Posts Tagged ‘L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach’

Federalist’s Harsanyi Argues Senator “Elizabeth Warren’s Plan to Break Up Big Tech Would Be Bad for America”

March 18th, 2019 No comments



The debate over the breakup of big mega-powerful corporations is heating up. In the American Republic, a healthy exercise of thoughtful free speech is a good thing.



Many of those discussions start with a call to break up Big Tech, which voices on both sides of the left-right political aisle have been calling for with an increasing sense of urgency. Google, and Facebook certainly have a direct impact on manufactured housing every minute of every day, given their dominating presence online.  Other tech giants, like Amazon, Apple, Netflix or Microsoft have their own impacts on specific sectors, but broader ones too.


Given the ripple effect in an economy, the loss of mom-and-pop, start ups, or other smaller-to-mid sized  businesses to monopolistic forces obviously impact owners, workers, and others that could be your customers or investors.


MHProNews has made no secret of the fact that we support the true break up of the FAANG brands, Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft under antitrust law.  While disagreeing with several of Senator Elizabeth Warren’s policy stances as bad for business and the nation, on the specific topic of antitrust – there is more common ground.


MHLivingNews has looked in depth at a speech by Senator Warren to the Open Markets group, in the article linked below.


MHProNews in a Masthead column painted a picture of how factory-built housing industry Democrats may see value in supporting Warren over more openly socialistic candidates in that party. That column clearly says our historic support for President Trump’s pro-growth agenda.  That article is linked below.


With that tee up, we now present another perspective on the hot topic by David Harsanyi, who “is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today,” says the Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal.  What follows is his unedited commentary.



Presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has a new plan to break up Big Tech companies.

The proposal entails appointing a bunch of regulators to undo mergers that her administration would deem anti-competitive. Warren’s plan would classify any company that runs a marketplace and makes more than $25 billion a year as a “platform utility” and prohibit them from selling their own products.

Considering the prevalent knee-jerk loathing of Big Tech and capitalism in general, it’s likely to be a popular idea. Many conservatives, angered at social media platforms, will also find the notion of breaking up these companies agreeable. But there are number of good economic and idealistic reasons to oppose Warren’s plan.

For starters, Warren’s plan would not only strip the incentive for big companies to invest in growth and innovation; it would inhibit small business innovation, as well.

It’s true that Big Tech frequently swallows enterprises to eliminate competition. Yet many times smaller tech firms don’t have access to capital that allows them to bring big ideas to fruition, or they simply can’t take the risk. Big corporations can do both.

I look forward to the day that market forces, rather than meddling politicians with aversions to the profit motive, smash Apple for good. But does anyone believe a gaggle of technocratic political appointees are going to do a better job of allocating investments?

“Twenty-five years ago,” Warren writes, “Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn’t exist. Now they are among the most valuable and well-known companies in the world. It’s a great story—but also one that highlights why the government must break up monopolies and promote competitive markets.”

The fact that Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn’t even exist 25 years ago tells us the exact opposite. It highlights how quickly innovative ideas can transform the marketplace in an era of relative deregulation. I’d tell you to ask the executives at Woolworth’s or Blockbuster—and soon AOL, MySpace, and Sears—but there aren’t any.

Apple or Amazon were early adapters of the market’s new realities. Now, some of their businesses are forced to compete with other giants like Walmart or Samsung. This has been beneficial for consumers.

Now, if Twitter and Facebook want to stay on top, they probably should stop antagonizing half of their marketplace. Then again, in 25 years, it’s quite likely that a bunch of new platforms will overtake both, no matter what they do.

That hasn’t stopped Warren from acting as if tech companies like Google are the new Standard Oil.

“I want a government that makes sure everybody—even the biggest and most powerful companies in America—plays by the rules,” Warren claims. This misleading turn of phrase has become standard on the left, which often acts as if companies are breaking the law or using “loopholes” when they fail to adhere to the imaginary regulations.

Tech companies aren’t breaking any rules by ignoring Warren’s fictitious strictures. We already have a place to adjudicate the usefulness of mergers, and it’s called the Justice Department. They already do a terrible job without any more help.

And if the Justice Department is susceptible to partisan pressure—Democrats are now arguing that President Donald Trump ordered it to block the Time Warner/AT&T merger—surely a second regulatory body based on capricious progressive concepts of the common good would likewise be ripe for abuse.

A number of voters, regrettably, seem to believe that increasing regulatory oversight helps alleviate the destructive relationship between government and business.

Yet, by giving politically motivated regulators expansive powers to dictate how and when companies can grow, Warren would not only imbue government with more power to pick winners and losers, she would further incentivize CEOs to placate government officials and politicians rather than do what’s best for their companies and consumers.

It would be a lot more productive if we left markets to compete and instead broke up government power.

“Curious why I think FB has too much power?” Warren recently asked on Twitter after Facebook took down some of her ads. “Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power. Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”

A person doesn’t need to be exceptionally perceptive to notice that Warren’s grievance regarding a “single censor” shutting down debate on social media is weakened by the fact that she went to a competing social media platform to perpetuate the debate.

Nor did it take much work to find out that virtually every major news site had thoroughly covered her plan to break up Big Tech.

Her own tweet debunks the notion that a sole social media site can dominate news coverage or a national debate. Taking Instagram away from Facebook would do nothing to induce the social media giant to embrace truly open debate.

However, forcing a private entity to run ads that call for its own destruction is an unambiguous attack on free expression.

In the end, Facebook contends that it removed Warren’s ads because they violated company rules against use of its corporate logo. “In the interest of allowing robust debate, we are restoring the ads,” the company explained.

That makes the tech giant a far more robust space for free expression than your average news channel. And as sure as state intervention into TV news “fairness” would backfire so, too, will opening the door to Big Tech intervention. ##


The original article is posted at this link here.  It stands in contrast with voices like Professor Scott Galloway, of NY Stern, who said the following.


Note that the Daily Signal is the journalistic arm of the Heritage Foundation, which boasts that President Donald J. Trump has already begun to implement about 60 percent of its policy proposals.  So it is a force to be reckoned with.

In a posted reply to the above, our MHProNews publisher L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach said as follows.

LATonyKovachMHLivingnewsMHProNewsPHotoEditorially, we’d disagree with Senator Warren on several topics, but on the issue of the growing power of big tech or other monopolies, there may be an opportunity to forge a significant degree of left-center-right consensus.

“American history has long had a streak of antitrust and anti-monopoly.  Those tea bags that got tossed into Boston Harbor in 1773 were both taxed by the Brits and were a crown-sanctioned monopoly – the East India Company at its peak operated much like a government of its own in India. “In his speech to the House of Commons in July 1833, Lord Macaulay explained that since the beginning, the East India company had always been involved in both trade and politics, just as its French and Dutch counterparts had been,” perWikipedia.

This questions of the intersection of big business and ideally limited government isn’t as black and white an issue as many others that divide the left and right.  But the rationale to break up big tech shouldn’t be limited to just FAANG companies. Berkshire Hathaway, and Microsoft ought to be part of that breakup call too. #DeFaangBM #OpenMarkets. In our industry, we see the harm that is…routinely being done to independents.  The time to break these giants up is now, just as those rebels saw the need to toss the tea into Boston Harbor.”



Other perspectives on the topic of the value of breaking up monopolistic companies – including, but not limited to Berkshire Hathaway – are welcomed.



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A closer look at American history reveals a long-standing struggle between big money powers that used their influence over government to in turn influence the marketplace. That occurred in the railroads, oil, banking, and more.

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



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“Tug of War” – Manufactured Home Community Legislation – “Vicious Cycle Goes On,” Impacting Industry, Home Owners, and Potential Buyers

March 13th, 2019 No comments


How does the manufactured housing industry, it’s current and potential home owners achieve mutual victories? That ought to be a key issue for professionals, investors, indeed all in the mix.


Here’s how a multi-year manufactured home industry leader put it.

ChristStinebertPhotoFormerMHIPresidentCurrentAmericanFinacialServicesAssociationPresidentAFSA-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsThe entire industry must focus on one goal – increasing the value proposition to the homeowner. If we cannot offer our homeowners realistic value for their housing dollar, how do we expect to compete in the marketplace. This means giving the customer true value with their purchase, then keeping them happy after the sale. This means insuring the homeowner builds equity and wealth in their home. And finally, this means providing for stable, viable resale market for when it is time to sell the home. Once the industry delivers this value, the rest will fall into place naturally.”


That point was made by former Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President Chris Stinebert. See his full commentary, linked here.


That goal of Stinebert’s ought to be at the heart of what all sides consider in a looming state legislative slug fest. The Daily Business News on MHProNews will explore the issue in depth, below. Why?  Because this pending bill is a symptom of a broader problem, that based on years of trend-lines and left unaddressed will leave manufactured housing stuck in low gear.

That would harm the interests of most businesses, home owners, housing seekers, investors and others in the mix.

Here’s the genesis of how this issue was brought to MHProNews’ attention.



Mainstream Media Outreach for Background on Pending Legislation

An email came in 3.12.2019 from a reporter to MHProNews’ publisher yesterday morning. As is often the case, the journalist had a deadline – in his case – for that same day. It was a request for ‘on the record’ comment about a bill pending at the state level that would impact community owners, management companies, and mobile or manufactured home residents.

By late afternoon, that reporter’s article was already written and published.

On Google’s news function, it was the top article last night under both “manufactured home” news searches and “mobile home” news searches. That’s important, as will be revealed later.




The screen captures above and below document that point.




To a reporter doing his research and making his inquiry, it might have seemed like a black and white issue.

But in fact, the tension between community owners and those residents involved is arguably an artificially created problem. It is avoidable, but only if the various parties begin to understand what caused these symptoms that lead to the legislative proposals and resulting tensions in the first place. That will be covered further below.

This is therefore a useful example of lessons learned in dealing with media, public officials, or other researchers who want the truth, instead of some pre-packaged agenda driven response.

The print journalist should be commended for getting a range of perspectives, and then trying to accurately reflect them in his report. Note that headlines are often the work of an editor, not the journalist.

Here was the segue that led to the reporter’s question to MHProNews’ publisher. As is our custom here on the Daily Business News on MHProNews, direct quotes are in brown and bold text. The first and last paragraph are from the reporter, the big middle paragraph is from a third party, and it is what the reporter wanted reaction to for his report.


The first and third paragraphs at the right are Mark Young’s statement or questions, while the large paragraph in the middle was the statement he was receiving comments and reaction to from industry expert, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach,

On a different matter, I’d like your official input on another story. I received the following email today:


“Are you aware there are bills before the Florida Legislature that will have a tremendous impact on the lives on those that live in land leased mobile home parks.  723.035 will amend the law to include the responsibility for mowing, trimming trees, power washing, and painting their home, just to name a few.  If, after notice from the park owner, if the violations are not corrected within the stated time, the park owner may enter the lot, perform the work and charge enough to “ensure compliance in the future”.  Though we do see the need for some method of keeping up appearances of the community, it is that “ ensuring compliance “ that we object to.  And can you envision the elderly trimming our live oaks and palm trees.  Can you imagine being away on vacation and not receiving the notice that your home needs painting, only to return and find that it has been painted and you are receiving the bill for it.  The other large issue in the bills, is mandatory binding arbitration for minor violations of Homeowners Associations. There are many land leased mobile home parks in the Manatee Sarasota area, I thought this may be of interest to them.  Thank you for your time.”


Are you up to speed on this? Thoughts? Good idea, bad idea? I’m hoping to have a story on this today. I just got in so still have to research it.”


Note that the journalist didn’t reveal who spoke those words?  That’s fine, but the writer did provide a direct quote, to which publisher L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach responded as follows momentarily.  The final news product had the video below, which of course was not made available to Tony until after the print journalist’s report was finished. The video was credited to another person other than the article’s reporter.





