MHV published 2017 data,

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

2018-06-22_0521ConversionRatiosPerMHVillageLogoManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

 

More Woes? Michigan Data Reveals Shipment Slide

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

2018-06-22_0704MichiganManufacturedHousingAssociationLogoDataShipmentsAparil2017vsApril2018DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

While Manufactured Housing Overall Rises, Some Slip Sliding Away

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

2018-06-22_0504MHVillageTrafficDataAlexaManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNEwsMHProNews600

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

BobCrawfordFrankRolfeManufacturedHousingIndustryProfessionalNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

That being so, where are their measurable results?

2018-06-22_0518EngagementofSiteVistorsMHVillageManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews600

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

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

And all of this from the publisher of the MHInsider?

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

donaldtrumpnominatesbencarsonashousingsecretarycreditmhpronews2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Kurt Kelley. Credit: MHProNews.

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

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

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

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

WhereAreYouHeadingThisSummerHowManufacturedHomeLivingCanImproveYourLifestyleMHLivingNews

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

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

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

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

CriticismMayNotBeAgreeableButItIsNecessaryItFulfillsSameFuncationAsPainInHumanBodyItCallsAttentiontoUnhealthyStateofThingsWinstonChurchillMHProNews

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

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

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

MobileHomeShipmentsManufacturedHomeShipmentChartMHIAShipmentsMHIndustryChampionSkylineHUDCodeDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Reports:

Only 3 Options – the Elephant in the Room

 

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

Frank Rolfe Blasts MHI for Poor Media Engagement, Industry Reactions

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The Apprentice – Proper Understanding, Planning, and Execution – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales Meeting

April 30th, 2018 Comments off
TheApprenticeProperUnderstandingPlanningExecutionMondayMorningManufacturedHousingMarketingSalesMeeting

Do you want the welder with one class worth of experience, or do you want the welder trained under and expert, and who’s been an apprentice for several months, or a year?  Doesn’t more training produce better work and results?

Let’s summarize what clear data (facts), Frank Rolfe, and MHVillage’s Darren Krolewski statements should be informing all manufactured housing professionals, owners and investors.

 

Modern manufactured homes are widely misunderstood. If this weren’t true, you’d be selling many times more manufactured homes at your location(s) than is currently true.

That summary is an important element to understanding how to grow sales in your local market. For the details per Frank, Darren and the relevant data, click here.

Because the problem – ignorance, prejudice, bias, NIMBY, and misunderstanding are well known – the highly profitable solution becomes clear. It’s simple, yet profound.

The solution is market-based, local-level educational efforts. 

Education must be on two levels. Professional education, plus the education of the public including  opinion influencers. 

Well qualified home buyers, which routinely describes those buying conventional housing, shop for weeks or months (sometimes, years) before making a decision.  They may only call, message, or come out to look after they’ve been doing their homework online or doing drive-by-looks for weeks or months. That means your online strategy must account for that reality. 

For the personal engagement with consumers, if you handle them professionally, they may make what seems to be rapid decision. But remember – in fact, they’ve been shopping for quite some time.  If they come to you, that often means you have to screw up to not sell them. 

So don’t screw up.

Every location that wants to grow sustainably needs one or more apprentices. 

The investment in the correct online, video, and sales coaching/training is tiny compared to the ROI.  It’s common sense.  It’s honorable and ethical, and thus sustainable. Once understood, its less stress than many current sales models. To learn more, click or call.  To see the relevant data and comments from Frank, and Darren, click the link below. ## (Marketing, research, educational, data, analysis and commentary.) 

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Related Reports:

RVHorizon/MHP Funds Investing/Mobile Home Univ Communities Leader, Frank Rolfe’s Hidden Gem

 

 

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

April 7th, 2018 Comments off
RedmondNewMoonTrailerHouseMobileHomeLucyDesiLongLongTrailerMovieStillTailreHouseTraumaDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryRedmondNewMoonTrailerHouseMobileHomeLucyDesiLongLongTrailerMovieStillTailreHouseTraumaDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsMHProNews

A Redmond New Moon mobile home, which today would be part of Champion Homes. Still from the movie, “The Long, Long Trailer.” see clips of the video, below.