As a housekeeping note for professional reader clarity, the other items being discussed between the mainstream journalist and Tony Kovach are edited out as not germane to the issue the print reporter was focused upon for an article about pending legislation. Kovach began addressing the reporter on his requested topic as follows.


Now, to your question. It’s not as simple as you might think.

As to the pending legislation, I’m not familiar with the specifics of the bill.  The Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) could give you their feedback.  That said, I am broadly familiar with the issues being mentioned, and will give you insights few if any will care to share.

At present, there is a tug of war that takes place all too often between home owner groups and some manufactured home community owners and most industry trade groups.  While the issues can be significant to the residents and community owners alike, the source of tension are frankly symptoms of broader issues. 

Here’s why. 

More manufactured home communities are closing than are being opened.  That fact has several impacts on the business marketplace, manufactured home owners, and potential customers.  Using the issues you asked about as an example, here’s how that plays out in the real world. 

First, it is in everyone’s interests to keep a community neat and clean. Mowing grass, trimming trees, etc. are both safety and appearance issues that protect the value of the home owners and community alike. 

The question is, how is a valid goal best accomplished?  Let’s look at a hypothetical case, and you’ll see why this simple question can be problematic in practice.

John and Mary Smith are getting fined for unmowed grass by an overly aggressive community owner.

Unlike an individually owned land-lease community, where the community owner may interact with their residents daily, the corporate giants are answering to investors.  Those giants can ‘get away with’ steep fines or other practices in part because the resident have few if any other options. 

The resident can’t move their manufactured home with ease.  Manufactured homes can be moved, but it requires specialized equipment and experienced professionals to move them, that’s thousands of dollars.  It’s part of the reason why once they are properly installed, manufactured homes are better thought of as immobile homes rather than ‘mobile,’ it’s costly to move.

But that cost to move would be less relevant if there were plenty of competitors in a given market that were opening up new land-lease communities.  30 or 40 years ago, these sorts of tension issues between management and residents just didn’t occur as they do now.  Why?  Because new communities were being built. If some resident didn’t like management company X, and that resident was in fact being mistreated by the management at X, new community owner Y may pay to have that customer’s home moved to Y’s new community. 

Rephrased, normal supply and demand decades ago created options for everyone in the mix. That in turn kept all parties at a more level playing field.  Management treated residents fairly, because they didn’t want to see their home moved. Makes sense?

Which bring us to a broader issue. How is possible that during an affordable housing crisis, there are so few manufactured home communities being built or expanded?  Factually, manufactured homes are the most proven kind of affordable housing, period. The graphic below summarizes key data points, from 2018. The problems that were associated with the construction, safety, and energy standards of older mobile homes were largely resolved after the federal HUD Code for manufactured housing went into effect on June 15, 1976.  Put differently, the issues over quality or durability of construction were resolved almost 43 years ago.  Yet the stigma remains.  Why?

Those federal standards for manufactured homes ought to be preemptive, especially since the passage of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA), which established “enhanced preemption.”

But for a variety of reasons, some major industry trade groups won’t routinely publicly defend and promote that preemption.  An arguable case in point is the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). State associations often follow MHI’s lead.

Here’s how that plays out with John and Mary.  Let’s say that there were too few manufactured home communities being built, as is now the case. The Smith’s could, in theory, move to a privately owned site that they buy.  Enhanced preemption makes that possible.  By the way, the fear that NIMBY forces have of a manufactured home installed next door has been debunked by HUD research and others.



But for whatever reason, many – but not all – trade groups may posture support for enhanced preemption, but they do little in practice to support it. Some manufactured home community association leaders won’t even mention it. 

By de facto failing to encourage a robust array of options for current and future community residents to turn to, the existing manufactured home communities become in some ways ‘more valuable’ real estate.

What ends up happening as a result are scenarios like this bill you are asking about.  Resident groups want to nix it, because they don’t want (understandably so) a community owner to excessively fine them. Communities want the ability to do so, for both just – and potentially unjust – reasons.

The ‘solution’ that more radical resident groups like MHAction promote is that communities should all be resident owned communities (ROCs).  But that brings us back to Millie Francis. She lives in a resident owned community.  She is supposed to have certain safeguards. In fact, Millie told me she was fined for unmowed grass, and otherwise harassed prior to her Our Lady of Guadalupe artwork incident. Where was her protection as a shareholder in her community?

The solution to this patchwork of overlapping problems is to stop the artificial manipulation of the market.  By action or inaction, big corporate interests and their trade groups can increasingly gain control over more once independently owned communities. With little effective competition, the residents become trapped.  But the answer isn’t ROCs, as Millie’s case proved they can be just as overreaching as an aggressive large community owner might be.

Finally, I’m not saying that every big community is bad, nor that every small community owner is good.  [So] the dynamics above may or may not fit specific cases.

To answer your final question, it isn’t a good or a bad idea. It’s entirely misplaced.  They are looking at symptoms, not the cause.

The underlying causes for the tension will likely remain unaddressed by any such bill.  Until market forces are allowed back in, giving home owners choices, and giving manufactured home communities a natural check on overreaching, there are going to be no quick or easy solutions. Education has to be part of that mix, because lack of understanding causes fear, frustration and can lead to bad legislation. 

A case in point is rent control in the state of Delaware, where resident groups wanted that measure passed to prevent abuses by big operators.  The resident groups in fact got a bill passed.  Those same resident groups, now years later, are still unhappy.  The law doesn’t work as they thought it would. Meanwhile, those complex laws only push more small operators out of the business, and thus encouraged more big companies to buy out smaller ones.  No new communities are being built. And the vicious cycle goes on.

Make sense, sir? 

All the Best,




L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach|| Office 863-213-4090 |


The article the reporter published is linked below.





Thousands won’t go beyond the headline. It is one more black eye for the industry, and hurts the appeal and value of communities, retailers, and home owners among others. Before industry considers such a bill, they should realize that such headlines are likely to occur. The image above is a collage from the sources as noted.  The story is linked below.


Why it Matters? What Does This Reveal? 

First, there are voices in media across the left-right divide that want to frame stories to fit an agenda. Per third party surveys – many but not all in media tent to tilt left or Democratic, so that narrative is going to be more common. That said, there are a range of media today that likewise find audiences that cross that left-right divide. Some in media – perhaps cognizant of the charges in the last few years of ‘Fake News’ – want to get the facts correctly and accurately.  The point is that a journalist merits some benefit of the doubt, unless or until they reveal themselves as a mere hack for a particular perspective.

But all of those points mean that precise phrasing is important. This report in the Bradenton newspaper  – a McClatchy owned media outlet – is a case in point.

Every reporter feels compelled to cull out as much as possible to get to the heart of the matter. Good writers want to reflect the tension in a controversy that reflects ‘both sides.’

MHProNews readers can see for themselves that every quote used by the reporter was accurate. Keep in mind as you read the article linked below that the same process of culling out some details from each source the Bradenton Herald’s writer sought for comments is likely at play.  No one gets every word quoted, unless the quote is a sound bite only.


Warren Buffett didn’t say it, but another successful business guru did. Want to understand something enough to benefit from it? There is no substitute to investing the time needed. Buffett says he reads 5 to 6 hours a day. Wow…but look were that got him.



Back to Stinebert, MHARR – and The Third Way for Manufactured Housing?

At present, the arguable manipulation of the marketplace by forces within and outside of manufactured housing is leading the industry and its customers into what amounts to an oppositional or confrontational posture.  It is win-lose, and each side wants what it wants.

But the various parties may or may not always realize that they are dealing with symptoms rather than the core issue that Tony Kovach addressed in his commentary, quoted at length above.

That core issue is summed up in making the value proposition good for the consumer, and it is achieved by applying what the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has argued in favor of for many years.  Namely, robust enforcement of enhanced preemption and a level playing field in financing. Only that combination, says MHARR, will yield robust rising production.  It is achieved by ending the “Illusion of Motion” vs. seeking actual measurable results.

It is that third way – getting to the heart of the matter instead of dealing with symptoms – that manufactured housing professionals and resident leaders ought to ponder and pursue.  Because the lack of options for the resident-homeowner is indeed a factor that yields the “tug of war” dynamic.

In no particular order of importance:


  • Manufactured home communities, residents, and possible buyers are all being impacted by this confrontational dynamic. This kind of tug-of-war or ‘win-lose’ vantagepoint doesn’t tend to exist to this same degree in other American industries between businesses and their customers.  The natural order of free enterprise ought to yield more alignment than the currently manipulated marketplace all-too-often produces.  More typically, a business provides a desired service, and the customer is willing to pay, thus both routinely end up happy, because that is what keeps a business, in business. That’s healthy, while the current state of affairs is arguably harmful to each segment’s longer term interests.
  • Short-term thinking and behavior may appear to benefit the businesses briefly and the same may seem to be true for the mobile or manufactured home owners. But in fact, both sides end up with mid-to-longer term issues that will at some point artificially harm the interests of each. The current low level of new home sales is in part due to a steady stream of mainstream news reports that often appear problematic to the home seeking public. A possible home buyer won’t slug through this kind of nuanced analysis, but professionals or leaders keen on sustainability and win-win growth may.
  • There are no short-cuts. The multifamily housing world is growing, and that growth isn’t seen as problematic for existing apartment owners. So why is it stunted growth in manufactured home community development viewed as healthy or desirable by some in the manufactured home world? The current state-of-affairs mitigates against smaller firms in favor of larger ones.  But even bigger firms know the obvious parallel between manufactured home communities and multifamily housing. So why don’t leaders of larger operations see the longer term harm this current dynamic will eventually impose upon investors and resident-owners alike?  The status quo – viewed objectively – has a future Cavco Industries type threat looming over it, perhaps one that is even bigger.  Or, if a strongly leftist government takes root in Washington, D.C., or at a state house, then the interest of community owners could well be harmed sufficiently. It is avoidable now, so long as long-term win-win mindsets are at work.
  • Therefore, it is arguably in the long-term interests of most involved in such struggles to restore the marketplace to a more normal state affairs. That’s very much in keeping with what MHARR’s advocacy would yield. Enforce existing laws, and the market will be resorted to more normal, and eventually, robust health.


That would in turn yield what MHI’s former president Christ Stinebert called for, as previously quoted.




Tony Kovach took the time to lay out and link up facts that allowed for a more nuanced final news product.  That should be a key part of what growth-minded associations, and businesses of all sizes seek.

The status quo is fraught with landlines. It creates winners-and-losers. That’s arguably not the norm in most industries. For longer term sustainability that leads to mutual victories, the status quo must be changed.

If current industry trade groups won’t adapt and to the best elements of the principles that MHARR and MHI’s former CEO made in his quote above, then new structures in the post-production realm must be established. Otherwise, the trend lines of more community closures than openings will yield only more woes.  It remains to be seen what the new National Association for Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) will do about such vexing controversies.



The Last Blockbuster?

The last Blockbuster store on planet earth was recently in the news. Not so many years ago, Blockbuster was a giant, but it failed to adapt. That’s a timely warning to the manufactured housing industry. The low new home shipment levels is another warning.  The time to act is ASAP, as soon as possible, preferably now.

Positive changes that yield mutual victories must be part of the mix. On that point quote above, Stinebert was arguably correct.

Which begs the question, why did it have to be Stinebert’s parting message? Was the growing influence of Omaha-Knoxville over Arlington based MHI already playing out?  See the related reports below for more insights on that question. “We Provide, You Decide” ©  ## (News, analysis, commentary.)



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MHI Allies Respond, Provide Confirmation to #NettlesomeThings, Facts, and Clayton/Berkshire Exposés

December 17th, 2018 Comments off



The issue that follows is tied to allegations of corruption, how that impacts affordable housing, and thus millions of Americans, plus taxpayer funded budgets.  At its core, it’s not a matter of one political party over that one.


It seems that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the Berkshire Hathaway brands that operate in manufactured housing backing the Arlington, VA based trade group may be embarrassed.

Rather than respond directly to various allegations against them, they have demonstrably used one or more MHI surrogate(s) to attempt to distract from the concerns over their purportedly corrupted work.

So, this report and analysis is about one/more self-identified ally(ies) of MHI, which last year sent via U.S. Mail the package shown further below – designed as an apparent intimation tactic.  The goal was to attempt to dissuade us from publishing on these concerns.  Note that inside the rather large anonymously sent envelope, which has been examined by federal officials – clearly identifies the person who sent the anonymous envelope as working on behalf of the interests of MHI.

Perhaps they didn’t expect us to publish further about that topic last year?  If so, they were clearly mistaken. We at MHProNews have no intention of being silenced by underhanded and arguably illegal tactics. Misusing the U.S. Mail is a federal offense.

If MHI, Clayton, 21st and the other Berkshire brands want to disprove any of our published allegations or concerns, we invite them anew to do so in public. See a new, in depth report, linked here, on their latest major purported scheme that once more aims at diverting lending from affordable housing, as well as harming several of the independent producers of our industry. If MHI and the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing can’t or won’t disprove the concerns against them, doesn’t that speak volumes?

Numbers inside and out of the factory-built housing industry agree that MHI does nothing contrary to the interests or desires of Clayton Homes, and the various affiliates of Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway that operate in the manufactured housing industry.



To understand what follows, some added insights are merited.

First, the additional background.  Then, the connections and ties to MHI, and what we will refer at times to as the Berkshire brands operating in MHLand, MHVille – i.e.: the manufactured housing (MH) industry, or the MHIndustry.

When we mention allegations against MHI, Clayton, or a Berkshire related issue(s), we use terminology that makes it clear that in the eyes of the law, they are deemed innocent until proven guilty, by plea on criminal matters, and/or via a settlement agreement in the case of a civil cause of action.

Videos like the following two in 2018, and a third one from a few years ago, are all third-party media. They may provide claimed evidence against them Clayton and their sister companies.  But the above principle applies, they are deemed innocent in the eyes of the law, until a matter is proven, pled, and/or legally settled.



Note that these video sources span the left-right media divide.




Now, let’s briefly look at justice in America, because many believe there is a two-tier system. One where the rich or famous can delay or avoid convictions of crimes that others accused of the same things could more swiftly be found guilty of doing.

Possible examples are former President Bill and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their scandal-plagued Clinton Foundation, as noted in the second and third video, above.

With that preface, let’s next look at the justice system as it applies to our industry. Because certain practices in both are arguably in need of reform.


The Justice System in America, and MHVille

Why do we as a nation lock up convicted criminals? Because if someone is proven guilty of fraud, theft, robbery, rape, RICO, human trafficking, drug dealing, murder, or whatever other serious crimes – they are presumed to be more likely to do it again if they aren’t incarcerated.

So, the goal of incarceration in a prison is in theory to stop more crime from being committed by those proven guilty.

Before someone goes to prison in America – prison, vs. jail – the law provides that they get a defense attorney or one is assigned to them.




If the defense attorney for an accused has moxie and resources, there are a wide range of ways they can legally attempt to refute or cast doubt about an accused person’s guilt.

In civil litigation, both parties have the right to an attorney too, although there are times someone or some organization for whatever reason opts to represent themselves. Even in a criminal defense case, one can go “pro se” or “pro per.”




The Great Manufactured Housing Debate – Guilty…

MHProNews and MHLivingNews are subsidiaries of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC. The registered principals of LifeStyle Factory Homes LLC are L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach and Soheyla Kovach.

They are arguably guilty! Guilty!

Guilty of what?

1) Of wanting to see manufactured housing independents grow and profitably succeed.

2) They are also willing to plead guilty of trying to honestly elevating the image of manufactured housing, manufactured home owners, and honorable manufactured housing professionals.  They strive to do so with facts, evidence, reason, and common-sense.

3) The evidence or proof of that guilt are found on hundreds of articles and scores of posted videos on

There is even more proof found on But there is no court of law needed, because we  hereby plead guilty to counts 1 and 2 above.

Naturally, we as a business want to – and have in fact profited from – such efforts. News is a business, as we’ve underscored before. The fact that MHProNews is the runaway #1 in its niche of manufactured housing trade media is pretty good evidence that we have credibility with our audience.

4) What follows is a partial listing of reasons for credibility, conferred upon our operations’ work, on our team, and/or our publisher by others.

Various third-party mainstream media have spotlighted us or our publisher, for but a few examples:

The above are a partial listing only, none were paid for by MHProNews, and thus are more than enough to demonstrate that MHProNews is widely deemed to be a credible source from outside of our industry.  How about from within the ranks of MHVille?


Recommendations, Endorsements, Letters, Videos and Messages 

Every form of modern recommendation that once can think of has been provided to the work of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC and/or our publisher.

Are we perfect?  No, and never claimed to be so.  As a senior MHI member put it recently, “You seem to have conceptual IQ that is more important than spelling ability,” which is a humorous way of saying that we have typos.  Guilty. That same source added, “You [MHProNews] are prolific and you keep the headlines sexy.” Sexy? We’ll let that one go for now.

That said…


Over a Thousand Professionals Gave via LinkedIn Recommendations or Endorsements 

Based upon LinkedIn endorsements and kudos alone, we arguable don’t need or require any endorsement by MHI or from people connected to the Berkshire brands.

But we have those MHI- and Berkshire-connected kudos too.

  • Tim Williams – President and CEO of 21st Mortgage Corp, and then MHI Chairman:

To see the full on-the-record statement by Williams to MHProNews, click here.

  • Howard Walker, JD – the late ELS Vice Chair and MHI Executive Committee member:

The words of the late Howard Walker, ELS Vice Chairman, shared for publication with MHProNews.

  • Jim Clayton – founder of Clayton Homes and Clayton Bank  – by video:


  • MHI President and CEO, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison by video and others too:

  • Ann Parman – since retired from MHEI,  the educational wing of MHI:



MHI and the Berkshire brands were delighted – demonstrably delighted – to have our support based upon the financial logic or merits of issues such as the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Note that whatever the odds for success were – and the MHI backed bill never passed – it arguably merited support, for reasons the article linked here revealed.

So, both on MHProNews and on MHLivingNews our publishing and video was sincere.

That support of Preserving Access – and more – was also widely praised by state associations, MHI, and Kevin Clayton himself. He had one word to describe it in this email sent to Tim Williams, to another Clayton staffer, and which Williams forward to our publisher — “Strong….”


This forwarded email was forwarded to MHProNews by a third party. Why wasn’t all of the pro-industry research, video, and educational materials supporting MHI’s Preserving Access bill shared by MHI?


For those who think that all the praise from the Clayton organization is in the past, a Clayton Homes marketing team member praised our work for its thought leadership this year, in 2018.  They asked us for permission to use some of our work from MHLivingNews on the Clayton Homes blog.




Based upon the above, you or any objective person can thus see how difficult it must be for MHI’s or the Berkshire brands.  Standing in their shoes, with respect to the various antitrust and other concerns raised, they arguably can’t simply dismiss MHProNews, which they’ve praised too many time.  While other scandalous behavior allegations have been lodged against them by voices outside manufactured housing, inside our industry, our reporting, fact-checks and analysis have been dominating. As the most prominent voice, they have arguably attacked us indirectly rather than directly.

But we are not alone.  These same MHI/Clayton/Berkshire voices have tried to debatably go after the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) too.

So, if they had a good explanation for issues raised in the related resources, found below the by-line, why do they avoid doing so?  Why don’t they merely debate or disprove – based-upon the merits – MHARR’s arguments – or our own research, fact-checks and reports at MHProNews?  Why?

It’s a tactic some refer to as Duck, Dodge, Dismiss, Distract, Detract, and/or Defame.



Award-winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson – on the cover of her best-selling book – calls this tactic “The Smear.”



These evasion tactics are nothing new.  Cain used the same distraction and smear tactics against Able, but he also took it to the degree of murder.

In an honorable trade association, an association/trade organization is supposed to take input from members – and then based upon that input – craft one or more policy direction(s).

But MHI is debatably no ordinary association. A system is in place that essentially rubber stamps, for example, who will be the next MHI Executive Committee chair, vice chair, secretary, and treasurer. It is that ‘elected’ MHI Executive Committee that makes all final decisions that the paid MHI staff are then called upon to carry out.

For years, one or two of those four MHI Executive Committee members worked directly for a Berkshire brand.  Others had strong ties to Clayton, 21st Mortgage Corp, or another Berkshire brand. Nathan Smith and his scandal plagued SSK Communities for example, has such ties to Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage. Nathan Smith’s SSK Communities has the distinction of having earned an “F rating” from the third-party Better Business Bureau (BBB).



In fact, among the current or past MHI chairman, you have to go back to the tenure of Don Glisson Jr., President of Triad Financial Services, to find one that didn’t or doesn’t have a serious allegation and/or scandal attached to them.  Joe Stegmayer, for example, is under a cloud of an SEC subpoena, and was a former Clayton Homes division president. By contrast, have you heard of any scandals attached to any recent MHARR elected chairmen?




Increasingly people inside and outside of our part of the affordable housing industry are realizing that where there is smoke, there is a likely fire.

When you follow the evidence of Buffett’s money trail, some of his gifts have flowed to the Tides Foundation and onto such as groups as:

Those in turn have been cited or published reports, protested, or objected to the behavior of Clayton Homes, their sister firms in MHVille, and/or protested at an MHI event.




In a video posted above, it is a former Clayton team member who is pointing their finger at Clayton Homes in their own Knoxville metro hometown media.  Ouch.

The feds have been investigating Clayton and others tied to them in manufactured housing for at least two years, and our sources tell us that their investigations are ongoing. Would the Feds waste the time on a company if there were no evidence?

Maxine Waters (CA-D) and 3 other Democrats have charged Clayton with racism, predatory lending, and with being a ‘near monopoly.’

So, with that brief background, the following envelopes comes in the mail, anonymously.  Bear in mind the first envelope below included an  unsigned letter from someone that identified themselves as clearly acting on behalf of MHI.

What’s inside the next set of envelopes are personal, family matters. Have you ever done something personal that may or may not be bad, but would require some explanation, otherwise it might be briefly embarrassing?  Have you or anyone you know ever squabble with family?

These matters involved legal disputes within our publisher’s family, dating back some 23 years ago. Who cares?  Besides, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach won, won, and won. As in, Tony Kovach won judgments and was not guilty of any alleged wrongdoing.

The first envelope that follows was sent from a self-identified MHI ally.  The envelope as you can see was hand-written. Big mistake. A letter inside that came with a packet of documents, and was turned over to federal investigators.   As noted, the cover letter was from someone supportive of MHI, and who opposed our MHProNews exposes about them.  Do we want such tactics used against a free press?



Scanned copy of envelope mailed to MHProNews, received on Friday April 9, 2017.  Misusing the U.S. Mail is a federal offense.


The Daily Business News on MHProNews reported on the above last year.  Following that 2017 report, there was a pause in such an anonymous letter.  That pause ended during basically the second half of this year (2018). Among those new anonymous letters since that resumption are a new series of letters and their contents, which the 6 shown below (see the dates shown).  Those letters were produced by using a printing device, and we won’t go into much more detail, because federal investigators are on this matter too.