Misunderstood.

 

Perhaps no other industry which has a product that boasts 22 million daily users is as misunderstood as the Manufactured Housing Industry in 21st Century America.

DarrenKrolowskiDataCompJLTAssocMHVillageEVPCreditDataComp.

Darren Krolewski, MHV.

At the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show, Darren Krolewski exemplified the problem, when he told attendees that they can ask some adult about a “manufactured home,” and they often have “no clue what that means.”

Krolewski is not alone in that experience.

Part of that misunderstanding can be captured in the irony – the tragedies – illuminated in the routine misuse by media or others of the words, “trailer house,” and “trailer park.”

For millions, those words are synonymous with “trailer trash.” Not many want to be thought of as trailer trash, one of the last acceptable put-downs of the 21st Century. After interviewing many, often on video, it is clearly an emotional trauma for them.

When tens of millions of potential buyers don’t understand the manufactured home product, of course it’s acceptance as a mainstream form of housing is compromised.

There are opportunities that can arise from that understanding. But to tap them, one must take a fresh look, and begin by clearly grasping the cause before the cure can be understood, or applied.

MHVille’s “Trailer House Trauma” is not the only explanation why so relatively few manufactured homes are being sold today, but it is one of them.

 

Lucy and Desi – Flashback to When a Trailer House Was Classy and Cool

If you’ve ever watched the Lucy and Desi comedy movie, “The Long, Long Trailer” then you realize that when you flashback in time to the early 1950s when that film was produced, it was often upscale people who bought a mobile home or ‘trailer house.’

 

 

The reason it was called a ‘trailer’ is because it could be pulled behind many a car, or pickup, as is often demonstrated in the movie.

Note in the chart below how high the sales levels of mobile homes were in the 1950s through the early 1970s?

Image and understanding aren’t everything, but they are a key part of acceptance.

So, “The Long, Long Trailer movie certainly didn’t hurt the sales of mobile homes.

 

Fast Forward to the 1990s.

Now, hop in your De Lorean, and flash-forward from the 1950s to the 1990s.

The manufactured housing industry was hitting its most recent peak. Several problematic challenges were in motion, including poorly underwritten manufactured home chattel loans. 2 decades later, that’s another problem that still haunts the industry with Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Wall Street.

But why?

There was a bigger bloodbath in conventional housing’s varied meltdowns, the most recent and memorable one being the bubble that burst in 2008. Conventional and other lending came back for mainstream homes, why not for manufactured homes?

Part of the reason the Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing, rural, and undeserved markets was passed by Congress in 2008 was precisely the “poor paper” image that manufactured home chattel loans unfairly represented. Some independents in the industry realized that they needed Congress to act, to force federally chartered Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) lenders to support America’s most unsubsidized form of affordable home ownership.

After all, isn’t it discriminatory to robustly support mainstream housing, and not give equal opportunity for supporting manufactured homes?

But another issue for manufactured housing in the 1990s was the brewing “image issue.”

It was exacerbated when President Bill Clinton’s advisor James Carville, as a red herring on that administration’s simmering sex scandals, quipped “Drag a $100 bill through a trailer park, you never know what you will find.”

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

That comment by Carville went viral.

It’s haunted the industry ever since. In hindsight, one might ask, why didn’t the industry respond?

Carville’s calculated comment was a clearly bigoted, prejudicial statement that targeted the millions of Americans living in pre-HUD Code mobile homes and post-code manufactured homes (MH) — and by extension — the industry that serves them.  Not addressing the slander was arguably a mistake.

In the 1990s, the RV Industry – which began to separate from the MH industry during the mobile home (MH) era – launched and sustained since then their “Go RVing” image campaign. The manufactured housing (MH) tested marketing campaigns at times and regions, like ones done in California, or the Pacific Northwest. But those efforts were not sustained. Nor was there ever a coordinated, national MH campaign in the days when the industry’s producers were flush with cash.

So, the RV production chart reflects the fact that towable and motorized recreational vehicles (RVs) outsell manufactured homes today by more than 5 to 1. Yet RVs cost far more per square foot than even the higher priced manufactured homes. RVs are for most a luxury item, with many RVs not necessarily used for full-time living.  To rephrase, the Go RVing campaign has worked.