Misusing the U.S. Mail is a federal offense.


The Offer to Claytons, Berkshire Brands, & MHI

There is a big fish to catch, one that lacks transparency, and it debatably isn’t MHProNews or MHLivingNews, as we are not trying to monopolize manufactured housing.

That said, we’ll make a deal – an offer to Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams, Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison, Lesli Gooch, et al should take us up on.

  • Appear on stage with our publisher at the upcoming Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, with third-party media and an array of video cameras to record the entire matter.
  • Our publisher will explain on camera in under 2 minutes the contents of these purported distraction and smear tactics envelopes, after Kevin Clayton and Tim Williams explains to the audience and the video cameras their Smoking Gun letters from 2010, the issues around “the Moat” video, and the undisclosed item related to the GSEs and their new class of homes initiatives.
  • Also, let Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and Lesli Gooch explain on camera after Kevin Clayton and Tim Williams has spoken questions about the GSEs and the so-called ‘new class of homes’ related concerns. Because, the GSE “Duty to Serve” lending isn’t currently being made available for the least expensive manufactured homes, as the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA 2008) arguably required.  Plus, let that pair from MHI answer questions regarding their multi-year Preserving Access effort. For example, why MHI PAC Chair Nathan Smith’s wife supported an opponent to candidate Rep. Andy Barr – when Barr has faithfully supported the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.
  • Then, let Jim Clayton explain why he supported the opponent of Rep. Marsha Blackburn for the U.S. Senate, when Blackburn was a loyal MHI supporter for Preserving Access.
  • After those three sets go first, Tony will gladly in under 2 minutes explain the guts of the distraction tactics they are trying to use against him and our trade media.  Then, let them all question and cross-examine each under. Let their be transparency in public and on camera.


Are those named up for it?  LifeStyle Factory Homes reserves to right to call as witnesses for such a media/video session those who have said off-the-record precisely how the Claytons, 21st, MHI or others have purportedly attempted to drive others of out of business, or force them into selling for less.  There are also others who have reported to us having under-handed tactics against them too.  After the first round of discussions suggested in the bullets above is complete, let let those who claim to be victims of MHI, Clayton or one of the other Berkshire brands take a microphone and tell their stories on video too.

In short, let’s have a robust, transparent discussion.


Thoughtful words, worth pondering. See the story, linked here.


Over the Target

L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach has cited the axiom, “You aren’t taking flak unless you are over the target.” These anonymous documents from decades ago aimed at Tony, are arguably because Clayton’s ‘image’ efforts, and the latest MHI self-promotion video are distractions and/or fig leaves from the real issues that have kept manufactured housing snoring when it should be roaring.  Clayton has consolidated roughly half of the industry since 2003, using a variety of strategies that Warren Buffett broadly calls “the Moat.”



Ask yourself, why the GSEs aren’t supporting all HUD Code manufactured homes, which is the most affordable permanent housing available – instead of only supporting only the far more expense Clayton backed ‘new class’ of manufactured homes?

Every one of the tactics described herein or previously has reportedly been attempted or used on others, per those who have told MHProNews.  Some of those relating their personal stories about Clayton, MHI, et al shared them face-to-face. Others have via phone, message, etc.

Perhaps most significantly, if federal investigators are taking such concerns seriously, maybe more in media, public officials, MH industry professionals, and investors should too?  Don’t forget what is said on those third-party and mainstream video, further above. You don’t have to take our word for it, because we’ve laid out the facts, evidence, and the money trail.


Submit confidential or on-the-record news tips, or comments at this linked email

Why is there a growing affordable housing in crisis?  Call it a rigged system, manipulation, and/or corrupt practices.  That’s this morning’s “News through the lens of manufactured homes, and factory-built housing,” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)


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Related Reports: Click the Boxes Below to

“Check Your Facts,” “Follow the Money” – Journalist Sharyl Attkisson, Fake News, MHVille Takeaways


It’s Your Profession – Investment of Time, Talent, Treasure – So What’s Next?

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

Machiavellian “Godfather” – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Capital, Lending and Crossed Lines in Manufactured Housing

New York Times-David Leonhardt-“The Monopolization of America,” Manufactured Housing Slant



Attracting and Retaining Sales Talent – Evidence and Data-Driven Potential in Manufactured Housing

October 8th, 2018 Comments off


At this moment, the potential opportunity to achieve more in manufactured housing by independents may be greater than at any time in decades. But tapping those opportunities requires an openness to new facts, evidence, and ideas.


By definition, doing more of the ‘same old, same old,’ yields more of the same. One reaps what is sown.

In business and in public discourse, mental and physical habits set in. The right habits are good, the wrong ones are self-limiting.

When competing ideas exist, some want to discuss or debate them. That’s ok.  It can even be good, when done properly. But that ought to be done based upon a genuine, healthy discussion.

Some enter into a discussion with a closed mind, trying to prove ‘their’ point. The ego gets invested. Pride sets in. Such a person is less likely to ‘change their mind’ – at least at that time – regardless of the facts or evidence.  But the discussion may still be useful to those who are observing. 

That’s human nature at work. The real geniuses are those who create the discipline of proven systems and processes that every sound business requires, and marries them with a willingness to test other ways to see if improvements can be profitably achieved.  

At the core of this is the need for objectivity combined with discipline.  

Discipline is good, but it’s enhanced by a healthy motivation.

There are great thinkers who were also doers. They found the way to motivate others to be the best version of themselves.  

The lazy, ego-invested or honest skeptics can use all kinds of methods to block healthy or even necessary change.

The point?  


An Emerging New MHVille and American Reality

A new economic reality is emerging in the U.S. Love, like, or hate his style, but President Trump is getting things done that make America a better place for small- to mid-sized businesses. Businesses are opening and expanding.  Wages are rising, as more jobs are opening.

As the economy improves, the need to retain and attract good talent will only grow. With unemployment officially at 3.7 percent, and with over 6 million job openings, people have more career and job options.


Research has proven that training – education done well – motivates workers. Good training also improves performance and retention.

When a sales pro in retail, at the factory, or in communities can learn more to earn more, they are more likely to stay. It also makes for a better workplace. 

And at the core of every marketing and sales article on MHProNews is the belief that the customer deserves to be treated honestly, ethically, and with a respect for their long-term interests.

Sellers win, when customers win. By the way, savvy customers know you have to make a profit.

In this emerging economy, the need to think in terms of mutual victories – where everyone in the mix wins – is essential. It’s a good thing, but it may require healthy changes in how business is done.

The day may come in manufactured housing when well qualified retail buyers will go to retailers or communities intending to purchase. The only question is who they will do business with.

That kind of qualified customer won’t respond well to many of the marketing and sales methods they see.

In that projected future – then and now – truly skilled, informed, disciplined sales people will be needed.



Tony Kovach doing a presentation in a packed room of industry professionals.

The time is now for forward-thinkers who want to lead this emerging trend to invest in systems that attract and retain qualified professionals who can attract and satisfy qualified buyers.

That’s what we help client firms do, and it sets us apart from the pack. That’s your weekly dose of the Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Marketing and Sales Meeting. ## (Research, news, analysis, and commentary.) 

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Related References:

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“Family Owned,” a Formula for Outperforming “Big Boys,” Monday Morning MH Marketing Sales Meeting

“Family Owned,” a Formula for Outperforming “Big Boys,” Monday Morning MH Marketing Sales Meeting

September 17th, 2018 Comments off



In today’s tip, we’re using business-to-consumer (B2C) examples below, but the same principles apply businesses-to-businesses (B2B).


It is up to each business to define itself in its own market(s).

Those in the manufactured home industry that don’t define themselves will likely be defined by their competitors, and/or by the bias and ignorance of others.

Here are some of the key elements to deciding your inventory- and marketing plans, which can help you craft how to define your location(s) in their respective marketplace.


1) Price-points. Often, but not always, the dominant, chain stores or conglomerate communities may have a price advantage on their homes for sale. You need to have a good sense of what your competitors have, how the compare to what you offer, and how each are priced.

When it comes to ‘knowledge’ of competitors, keep in mind that Clayton and others have the advantage of their so-called “spies.”  ICYMI, that report can be read later, found at the link below.


Clayton Homes and 21st Mortgage’s Manufactured Housing “Spies”

A sure way to hand Berkshire brands or other giants an advantage is to ignore them, their methods, tactics, and resources.

Berkshire Chairman Warren Buffett himself argues for the advantages that the lower price gives his companies.  That said, you don’t have to be lower in price to win, but there’s a big IF with that qualifier.  You have to be able to craft the right strategy, marketing message, and sales systems.

Price is an advantage, but it can be overcome in various cases with enough extra effort.


2) In stock and/or custom order? Delivery dates for ordered units have become an issue in recent years. It used to be that you could get a new home in so-many weeks. Now, that lead time is more often measured in months. To maximize your turns-per-year, sales, and profits, this question #2 and it’s subsidiary and related companion issues ought to be carefully considered.


3) Merchandising or not? We noted in a recent column linked below the value of staging model homes. Of course, that comes at a price in time, talent, and treasure (dollars). But what if you can’t afford to stage/decorate your homes? Then a stratagem must be developed around that reality.  For those with a budget for staging, you can read the related column linked below, later on.


Manufactured Home Retailers, Communities, Is Your Merchandising Nordstrom’s or Salvation Army? Monday MH Marketing, Sales Meeting


4) Financing. We don’t track day-by-day the financing programs offered by say 21st Mortgage Corp – which serves independents, vs. Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, which serves Clayton conglomerate retail stores. But the routine comments from communities, retailers, and HUD Code manufactured home producers we work with or hear from suggests that Berkshire Hathaway has long tilted the scales in favor of Clayton vs. independents.

For example, the routine report for years has been that VMF “buys deeper” than 21st. Who says so? Insider sources, and we’ll cover that in an upcoming report. But for now, your marketing and sales strategy ought to consider these kinds of factors (#1-4).  Otherwise if all else is equal, you can be outperformed by those with lower pricing, easier lending, better staging, etc., etc.. Those realities often give the big boys advantages.  That means that savvy, long-term success minded  independents operating near them must plan around those advantages.


The Above, Rephrased and Boiled to Essentials

Most independent retailers, communities, and producers are so busy with their day-by-day activities, that they don’t spend nearly enough time in strategic planning.

Yet, without a sound ‘fact based’ strategy, how can you outperform someone who may offer lower pricing, easier financing, or other advantages?

It is doable. But it takes facts, a SWOT analysis, and a plan that includes how you define yourself in the marketplace. See the related report, later on, that is linked below.


Sunday Morning Manufactured Home Industry Research, Reports, Headline News Recap 7.8.2018 to 7.15.2018


The headline suggests one approach that has worked as part of a broader message and plan. “Family owned and operated, since…” whatever date can be a powerful message that’s part of a larger strategy.  There are tons of shoppers who prefer to do business with people, vs a bureaucratic business where the faces are changing often due to turnover.

By the way, we have a proven, profitable program that so shifts the paradigm away from the mundane appeal of the lowest price or lenders that buy the poorest credit.  Those strategies can lead you and your location(s) to levels of success that surprise you, and your competitors too.


For those with a budget, ready to take a next step toward dominating your local market, click the image above or call the number below. With over 1,000 endorsements and recommendations, odds are excellent that you’ll be glad that you did reach out for our proven systems. Sure there’s a cost, but it is an investment that routinely pays.  ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

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Time, talent, treasure. Put your money, as we do, where your mouth is. Need professional services? Please consider calling us. Nobody does it better in MHVille, no one. Click here to learn more.

Related References:

Sustainable Success. Your Best MH Investment? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales and Marketing Meeting


Becoming a Standout Performer, Monday Morning Sales, Marketing Meeting


Power & Profit$ from Factual Sales & Marketing, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Meeting – Part 1

August 27th, 2018 Comments off



It would be hard to find a business or a business professional that would argue against more good sales or higher profits.


It would be harder still to find a professional or investor that would argue against more sales and higher profits achieved with happy customers, and high CSI.

CSI is a customer satisfaction index. It’s an internal or third-party measure of the satisfaction level of a customer. Ideally, a CSI is factual.

Ideally, we should use facts – not hype or exaggeration – as the basis for everything in business, including sales and marketing.


When customers come to your website, are they finding what they are looking for?  They have a beautiful dream they want to fulfill. Customers have questions they want answered. Are visitors ‘bouncing’ at a high rate? If so, that’s one of several possible red flags for a website design issue. Other possible red flags include low conversion rates.

There are literally millions of Americans who are checking out HUD Code manufactured homes every year. They might be using Google, Bing, or Yahoo to search for “mobile home,” “trailer house,” “modular home” or whatever.

Facts are facts. Too many let emotions, ego, habits (‘We’ve always done it this way‘), company politics, fear of change, or other factors get in the way of higher sales and profits.  Forget all that emotional baggage, because it is demonstrably costing you/your location(s) money.

To a clear-minded professional who can look at data dispassionately, facts can speak loudly. Properly understood, facts can drive more leads and more sales.

We live in an era when information is easily accessed. Tens of millions can use mobile devices to search for information.  Millions more will use a desktop or laptop for internet searches.

As millions in the U.S. or elsewhere search for a product or a service, what is it that they most want to discover?

The truth. They want “the Facts.”

Some will make a snap judgement. Right or wrong, that decision may take only a few seconds.  So it isn’t as if emotion or pretty pictures don’t play a role in the equation.  Of course they do.

But if pretty pictures or slick videos alone were the answer, then thousands of locations – retailers and communities – from coast to coast would have customers lined up at the doors every day to buy.


But facts can – indeed, they must – be used as the basis for all honest and ethical persuasion IF good results are to be sustainable.  I’m not saying that manufactured housing is fooling anyone, those who know us know that we are true believers in the industry’s products and services.

But until more of the home seeking public believes in manufactured homes in greater numbers – or is at a minimum, is curious enough to come and see manufactured homes in person – sales will stay modest.

Furthermore, until more home shoppers have an experience that gives them a similar level of confidence as they get in the real estate business, sales will stay modest.


Experience Shows…

I’ve professionally visited corporate and independent retail and communities over the years than I care to count. In my working with various independent and corporate manufactured home retailers and communities for over 15 years, a few things are clear.

1)        A significant number of locations can have good traffic, but low conversions as measured by visitors to sales.

2)        An even greater percentage of people who surf a site fail to convert into an active lead, or smaller still, into an actual buyer.

3)        By using a combination of facts and emotional appeals correctly, traffic can grow, and so can conversion ratios. 

4)        Rephrased, for those willing to invest in change, and stick with it, you’ll find more sales, more profits and higher levels of customer satisfaction.  Those happy customers can bring you still more buyers.

5)  Some, of course, have low traffic.  That can be fixed fairly quickly. 

6)        Side note, for communities that rent and sell, you’re losing millions of dollars a year in sales.  I get the profits possible from rental units.  I get it that it is easier to rent than sell.  But there’s also beauty and profits possible in the original model for MHCommunities, and that can still be achieved by selling more manufactured homes on leased land.


Is their Evidence for Factual Based Marketing and Sales?

Let’s answer the question immediately above with one word. Absolutely.

We will start by offering as proof MHVillage’s (MHV) published statistics. Keep in mind, we are not slamming them, nor are we putting them down. This is clinical look, like an analogy to an examination by a doctor or accountant.

MHV are understandably proud of their data, which is why they publish it, right?

But what the MHVillage data and their own claims tell discerning and savvy marketers is this. Millions check out manufactured homes online every year. But in 2017, only some 92,900 actually bought a new manufactured home. That’s a sad conversion ratio.  It’s also one that screams that it can be dramatically improved.  The goal isn’t an unachievable perfection. Rather, its a sustainable level of improvements that drive more sales, and thus, higher profits.


Data per MHVillage. Collage and thumbnail analysis by MHProNews.

Again, let’s use data – facts as proof.  By contrast to MH data, the RV industry way outsells MH.  But do you realize that MH outsold RVs just 20 years ago?  What caused the shift?  How did RVs go from trailing MH to outselling MH by almost 5 to 1?


For a better understanding of what the RV data should be telling manufactured housing marketers and sellers, click the article below.

What RV Industry’s 2018, Prior Results Reveal for Manufactured Housing

Going back to the MHVillage data.  Less than a fraction of a single percent converted to buying. In my discussions with those in real estate, they experience a far better conversion ratio than manufactured housing professionals achieve.

These facts are opportunities in disguise.  MH is different than real estate or RVs.  But there are lessons to be learned from those industry, by our industry. Few if any have studied and successfully applied these lessons than this writer.


Clayton Trainee’s Praise – Low Hanging Fruit vs. Choice Fruit

A newbie to Clayton Homes recently told us about their sales training. That person, who has prior sales experience, rated the Clayton training as “excellent.”

Ok, let’s factually examine that for a moment.

If Clayton Homes’ retail – or their marketing – had a total grasp of what works and what doesn’t, then answer this question.  Why have they had to close a net of about 100 retail centers in the last 7 years?  See the article, linked below. And ICYMI, if you aren’t already on our free email list, you can sign up in seconds, at this link here.

Clayton’s Surprising Result – Sunday Morning Weekly Recap, MH Headline Reports and News in Review Aug 19 to Aug 26, 2018


The data – plus what industry pros in big and small companies tell us – is this.

Most operations, no matter how disciplined they may be at a factory or a finance office, lack a similar level of discipline in retail and marketing. Their own data says so.  My eyes and ears have told me so.

As a cross check, when I talk to lender’s reps – who visit sales centers – and who’ve been in the business for around 20 years, they see that same pattern too.

But don’t take my word for it. The proof is in Clayton’s and MHVillage’s own data.  Again, this isn’t a slam on those in MH sales or marketing.  Management accepts what is, or things would be different.

Let me tell you, many sales pros WANT to be properly trained.  If they are on commission, a motivated sales pro, WANTs to sell more homes.

We always begin with those in place.  It may be easier and better to get them to learn something new.

Or sometimes we work with management to bring in one or two new people.  We teach them the new ways.  Once they start to catch or outsell seasoned veterans, and you’ll rapidly have a motivated experienced sales person saying, ‘okay, I’m ready to learn more.’

Management and sales can and should help each other.  BTW, we would rather work with an existing marketer, teach them a few new principles, and let them get motivated about delivering better results that they’ll get for their company or clients.


Facts Matter, Understanding Customers, and Industry Dynamics Matters

There are a number of things we do on the consulting side of our operations that are proprietary. We keep client information confidential, and client’s commit to doing that with us too, both for obvious reasons. We may talk about generic or obviously non-proprietary data.

But we only publish specific client results when we mutually agree to do so.

That said, when clients gladly praise our results, and those that observed those results praise the work, that’s what prudent, discerning minds should ponder. As always, facts matter.

Consultants get paid for doing things that a company can’t easily do for itself.


Click the above to learn more, which is not connected to this report.

Consultants also get paid for doing those things that would speed up a process that a company might do on its own – but for whatever reasons, has up until that time failed to achieve. Or another reason why consultants or outside service providers are used is when it would cost more to do that contracted work internally than it would externally.

Consultants and contract service providers also get paid to observe. I’ve seen for myself very successful sales centers with low conversion ratios. Part of the reason is that too many target – wittingly or not – “low hanging fruit.”

Let me give just one example. When a successful retailer tells me it is hard to find customers applying at their sales center with credit scores over 600 or 625, that’s an example of attracting and/or selling to low hanging fruit.


Everyone in America deserves an opportunity for home ownership. It’s an outrage that about 40 other nations have a higher rate of home ownership than the USA does.

This writer, always working with others, has taken previously failing locations and made them successful.


Click to learn more about this upcoming wholesale event, which is not related to the story posted.

We did that for a Clayton Homes location, some years ago. But even after Clayton saw the proof of rapidly rising sales with their own eyes, they somehow didn’t get it. Once my work at that location ended, they went back to their previous ways.  Why?  Perhaps someone somewhere in their food-chain didn’t want to change something that they liked?

But the point is, a Clayton store slated for closure, due to low sales and negative profits, was rapidly turned around into a money maker.

But even after those positive changes at a Clayton retail location were implemented, when I left that location, others that followed obviously undid them.

It isn’t just Clayton. I’m being clinical, and not ‘picking’ on them.  Facts are facts.

For a different example, I did a gig with a major community operator, prior to our launching MHProNews.  We took a closed sales center.  It has been closed by this big operation because of poor sales.  We reopened it for them, and rapidly got it turning new home sales.

Their home office was so impressed, their top people came to see first hand, and ask, ‘what are you doing that’s working so well?’

Your’s truly had a hearty conversation with some of that portfolio operations top brass.  At the end of that conversation, the top man, with his colleagues present, said words to this effect. ‘We’re a publicly traded company. It isn’t easy for us to make the kinds of changes that you propose.’

First of all, they came to talk to me, I didn’t call them.  They asked, I answered.  And for whatever reason, even after seeing the profitable results, they wanted to go back to their old ways. Interesting, isn’t it?


By the way…

…that former Clayton location that I did that turn around project for today has an independent retailer sitting on it.  Sad, avoidable, but insightful and all true.

Prospective customers want facts, just as businesses should.

Prospective customers want to be treated with respect, they don’t want to be ‘manhandled.’

Customers – especially well qualified ones – often come in with a level of skepticism or distrust. When a prospect doesn’t buy a manufactured home, it’s because questions or real life hurdles – at least in their own mind – were not addressed.

We don’t claim to know it all. But

  • we’ve taken more than enough previously successful locations, and working with others, made them even more successful.
  • We’ve also worked with previously failing sales at communities or retailers, shook a few things up, and they grew and profited more as a result.
  • Some people want moi – or our systems – to fit into some preconceived mental box. Sorry.  Its self evident that doing more of the same, gets you the same.

Anyone can read the kinds of things that past and present clients have said on LinkedIn, on videos, or elsewhere, so these are not empty claims without evidence.  The fact that we are still in business many think is a miracle. But common sense tells you, it is because we deliver: both in publishing, and on the professional services side too.


Habits – Right or Wrong – Make or Break You

Let me close part one of:

Power & Profit$ from Factual Sales & Marketing, Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Meeting – Part 1

…with a simple thought.

Habits are as necessary in manufactured home marketing and sales as they are in making good loans or building a good home. In lending and construction, good habits equal good results. It’s the weak habits, that need adjustments.


Learn more about the above, linked here.

It is often the outsider looking in that can identify a problem, and point out whatever is needed to fix performance outcomes. See the graphic posted below.


SometimesModestAdjustmentIsNeededToGetAroughSoundingENgineurringSmoothlyRunningEfficentlyButfirstIdnetifyThenREsolveCauseoftheProb lemsLATonyKovachQUote

Get your motor running smoothly and efficiently.

Home shoppers may or may not think, I want answers to such and such questions.’ But consciously or not, that’s exactly what well qualified buyers want.

The numbers of lost sales per location is often staggering.

Lost sales are often in the millions of dollars at retail a year, per location.

Take that outcome, and multiply it by the numbers or sales centers and communities, and it costs manufactured homes sellers collectively billions a year.


Investing in People and Processes Pays

Rephrased, investing in the correct marketing and sales pays off in fairly short order.