But that doesn’t imply that the same would work for manufactured housing.  That said, doing nothing is also not acceptable.

RVIARVBusinessManufacturedHousingIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

RVs are but one reminder than manufactured housing (MH) is nowhere near its potential.

 

 

Me Too?” Cures and Opportunities Begin with Understanding

CallKenCorbin10000ManufacturedHomeRetailerDealerDropDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNews

The above is a collage of some images from Ken Corbin’s presentation at the manufactured housing industry’s 5 State Event in Deadwood, SD. There’s been over 10,000 retailers lost since the 1990s, said Corbin. That’s “the 10,000 drop.” Graphic by Corbin used with permission.

Former Clayton manager and retailer, Ken Corbin told MH professionals in Tunica, “don’t be a me too” seller in the manufactured home industry. To be more successful than others, one must stand out from the crowd.

Ken’s correct on not being a “me too” point — if greater success is the goal — then Ken’s point is true.

But more than that, one must first understand the causes of what’s kept manufactured housing rising since 2009, but still at historically low levels. It’s common sense that the cure comes after a proper diagnosis and treatment. 

This article looks at measurable data points and troubling facts that almost no one in the industry today mentions, much less addresses.

The “Trailer House Trauma” is far from the only challenge, but it is a real one.  Those willing to stand out from the pack are those who are willing to do the research or hire the talent needed to gain a similar understanding that successful investors like Warren Buffett have routinely done.

Give the man his due, Buffett does his home work.  He says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day.

What’s Next?

This is part one of a periodic series on the true state of the manufactured housing industry after the first quarter of 2018.

Some related data points and reports are found linked after the Related Reports header, further below.

TrailerHouseMobileHomeManufacturedHomeFactoryBuiltHousingEvolution101MHProNews-MHLivingNews

Trailers could be pulled by a properly equipped car or pickup truck. Mobile homes became heavier, wider, and long enough to require special equipment and a trained driver. Manufactured housing is routinely far heavier still, wider, and moving them properly takes heavy equipment and a skilled driver.

As a closing note for today, while being “misunderstood” and the “Trailer House Trauma” is a problem, but it’s also an opportunity in disguise for potentially hundreds of industry companies of all sizes.

Manufacturers, retailers, communities, lenders, vendors and other service providers are all able to benefit from the proper localized, targeted marketing and customer engagement approaches.  Those methods must be based upon reality, as opposed to wishful thinking.  They must be sustainable, or else they will fail.

Hundreds of thousands of affordable homes are needed every year in the U.S. What other sector of the multi-trillion-dollar housing industry has so much upside potential?  Can you name any?

“Starting” Dip in Home Sales, New Crisis Says Housing Experts

 

RV and National Association of Realtors (NAR) data are clear indicators that with the proper capital, planning, team, motivation, and execution, manufactured housing industry professionals can turn their own image around on a localized basis.  RV dealers and real estate firms invest in their success.  Half a million RVs in 2017, plus over 5 million resale housing units for the NAR in 2017 are proof that it pays off.

 

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Sadly, very few understand the connection between understanding the challenges, which can then lead to profitable solutions.  But that too is an opportunity in disguise, for those who reject being another ‘me too,’ and embrace the notion that success requires thoughtful change.

Case studies our consulting operation has done with those who put in the effort and resources have seen solid, positive results. To learn more, note the second related report, linked below. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

“Move, Open, Live” De Rose Industries & Senator Thom Tillis’ Mobile Home Comments

Understand, Plan, and Execute – Monday Morning Sales Meeting

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Consulting, Marketing, Video, Recruiting, and Training Resources

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By L.A. “Tony” Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach

 

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Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates. You’ll see in the first issue or two why big, medium and ‘mom-and-pop’ professionals are reading these headline news items by the thousands. These are typically delivered twice weekly to your in box.

Power of Pushback, Spotlighting – “Controversial” Modular Home Placement Reversed

October 19th, 2017 Comments off

PushbackDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe latest twist in the story of a modular home that was going to be forced out of a development took an interesting turn.  To understand the issue, Daily Business News readers will recall the factory-built housing industry’s most complete report, linked here.