Let me refine that point.  Clayton, Cavco or the new Skyline-Champion could be selling billions of dollars a year in more product, if they were willing to make ethical changes.


Any number of illogical, emotional, ego, political or ‘we’ve always done it this way,’ kind of thinking has kept thousands of manufactured home operations from growing to their potential. It happens from small to large companies. Its obvious that if you want a different result, changes have to be made. But the data reflects that the changes are profitable.

That also means that smaller independentsgiven the right approach coupled with discipline – could grow their results, and over time, challenge the larger players.

As a-near-closing note, the impacts above apply similarly for sellers of modular homes.

There’s power and profits from factually-based marketing and sales.

Despite all the hoopla and drama, there are factual reasons why we are the most read trade media, and perhaps the most endorsed/recommended professional in all of manufactured housing. That’s not bragging, those are facts.

Ready to invest in common sense change, and grow?

Check your budget for consulting, marketing, training, and recruiting. Then, give me a call or send a message.  For those willing to make adjustments and stick with them in marketing and selling, the increased profit potential is nothing to sneeze at. ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

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

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

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Time, talent, treasure. Put your money, as we do, where your mouth is. Need professional services? Please consider calling us. Nobody does it better in MHVille, no one. Click here to learn more.

Related References:

Becoming a Standout Performer, Monday Morning Sales, Marketing Meeting


Trendlines Don’t Lie, Real Challenges, Hidden Manufactured Housing Opportunities Revealed

August 20th, 2018 Comments off


For the next few minutes, we will set aside the questions that routinely swirl around potential “Cause and Effects” of the data that follows. This report will focus instead on pure facts, trend-lines, and evidence.



For twenty (+/-) years, there’s been a growing need for quality affordable housing.

Up until 1998, manufactured housing (MH) was generally rising from its shipment levels in early-1990s.


After 1998, manufactured home sales began a long, steady decline that finally hit bottom in 2009-2010. There has been a slow, steady rise since that historic bottom.

By contrast, during that same timeframe, RV sales generally rose far more quickly. RVs went from lower shipment levels than MH in 1998, to surpassing MH in the years that followed.



During the so-called Great Recession circa 2008, RV sales dipped less, and recovered more quickly than manufactured home (MH) sales.

Both RVs and MHs bottomed out in 2009.  But the next year in MH, the industry was essentially flat. By contrast, RVs jumped roughly 50 percent 2009 to 2010.

Today, RVs outsell MHs by more than 5 to 1, per the sources and trend lines shown. That swing went from MH outselling RVs for years, and then RVs surpassed MH while this part of the factory built housing industry dropped.

These are dramatic facts, by any measure. A more detailed look at RVs vs. MH is at this link, which will also be found under related reports, linked at the end of this column, below.

Can anyone argue that RV sales growth has proven to be sustainable?  How to explain the sustainability comment of MHI President Richard “Dick” Jennison, in the short video clip, posted below?

That question asked, our focus in this column remains on facts, evidence and trendlines, not cause and effect. We’ll allow other published reports, some linked further below, to look at the Jennison question.


What About Conventional Housing?

Here’s the trend lines on new single-family housing starts.


What the data from publicly traded Skyline Champion (SKY) has revealed is that while the affordable housing crisis has grown, the manufactured housing industry’s share of total housing has dropped significantly. Inquiring minds – including advocates, researchers, investors, and housing pros –  should see these facts as opportunities in disguise, but also as a clear reflection of headwinds, seen or unseen.

Per Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE) with the National Association of Realtors, the graph below reflects the fluctuations in the percentage of MH shipments vs SF new and existing home sales.


The pre-HUD Code mobile home era saw peaks when some 1 out of every 6 housing units – new, existing, and MH – were factory built. The market share of all housing sales, per the chart, next peaked in 1982, when roughly when 1 out of 10 of all housing units sold was a HUD Code manufactured home. These facts reflect industry potential. But they also point to headwinds. A look at some of those forces behind those headwinds are round further below.

It must be noted that several manufacturers have confirmed for the Daily Business News on MHProNews that the percentage of shipments that are being sold for rental housing has risen since the advent of Obama Administration era Dodd-Frank rules that were implemented by the CFPB.


Other Vexing Indicators, and Opportunities in Disguise 

As the Daily Business News exclusively reported, if new manufactured home shipments into land-lease communities designed as rental housing are factored out, manufactured home shipments are essentially flat, or only a very small growth, compared to the low of 2009.

Several community operators that do rentals and sales have said that their new home sales declined after rentals were first implemented.

Those are anecdotal statements, and no specific data-driven studies of those claims are available to us at this time. With that noted, the number and high-level sources of such anecdotal statements must be considered.

Certainly, rentals in communities are a profitable business model.  But so is the traditional role of land-lease communities that have focused on owner occupied homesites.

While such trends ought to be concerns for some, they are also opportunities in disguise for those who address the underlying causes.

So when mainstream media gives positive news about manufactured housing, as Bloomberg did in the report referenced below, these are some of the background items that others may or may not be considering.

Bloomberg “New Home for $90,000? Manufactured Housing Is Making a Comeback” Reveals MH Media Challenge

Summing Up

All of these facts and trendlines must be considered in the light of an estimated 7.7 affordable housing shortage, per the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLICH) data.  

They should also be viewed through the lens of some 8.3 million housing unit shortages cited by the National Association of Realtor’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun, Ph.D. 

Let’s sum up what the data and trend lines above reflect.

  1. Manufactured housing is capable of rapid growth. Recall Rollohome, and the early 1990s data above.
  2. RVs clearly have outperformed MH since 2000. Yet RVs are for most a luxury, not a necessity like housing.
  3. RVs proved their ability to grow some 50 percent in a single year. While there are obvious differences between RVs and MHs, ramping up production is arguably similar for both industries. Put differently, the ability for manufactured housing to grow more rapidly ought to be clear as noontime on a cloudless day.

You could sum this up by saying, sustainable success for manufactured housing is possible.

Links below will be to more information on related reports to the selected data, referenced above. This is the first of a planned multiple part, fact based look at industry indicators and trendlines.  Make sure you are signed up for our industry leading emailed headline news, via the link below.  “MH Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use.” ©  ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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LATonyKovachMHanufacturedHomeLivingNewsManufacturedHousingProNewsConsultantIndustryExpertL. A. “Tony” Kovach and his wife Soheyla co-founded and publish the manufactured home


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

industry’s two leading trade media; Manufactured Home Living News ( and for business professionals and investors.

Kovach’s work has been featured in publications such as the Washington D.C.’s The Hill, Value Penguin, Chicago Sun Times, and a host of other media. He’s been involved in the manufactured home industry as a manager, high-volume retail center owner, consultant, and publisher for over 25 years. Kovach has likely interviewed more industry professionals, experts, and manufactured home owners, than anyone in U.S. news media.


1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews
2) To provide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

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Related Reports:


Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data

What RV Industry’s 2018, Prior Results Reveal for Manufactured Housing

Manufactured Housing Shipment Totals, June 2018

Sustainable Success. Your Best MH Investment? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales and Marketing Meeting


“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

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

Sustainable Success. Your Best MH Investment? Monday Morning Manufactured Housing Sales and Marketing Meeting

August 20th, 2018 Comments off



Every business or profession has certain essentials. Manufactured housing is no exception.


Here are some examples from MHVille.  

     A retailer needs inventory, and some place to sell from. 

     A community implies a location, that has home sites (‘lots’ or ‘pads,), streets, infrastructure, the means of collecting the agreed upon revenue, and managing the property.

     Factories likewise have a physical location, need materials, and components. 

     Lenders have a location, and must have a stream of capital from which to make loans.

     Installers and transporters need equipment, and a location for that equipment.  

All of these various segments of manufactured housing have locations. But they also require good people who are properly informed and motivated.

Rephrased, beyond the location, hard assets, and mandated items for a business, the next clear and pressing need are the right people with the desire and tools to do the work.

So it stands to reason that among the best investments anyone can make is in the recruitment, development and retention of their team members. 

In an era when the labor pool is tight, and people are more willing to change jobs, creating an atmosphere where people want to go to work, is rising in priority.



Click the above to learn more or register for the event, which is unrelated to the article.


Clear vs Fuzzy Thinking


Fuzzy thinking about MH among your team can cost you big time. What is the cost of your lost sales opportunities? Odds are it’s in the millions of dollars a year in retail volume at a good location.

Feed people the right information, the right ways, often enough, and you’ll discover that people want to learn more.

The catchphrase ‘learn, earn, and return’ has perhaps never been more timely. 

Researchers and our own experiences in recruiting, coaching and training all suggest that enthusiasm is both taught and caught by the right type of education. 

Enthusiasm, motivation, and being well informed – these are among the elements you want to find in your sales force.  


Lessons from an Industry Giant

We’ll do a specific breakdown later on this next nugget (make sure you are signed up for our emails, so you won’t miss it; sign up in seconds at this link here). But a graduate of Clayton’s sales school called to give us a briefing. 

The two points we’ll make today from that multiple part phone discussion about Clayton’s training is this.

1)        Clayton’s graduate praised the training.

2)        That in spite of what some (not just that one grad) thinks is the among the best training in the MH industry, Clayton has shut down about 100 net locations in roughly 7 years.

3)        You read that italicized line correctly. Who says? Kevin Clayton and their company’s self-stated data. Keep in mind they were adding new locations during that timeframe too. So that’s a net decline, implying the number of location closures is more than 100.

Ponder that for the next few moments. The industry’s elephant in the room, while shipments are rising, and the affordable housing crisis is raging, has closed some 100 (+/-) locations. 

Why? Its a huge question, isn’t it?

The primary reason for closures are not enough sales, which leads to not enough profits. It costs a lot to open a location, plus ongoing monthly expenses. So a closure is not done lightly.

There will be more insights on that topic when we publish that insider look at Clayton’s retail sales. Again, make sure you and your managers are signed up for the industry’s most read emailed headline news.

But here is a top line that reflects today’s headline.

Multiple billion dollar Clayton Homes knows that they have to formally train their people if they want be successful and grow.

State association executives, and lender’s field reps tell MHProNews that it is consistently the locations that invest the time, talent, and treasure in training that produces the best results.

There are and have been several trainers in the industry. But to our knowledge, there is sincerely no result that approaches that of our applied methods and systems.

The beauty of our method of marketing and sales coaching is this. In many cases, you can keep the best of what you already do, and include the new that we provide.

For those with a budget that want to learn more, click or call. Because one of you best investments is in the right system. No one else in MHVille has one like ours. Who says? Just listen to what those exposed to our training and talks have had to say.


The Next Best Thing? 

For those locations that have insufficient resources for contracted services, the debatably next best thing is plenty of study coupled with group discussions that are led by a seasoned professional. So get those sales team members on daily.

Yes, every business day, you should encourage your team to read at lest one article a day and view those accompanying videos on

There is no other resource quite like MHLivingNews in MHVille, period. Thanks to prior and current clients, it’s the best at teaching consumers – and thus front line staffers – about the realities vs. the misconceptions about mobile homes and manufactured housing.

Education is a key. Investment in your people are a must for sustainable success.

Clayton and other successful operations know it. We truly believe that ours educational and marketing methods are second to none. Listen to the video above, and you’ll get a small sense of why. To learn more, click, call or check out what’s below. “Innovation, Information, Inspiration for Industry Professionals.” ©   ## (Manufactured housing related marketing & sales news, analysis, and commentary.)

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

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

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:

Sign Up Today!EmailedMHProNewsHeadlineNewsDailyBusinessNews

Click here to sign up in 5 seconds for the manufactured home industry’s leading – and still growing – emailed headline news updates.



Time, talent, treasure. Put your money, as we do, where your mouth is. Need professional services? Please consider calling us. Nobody does it better in MHVille, no one. Click here to learn more.

Related References:

Becoming a Standout Performer, Monday Morning Sales, Marketing Meeting


Elvis and Priscilla Presley’s Honeymoon Mobile Home Auctioned Soon

August 15th, 2018 Comments off



It’s a shame that so many in the industry just don’t get it,” said an industry reader and client who tipped the auction of Elvis’ honeymoon mobile home to MHProNews.  “Manufactured home pros should celebrate the mobile home past, not run from it. Yes, we need the right terminology, and done correctly it would elevate the industry’s image.”


MHProNews and MHLivingNews previously reported on a prior sale of the home.

Judging from the current photos the auction house shared, the true pre-HUD Code mobile home looks to have been updated and rehabbed.


The auction tells MHProNews the same, describing the home like this: “Elvis & Priscilla Presley’s 60′ Two Bedroom Delta Mobile Home From Circle G Ranch W/All Paperwork (Recently Restored)


For a forward thinker with wit, some spare change, and an eye for marketing this could be a traffic magnet for a manufactured home sales center or land-lease community,” said publisher and consultant, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.



Click here to learn more about this upcoming wholesale event, which is not related to the story posted.

The auction will be held on Aug 25, 2018 10AM PDT, in Agoura Hills, CA, by GWS Auctions CA Bond#: 62520248.

A robust photo spread is planned for MHLivingNews this weekend. Watch for it, at this link here. ## (News, analysis and commentary.)

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Related Reports:

Elvis Presley’s Personal Mobile Home Restored, Honeymoon Hideaway Up for Auction


Elvis & Priscilla Presley Honeymooned in this Mobile Home


Becoming a Standout Performer, Monday Morning Sales, Marketing Meeting


“Thou Shall Not Steal,” $2 Trillion Annually Lost to Lack of Affordable Homes, Making the Manufactured Home Case

August 4th, 2018 Comments off


After years of arguably failed polite talk, perhaps more direct and blunt words are needed.


The logic of research economists Chang-Tai Hsieh and Enrico Moretti is that improper land use policies are costing the nation some $2 trillion dollars a year.


See the Daily Business News report on that topic, at this link here. It includes a download of their research.

The reasoning of National Association of Realtors (NAR) Chief Economist Lawrence Yun is that only more and faster new construction will fix the housing affordability issue.


Collage by MHProNews.

It is this Daily Business News on MHProNews writer’s understanding, Dr. Yun prompted Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, Certified Business Economist (CBE) to research manufactured homes. Among her 30 pages of reports, charts, and data include the following.



See more of her research, at this link here.


The logic of Trulia’s research, summarized by the data in the graphic below, supports that of the research economists above. Affordable housing has negligible impact on all other housing nearby. Both forms of housing are growing in value, side by side.


The Trulia research reinforces what HUD’s PD&R on manufactured homes (MH) found, that MH appreciated side by side with conventional housing.

But what if that affordable housing are manufactured homes? Do manufactured homes harm property values for neighboring conventional housing?

The university level research that HUD commissioned in their PD&R report preceded the Trulia study. It looked at manufactured homes as infill in cities, right next door to conventional site built, single family homes.

The results?

Housing values of both conventional homes and the manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side.


The research from multiple cities documented that manufactured homes appreciated side-by-side with conventional housing. The findings are similar to what Trulia’s study learned.

The summary of the logic of the third-party researched facts are overwhelming when laid out side-by-side like this.

But the irony is that Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies researcher Eric Belsky came to the conclusion over 16 years ago that manufactured homes where likely to surpass conventional housing in production. No doubt for the kind of reasons Cororaton more recently cited.


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


Richard Genz did research prior to the statement by Harvard’s Belsky, making the case for manufactured home quality and durability in a study for the Fannie Mae Foundation.


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

So what happened?  Why were Genz and Belsky – the obvious logic of their clear view that manufactured homes deserved support and were bound to grow – why were their visions not realized?

How is it possible than when manufactured homes (MH) – by law – must perform dynamically the same as conventional housing in safety, durability and energy savings – and when MH costs less, why aren’t more HUD Code homes being sold?



Fresh Facts, Figures, Future of Affordable Housing -Comparisons- Conventional Site-Built v Mobile/Manufactured Home Industry Data


The simple answer is that a variety of seemingly unrelated forces have been at play.

Those forces included, but where not necessarily limited to:

–   ignorance,

–   prejudice,

–   greed,

–   political and regulatory pressures, fostered by the above,

–   and perhaps a failure to put all these facts back-to-back, to see reality vs. outdated perceptions. Fear and falsehoods were allowed to drive too many people’s thinking.

President Gerald Ford said prior to the HUD Code that the “mobile home” industry would always be necessary. It was market-based affordable homes, that routinely required no taxpayer subsidizes.

U.S. President Praised “The Mobile Home Industry,” Manufactured Homes are “Here to Stay”

Failure to heed that observation caused city after city on “both coasts” and the interior of the U.S. to lose decades of opportunities for more housing affordability.

The upshot?

Growing homelessness, including vehicular homelessness.

“Vehicular Homelessness” Rising, Land Use, and Manufactured Housing Policies


The answer being sought by many among the politically connected is to build more subsidized housing. In fact, for over 50 years, those housing programs have proven to be unable to keep up with the ever rising demand. The Heritage Foundation estimated that those social programs – which included subsidized housing – cost the nation some $22 trillion dollars in 5 decades.

That’s virtually the same amount as the national debt.

Isn’t it lunacy to continue doing more of the same self-evident failures? Why not turn to the proven solution?  Why not use free market driven investments by entrepreneurs vs. tax dollars?



What’s Missing in the Data? Real Harm to Real People

We as a society can’t change what’s happened. But we can learn from it. Perhaps the data needs to be humanized?  Do we need poster children to show what’s happened, and how that’s harmed Americans?

Almost every retailer who has sold a manufactured home direct to the public for at least a year has encountered the following scenario. Often numerous times.

A single, couple or family/household owns or wants to buy a manufactured home for a piece of property. But a local official stops that placement. Isn’t that using the force of law to rob people of the opportunity to own an affordable home?

The non-profit Equal Justice thinks so, and successfully sued a town on that issue. They are now suing another city.

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

What does that process of denying Americans affordable housing actually cost such persons or families?

More personal wealth.  Keep in mind that HUD Secretary Carson spent some time in 2017 telling people that home owners had an average net worth of some $200,000, while the average renting household only has $5000 net worth.

The logic of Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Professor Kenneth Johnson’s research indicates that manufactured home ownership may yield the most wealth for a household. The lower the cost of the housing, for a disciplined saver/investor, the greater the potential for other investments, thus increasing personal wealth.


FAU’s Ken Johnson made an eye opening point that applies to manufactured homes in terms of the ability for manufactured homes to help build more personal wealth

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) and Cororaton’s research both demonstrated that manufactured homes are the lowest cost form of permanent housing. Less than rent, and even when higher rates and shorter loan terms, manufactured homes dramatically lower price yields the lowest monthly payments.


But we can put a face, a family, to this snapshot.

The Rev. Donald Tye, Jr. said that their affordable pre-HUD Code factory-built home made it possible for he and his wife to do things for their family they could not have done any other way.  Tye told MHProNews that planners are missing out on the many social and economic benefits that affordable home ownership provides.


He also addressed the lost tax benefits, as well as the prejudice against manufactured homes, and the misuse of terminology like this.


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


Mark Weiss, JD, weighed in on that same point, saying the the use of the t-word is offensive to millions.


A poet who sold her conventional housing to buy a manufactured home was shocked at the prejudice generated by others.

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

There are letters-after-letters, stories-after-stories that have a similar refrain.  Here’s a pair of others.

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

Trade Publisher, Experts call for Respect, Understanding for Manufactured Housing, Manufactured Home Owners

Part of what should have been learned in recent decades is that there is a huge cost to taking opportunities from others. That arguably becomes a form of theft.  Thus the commandment that most faiths believe to be true – “thou shall not steal” – reasonably applies.

It includes mobile and manufactured home community owners who in various jurisdictions are increasingly being told that they can’t replace an older home with a new one. What?

“Unconstitutional Taking,” “Gentrification on Trial” in Recent Oak Hill Manufactured Home Community Ruling

A state supreme court ruling in one case was described by an attorney as an “unconstitutional taking.” That community owner won. But how much time and effort did it cost that community owner to be allowed to use their own land as a place where affordable home ownership can occur for families?  Those legal costs have to be passed onto others, those who live in those affordable manufactured homes.

Time and again – however well intended the local policies may be – the net result is that it is costing millions opportunities for more affordable home ownership.


The High Cost of Ignorance and Prejudice

This writer told a group of business professionals last year in Deadwood that manufactured homes were the civil rights issue of our times. That message was applauded by those who know first-hand how difficult it can be to sell a manufactured home, and get it safely installed on an appropriate permanent site and foundation.



Tony Kovach doing a presentation in a packed room of industry professionals.  The essence of the talk was the importance of educating people locally about the truths regarding modern manufactured homes.

The logic of these facts is this.

$2 trillion dollars a year is lost in GDP – that’s the cost of ignorance and prejudice against manufactured homes in America.  Take 326 million Americans, divide it into $2 trillion dollars lost annually, and that’s like $6,134.97 per man, woman and child.

For a family of four, that’s $24,539.88 in lost U.S. GDP.

It’s an avoidable loss, and can be fixed by a proper understanding coupled with the application of existing laws, as you will see below.


Terminology Matters

People wrongly believe the terminology for factory built homes is optional. It’s not. The correct terminology is a matter of law – the code which a home was built to meet.


After more than fifty years of short-sighted and prejudiced thinking, it’s decades past the time that modern manufactured homes be seen for what they are.  It’s time to stop cherry-picking exceptional tales, and to look at the broad facts.


To see the report on tornadoes and manufactured homes, click here.


Manufactured homes are the solution for the affordable housing crisis that’s hiding in plain sight. It must be noted that modular and other forms of factory home building can all perform a vital part of the solution to America’s costly affordable housing crisis.

But because of the genius of the HUD Code, setting national standards with regional requirements, much of the harm caused by local regulators is avoided with manufactured homes.


Every photo above is a manufactured home.  For newcomers to the website not familiar with modern manufactured homes, learn more by clicking the image above or the link here..


Solutions? Parallel Path One

The former chairman of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), Tim Williams, President and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway owned 21st Mortgage, said the following.

People cited in this column today might later say something different, perhaps because they may (errantly) believe that money tempts them to do so.  Some back off due to other pressures.

But they can’t unring the bell on what they’ve already said.

A consistent theme of MHProNews and MHLivingNews for years has been the need to honestly and sustainably grow the industry. We have never advocated, for example, for the kind of poor lending practices that led to the post-1998 nosedive of manufactured home sales.

Education – sound information are a key step.  21st’s Williams was right, and so was Frank Rolfe, who said that the media must be engaged with the truth when errant information crops up.



Solution – Parallel Path 2 – The Logic of Sound, Sustainable Lending

Lenders are protected when home values are protected.

Home values are protected and enhanced by demand and sound lending.

Sound and profitable lending is good for business, good for people, and good for the economy.

Good information – vs. prejudice or short-sighted thinking for whatever motivations – is how bigoted influences are pushed out.  This is how information and sound lending, parallel paths, can support each other, as a train running on a track is supported by parallel rails.


Manufactured Housing Appreciation?

The Urban Institute, and the National Association of Realtors ® have both reported what MHProNews and MHLivingNews has said for years. Manufactured homes can and do appreciate. But why are there times that they don’t rise in value?

First, all housing rises and falls in value for much the same reasons.