What looked like a sad win for NIMBYism, against seemingly any form of off-site home building, has taken a positive turn for the builder and home buyer involved.

How did that happen?

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A Local Letter to the Editor…

A recent letter to the editor of MLivethat latter of which was the primary media source on this controversy – begins, “How sad that the residents of Allendale Township are so resistant to something different that they would belly-ache about a resident having his home built of modular construction.”

Whether they know it or not, a modular home is ‘stick-built’ just as much as the homes they now live in. The only difference is that they were built under the roof of a factory, on a flat surface, where it didn’t get rained or snowed on, and with no wind storms that could rip Tyvek off the exterior walls and shingles off the roof,” wrote Carl De Vries, of nearby Jenison, MI.

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The term ‘modular home’ cannot be confused with the term ‘manufactured homes.’…” Vries stated, ending by chiding the NIMBY-minded locals with, “C’mon Allendale, join the modern age.”

The Rest of the Story…

Sherry Kuyt recaps MLive’s account of the events.  Bullets below were added by MHProNews, but the text is that of Kuyt.

  • On Sept. 19, Curtis Moran put upSherryKuytMLiveDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews a 1,387-square-foot three-bedroom modular home at 5367 Crestfield Lane in the Springfields III development.
  • About a week later, Moran was told by the developer, Merwyn Koster, that the home would have to be removed after complaints by neighbors and other builders.
  • But on Oct. 16, Moran announced that his negotiations with the developer had proved successful.

Describing the reversal, Kuyt states, “It is going to stay,” Moran said. “It is set in stone; everything’s signed off.”

He did not explain why the developer changed his mind, and said he did not pay any settlement money to Koster. Koster could not be reached for comment,” MLive’s account stated.

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What the above reflects is that the letter to the editor was published the same day as the published announcement was made.  That makes it unlikely to have influenced the discussion.

But this reversal happened to take place just days after MHProNews published its in-depth look at this issue. It must be noted that other housing industry sources had also spotlighted this issue, and no doubt the parties involved were also in talks.

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The factory-built home, as many industry professionals observed, is residential in appearance and set over a basement, yet the neighbors pushed back.  The original story, linked here, has been reversed within just days of the report being published.

Did spotlighting and push-back have an influence?  At this time, a definitive answer is unknown.

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William Bill Sheffer, Darren Krolewski, Tom Hardeman were among the professionals who sounded off, on the record, on this modular controversy. Within days, the locals changed their decision. Other media also pointed out this same story. Did the array of pushback influence the local decision? See original story, linked here.

What seems obvious is this. “If nothing is challenged, then nothing changes.” – L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Several factory built housing industry members provided feedback that made the MHProNews article possible – are hereby applauded, and are always valued.

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

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

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DataComp, JLT Associates Announces New Manufactured Home Market Reports

June 7th, 2017 Comments off

DataCompJLTReleaseNewManufacturedHomeCommunitiesMarketReportMobileManufacturedHomeIndustryDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsDarren Krolewski, Executive Vice President at DataComp/JLT Associates tells MHProNews that they’ve released their most recent market reports.

The 2017 reports cover several states; to see those covered and their release, please click the link here.

About JLT Reports

JLT Market Reports was founded by John Turzer in 1995, and is viewed by many as the industry standard for market and rent survey research in the Manufactured Home Community Industry.

In 2014, JLT & Associates merged its resources with DataComp and MHVillage.

JLT is now headquartered, along with it’s sister operations, at 2600 5 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525.

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Office location of DataComp, JLT Assoc, and MHVillage, per Google maps, street view. Posted Daily Business News on MHProNews under fair use guidelines.

DataComp/JLT has provided an example of some of their summary data – in the case below, for the 2016 Michigan market, see that sample below.

Sample MI Market Report Findings and Observations

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An example of what a JLT Assoc bound market report looks like, this is available electronically too. Image credits are as shown.

The 2016 sample report for Michigan communities says that occupancy of All Ages Communities shows significant increases for the second consecutive year.

This occurred after an extended period of previous decline. Occupancy rates among Michigan “All Ages” manufactured home communities stabilized in 2014 and began trending upward significantly for the first time in 2015.