I’m not speaking for ‘Gay’ Cororaton when I share my take on a conversation this writer and she had a few weeks ago. I asked her about the economic logic of the following

Home appreciation is fueled by the following factors.

  • Location,
  • Condition of the home (maintenance, appearance),
  • Demand for housing,
  • Local economic factors (wages, employment opportunities, etc.), and
  • the availability of reasonable lending. Other points could be mentioned too, but those are key ones.

So, if any of those factors are reduced or eliminated, then the value would be lessened. Think about conventional housing post 2008, lending dried up, housing dropped in value.

My understanding was that she agreed with those principles.  My hunch is most objective thinkers and economists would too.

That being so, consider this.

Because manufactured homes have had lending options artificially reduced due to the absence of robust support from the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, then to some degree, that will influence resale values. Again, my understanding was that she agreed with that premise.

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

In our comments letter to HUD, we stressed that since the GSEs were arguably not doing their job, that FHA could step up to the plate, as should VA and USDA (Rural Housing) loans.

Now, let’s rephrase that to make the following point.

For decades, the GSEs have resisted lending on manufactured homes. Fannie Mae’s highly touted MH Advantage is arguably another artful dodge, as it forces manufactured home builders to meet additional criteria beyond what the HUD Code mandates.


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

Who worked with Fannie Mae on that MH Advantage program? Our sources say, past and current members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

Why would MHI argue for a so-called “new class” of manufactured homes – where there is no data or track record – when there is decades of data and track record that proves the value of millions of units of HUD Code manufactured homes?


Collage by MHProNews.

That was the logic of Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform.

Rephrased, who benefits, and who is harmed by this questionable ploy between MHI and the GSEs?

Hold that thought for latter.

Because the bottom line is this. Manufactured homes have proven their value. Their value would logically be enhanced, given a proper understanding of their safety, quality and durability.


Two Types of HUD Code Manufactured Homes?

This writer has told people for years that there are broadly speaking, entry level manufactured homes, and residential style manufactured homes.  Both styles must meet the safety, energy and construction standards set forth by federal law under HUD and the DOE.

When you go shopping for a vehicle, there’s a wide array of sizes and styles to select from.  There are entry level cars, mid-range, and luxury ones too. That can be said about cell phones vs. smart phones, RVs, laptops, or most any product one cares to consider.

So, with manufactured homes, it is similar. If all you’ve seen are entry level manufactured homes, then you need to see a residential style one.


One must stress that any and all manufactured homes must all meet HUD’s safety, energy, and durability standards. From the least costly, all manufactured homes (MH) get consumer protection not found in conventional housing that costs many times the price. It was the MH industry that fought for that legislation – MHARR MHI, and states like Texas too – as part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000.


Credits are as shown, collage by

But another key part of the MHIA of 2000 was enhanced preemption. That enhanced preemption is the key to unlocking $2 Trillion dollars a year in increased GDP for the U.S. This needs 5 stars next to this point.

Put differently, there is no need to wait for local jurisdictions across the land to get a backbone, or learn the truth the obliterates their ignorance, prejudices, sweetheart deals to favored developers, etc.

All that’s needed is for HUD to enforce existing law.  Enhanced preemption for manufactured homes is already the law of the land.

Let’s say that again for emphasis. All that’s needed is for HUD to enforce existing law.  Because the MHIA of 2000 preemption protects the rights of everyday Americans to buy and safely install a manufactured home on any buildable property.

We don’t need decades of battles, or more studies. The logic and the realities have been hiding in plain sight for years.


The Urban Institute’s Vital 2018 Question

Urban Institute researchers in a January 2018 report came to some similar points about manufactured homes, appreciation, and related. They asked a key question. Why aren’t more manufactured homes being sold, when they are a proven part of the solution to the affordable housing crisis?  Here’s how they phrased it, in the caption above “We Follow the Money.”


What they didn’t say was as important as what they did say.

One researcher was Edward Golding, who used to work for HUD. That wasn’t disclosed in their report. Golding had Pam Danner, JD, periodically report to him. Danner was the Administrator for what the Washington Post called the “once obscure” Office of Manufactured Housing Programs (OMHP).

Greener, Stylish Manufactured Homes – Hidden Facts in the Washington Post Manufactured Housing Narrative

Which begs this question. Why didn’t Golding and others at the Urban Institute mention enhanced preemption in their reporting on manufactured homes?

After all, zoning, economic prejudice, and enhanced preemption all intersect.

When manufactured home businesses and state association executives from coast to coast say that zoning/land use/placement are key issues, how could Golding or the Urban Institute fail to mention enhanced preemption?

Hold that thought. Because another undisclosed fact was the connection of Warren Buffett as a lifetime trustee for the Urban Institute. It’s mentioned on the big Urban Institute site, if you got hunting for it. But there was no disclosure on the article that Golding and his fellow researchers published on the topic.


Urban Institute Ask for Correction in Analysis of their Manufactured Housing Research, “Follow the Facts,” “Follow the Money”

Nor did the Urban Institute mention that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) helped forge their paper. A source at the Urban Institute told us that “anonymity” was promised to MHI and Clayton, for their role in crafting their report.


Since when do non-profits and university level style researchers not state their sources? Since when are possible conflicts-of-interests not disclosed by nonprofits or researchers in publishing their findings?


Smoking Guns…?

Eric Belsky made another statement about housing that very much applies to the question the Urban Institute asked.


It’s a statement that most every manufactured home retail or community professional who experienced the slide from 1998 to 2008 know all too well. For more on Belksy, and MH, click here.


Let’s go back to what Belsky and Genz said over 15 years ago. Belsky expected manufactured homes to advance, so did Genz.

Why didn’t they?

Short answer, lending was choked off. Absent enough lending to supports home sales, there will be fewer manufactured homes sold. Duh, right?


Kenny Lipschutz, Home First Certified Communities.

Absent a level playing field on lending or resales, manufactured homes are placed at a disadvantage in resale values.

Another issue is appraisals. Thousands of appraisers misunderstand manufactured homes. But that too is and educational issue, noted here as a placeholder.

So, we see the need for factual, evidenced and reason-based thinking about manufactured homes. Among the best-informed investors is arguably Warren Buffett. He reads and reads, per his own statements, and that of others who know him.

So why did Belsky miss his projection about manufactured housing achieving dominance in production over conventional builders by 2010? Arguably, the short answer is that Belsky did not count on Warren Buffett entering the industry in 2003. Belsky didn’t count on what Berkshire Hathaway did, as they began to deploy the Buffett strategic “Moat.”


Who speaks of “the moat?” Warren Buffett explains his principles of “the Moat” in a video on the page linked below. So does Kevin Clayton, in a separate video also found below.  Clayton says in his own words in that video that “Warren” stresses widening “the Moat” against competitors on a routine basis.


Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection


The Truth is Not Political

We believe that truth is apolitical, but political officials may use – misuse, ignore, or abuse – the truth.

A closer look at the problem of why there is not more manufactured housing being sold can be summed up by the notion of the impact of failure to educate, and monopolistic practices. Who says?

GuruFocus and the Seattle Times.


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


Progressive “Nation” Reports on Monopolies Cites Buffett, Clayton, Others – MH Industry Impact?

And the evidence that manufactured housing’s ascendancy was derailed by forces within the industry is found in part with documents and quotes from Berkshire owned 21st Mortgage, Warren Buffett’s own words, and Berkshire dominated MHI’s own chart.

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

Thousands lost their businesses, and millions arguably lost the opportunities to benefit from manufactured home ownership. It’s cost taxpayers a fortune, that can be measured in the trillions of dollars in losses to the GDP, and avoidable costs to federal taxpayers.

How Many MH Independents, Retailers Have Been Lost Recently? “They Think They Own Us”


The Problem of the One Percent

We won’t hype the issue of the 1 percent, nor understate it.

What this will propose that may be unique is a free enterprise solution to the problem of the one percent. It’s this. De facto monopolistic forces are at work in manufactured housing, and in other parts of the economy, such as the tech giants.  Apply the logic of the NY Stern professor to manufactured housing, and it is just as apt as it is when applied to the world of the tech giants.

We’ll let Professor Scott Galloway make his case in tech.


“Winners and Losers,” L2 Founder, Prof Scott Galloway on Monopolies

But for those who believe that monopolistic forces harm Americans, we can point to voices as politically separated as Senator Ted Cruz and Congresswoman Maxine Waters.

If we start listening to the factual points – vs. the opinions or spin – of what others are saying, those facts can lead someone to the root issues.  Facts are what is.  Opinions and interpretations are a dime a dozen.

The opportunity to use evidence, facts, and objective reasoning to discover the underlying causes – and thus the cures – of the affordable housing crisis is possible.  Keep in mind, that sooner or later, monopolies arguably harm workers and consumers.


Does Monopoly Power Impact Workers’ Stagnant Wages? MH Industry Impact$


The irony may be this. Aren’t even monopolists harmed by what they create?  Think about that $2 trillion a year in lost GDP.

Regardless, society as a whole is harmed, and that is why anti-trust laws exist.

Lawsuits for Triple Damages – Anti-Trust, Anti-Monopoly Law, Manufactured Housing, and You


The Fix is Applying Existing Laws

There is no need for years of delays in hearings or more studies.

Antitrust laws debatably need to be applied to Berkshire Hathaway, and to all others in business who’ve become invasive, as Galloway said.

The Smoking Gun 3 documents, facts and related quotes from officials who are part of Berkshire speak for themselves.  It would be difficult for them to unsay, what they’ve already said that arguably proves they are monopolistic.

MHI and Berkshire Hathaway has been given repeated opportunities to respond to any of these concerns.  Rather than respond, instead of debating the merits or misses in this reading of the facts, they’ve tried a variety of other tactics.  But if they could easily disprove this, why haven’t they?  Those from Berkshire brands who once praised us, now sit in silence as we publish reports like this one. Why?


Part of several messages for publication by Tim Williams to MHProNews. MHI’s president praised us for some years to, as this mirthful short demonstrates. 

MHI should be scrutinized for fostering the conditions that allowed manufactured housing to be derailed from what Belsky thought was a bright future. Some who see the problems outlined herein hold out hope that MHI can be redeemed. This writer – based upon sources, evidence and past history – believes that people can change, but that said, the evidence is that MHI’s leadership isn’t changing.  Thus, they need to be exposed, and supplanted with something entirely new.

MHARR does its job, but an MHI award winner says that MHI works only for the “the big boys.”


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?


I’ve said for years that pretty pictures alone are not enough to convince people of the truth about manufactured homes, and what it can do to transform for the better millions of lives.


Education is the answer. Refuting false claims must be part of that educational process.  People aer entitled to their opinions, but not to their own facts.

Understanding the issues are can help avoidable for others the tragedies caused by ignorance, greed and the evidenced based factors alleged herein. Millions of Americans have been robbed of what they could have had, instead of subsidized housing, or a life of rental, give people the information and opportunity to increase their personal wealth through affordable home ownership.

There are numerous voices that have blasted MHI’s hypocrisy. The one above is just one of many.

It’s time for the disinfectant of sunlight to cure what decades of ignorance, private agendas, monopolistic forces, and prejudice has caused.

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

It’s time for the truth that’s been hiding in plain sight.

The reward is $2 trillion dollars in enhanced GDP annually, just by applying existing law.

The reward is that affordable home ownership could would do for millions of all colors and creeds.

Let’s stop robbing people of the possibility of a brighter future.  That theft has debatably occurred by misusing government and economic power.

Rather, lets allow existing laws to go to work, so that Americans select the home of their dreams, wherever they have a buildable home-site. More can be learned from the links from this article, but that’s enough said for today. “We Provide, You Decide.” ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

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

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