That positive trend continued into 2016, as All Ages Communities recorded the highest occupancy rates since 2008, and the largest occupancy increases in recent history.

As regular Daily Business News readers know, much of that has been driven by larger portfolio operations, which are buying rental units.  See a report, shown in the screen capture below and linked here.

Darren Krolewski, Executive Vice President at DataComp/JLT Associates

Credits, MHC-MD.com and the Daily Business News on MHProNews.com.

As of February 2016, the average occupancy rate for Michigan All Ages manufactured home communities was 77%, a 2.7% increase over 2015.

JLT called that “reflective of the strong demand for the affordable housing within the Michigan market. Despite this positive growth, Michigan continues to trend significantly lower than the 86% national average for All Ages communities.”

Occupancy has also increased in Michigan “55+” communities, stated JLT. “As of February 2016, the average occupancy rate is 81%, up 1.3% over February 2015. This represents the largest increase since 2014 and a reversal of a notable occupancy decline experienced among Michigan 55+ communities in 2015. Currently, the national average for 55+ communities is 94%. “

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Darren Krolewski, Executive Vice President at DataComp/JLT Associates, credit, MHVillage.

The teaser summary from Krolewski further stated that “As of February 2016, Michigan ranks 16th for average occupancy in All Ages manufactured home communities out of the 16 regions in which JLT Market Reports are published. Of the 14 regions that include 55+ communities, Michigan ranks 13th for average occupancy among this segment.”

The manufactured home data, listing and analysis firm also said that site fees – a.k.a. “lot rents” – have continued to grow for the 16th consecutive year.

In February 2016, the average adjusted rent in Michigan All Ages communities increased by 1.3% to $387, less than the average annual compounded increase of 2% in this market. The national average adjusted rent for All Ages communities is currently $436,” their summary statement said.

The average adjusted rent among Michigan 55+ communities in February 2016 increased slightly by .3% to $389. In contrast, the national average adjusted rent for 55+ communities is currently $469,” adding that “Michigan manufactured home community rents ranked 11th out of 16 regions tracked by Datacomp for All Ages communities as of February 2016, and 13th out of 14 regions for 55+ communities.”

The detailed JLT reports can come bound, as in the example shown in the photo, and/or electronically. Numerous operators and those doing due diligence and market research have found these reports to be useful and time saving over creating a similar report themselves. For more details on their latest report, see their press release to MHProNews, please click the link here.##

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

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

 

MH Village Announces New Industry Service

May 4th, 2017 Comments off
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Credit: LinkedIn.

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based MHVillage, the nation’s number one website for buying, selling, and renting mobile and manufactured homes, tells MHProNews that it has introduced a new text notification feature, MHVfastLead™.

MHVfastLead will allow MHVillage.com professional account holders to receive a text message when there is a new sales lead from the site. MHVillage says that this will allow industry professions the opportunity for a faster response when they are away from a computer or email.

Now MHVillage advertisers can get back to prospects more quickly than ever, and have a better chance of qualifying and closing the lead,” said MHVillage Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Darren Krolewski.

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Darren Krolewski. Credit: LinkedIn.

We developed this feature for our website because we understand the value of getting a sales lead notification and response in the shortest possible time.”

MHVillage says that email lead notifications will continue uninterrupted regardless of participation in the MHVfastLead program. Leads received via text provide the advertiser with an alert that includes the date and time of the inquiry, the name of the interested person and details on the home being considered.

Citing leading academic and sales research, MHVillage says that the odds of making a successful contact with a lead are 100 times greater when a contact attempt occurs within 5 minutes, compared to 30 minutes after the lead was submitted.

Similarly, the odds of the lead entering the sales process, or becoming qualified, are 21 times greater when contacted within 5 minutes versus 30 minutes after the lead was submitted. The research cited also showed that approximately 43 percent of sales go to the sales professional who was first to respond, and that the odds of a call resulting in a contact with a lead decreases by 10 times within the first hour following lead notification.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, MHVillage is an online marketplace for manufactured homes with listings for over 28,000 homes, 37,000 communities, and 2,900 retailers nationwide.

(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.