Posts Tagged ‘Moat’

Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance – Investor Lessons Learned

May 11th, 2019 Comments off



The past is prologue ideally to be learned from. When an error is made, it could be ignored, covered up, or deflected by some razzle-dazzle style head-fake. Or an error can be admitted, addressed, amends made as possible, and then one can advance with head held high.



The Daily Business News on MHProNews pondered separating these three Berkshire Hathaway owned company snapshots.  But Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corp, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) are so interconnected, and the lessons learned for investors and MHVille pros are so interrelated, that it made more sense to do this as one overview article that acts as a hub to several other linked reports.

With that said, let’s note that the nature of a con is that someone is deceived by some form of ruse. The goal of the ruse or con is to separate ‘the Mark(s)’ – the targeted victim(s) – from something valuable.

The hypothetical case for a con job in manufactured housing only requires a few people to be in the know. Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and Tim Williams would logically be among those purportedly in on such a con job that rigs the market by using political connections, nonprofits, financing, stirring up bad news, and other means.

The vast majority who work with or for those three people have no need to know. Hundreds or thousands in their employ might be terrific personally, and unaware of the ploy. One must be fair and separate wheat from chaff.

So, for surrogates of the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis who scoff at “conspiracy theories,” they are either ignorant pawns, lack discernment, are liars, part of the head-fake, or cowardly sycophants – take your pick. By the way, linking some doesn’t mean or imply that there aren’t others.  There are some mouthpieces that arguably clean up their act better than others do.


The Elephant in The Room

The content and links herein set the stage for almost everything else that matters in manufactured housing today vs. 20 years ago.  To understand an industry, one must grapple with the realities of the elephant in the room.

After repeated and documented offers to leaders at Clayton, 21st, VMF, and MHI to clarify, correct any factual errors or offer an alternative explanation, they’ve remained silence.  That’s not proof that what is found herein or that is linked is correct.  But given that we have faithfully quoted Warren Buffett, Tim Williams, and Kevin Clayton at length and in their own words, that’s a good indicator that we are onto something significant.  The fact that we are the most read means something too.




Regular readers who already know that definitive report linked above on MHLivingNews backwards and forward, know that the evidence to support the allegations of manufactured home market-rigging with related antitrust violations are compelling.

Who says? Numerous everyday industry professionals, but also attorneys, including those into antitrust law.

Furthermore, as noted, we’ve given repeated opportunities to

  • the Claytons,
  • Tim Williams/21st,
  • MHI,
  • their attorneys,
  • and the MHI’s outside attorney assigned to ‘deal’ with us on MHI’s behalf

chances to respond in writing or live in public. No direct replies in the last year from them have denied or explained away any of our fact-checks or reports.  But there have been plenty apparent ‘over the target’ reactions from their surrogates like ones linked here and here, etc.

There are also lesser-known surrogates that have allegedly been used by the axis.  We see no value to mentioning them now.  There has also been legal saber rattling, and other ploys we won’t dive into today.  Clearly, they’ve not been successful in deterring our reports, fact-checks, and analysis.

Before making the investment case for manufactured housing, let’s make the Manufactured Housing Case as a prime solution for the well-known affordable housing crisis in brief.  Because in a housing industry that does well over a trillion dollars a year in business, the potential for manufactured housing could well be over $100 billion a year, not the paltry under $8 billion achieved in 2018.  Manufactured homes are the most proven form of affordable housing.




As you ponder motivation for doing what Buffett and his brothers in MHVille are doing or why, ponder the business potential reflected below every few years. There are few if any industries that have more upside.  You can quickly see why someone who thinks long term could be willing to accept millions of lower profits now, in order to gain billions more later, right?



U.S. housing sales are about a 1.67 trillion a year business in 2018.





Making the Case for Manufactured Homes

This week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson has made a fine summary case for manufactured housing.  It is linked below.



Oddly, as of 9:30 ET on this date, that speech by Sec. Carson – delivered to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in New Orleans – is not found on the MHI website. That’s significant and is part of a wider pattern, as will be reflected later.




Over the years on our 2 industry-leading trade media sites, we’ve complied decades of federal, non-profit, university-level, and other third-party research.  Recently, we took some of the best or most significant of those items and published them at the link below.



Properly understood, that third party research plus Secretary Carson’s comments, collectively make a compelling fact-based case for manufactured homes.  The common concerns about manufactured homes are routinely and readily debunked.  That can be done by using non-MH industry sponsored research.



The quote is from a doctoral dissertation that used reams of university-level, peer reviewed research. Dr. Tyler was invited by this writer to participate in various panels. Her work merits attention.  Which begs the question, why didn’t MHI invite or promote her work?


Once more, those research documents are routinely not to be found on the MHI Website. Why not?



MHProNews has been spotlighting this issue for months, of MHI not proving useful research on their website. The decline in shipments continues. Perhaps if they are embarrassed publicly long and often enough, they will finally do something common sense that gets to the heart of the industry’s challenges? Until then, as of the date/time shown, there are numerous, useful, third-party research reports that are not to be found on the MHI website.


Three of those more recent linked reports, pardon the plug, happen to name me and/or one of our publications in a footnote or acknowledgement. It’s not bragging when it is true. It is important to note as it acknowledges our expertise in this realm.  So too does the praise by many of the same professionals we’ve been compelled by evidence to now critique. It is evidence of several reasons why MHProNews/MHLivingNews and this writer should be taken seriously, because the opposition does.

Sometimes, you are better known by those who oppose you.

That segue aside, there’s over twenty years of research that makes the compelling case for manufactured housing.

Which begs the questions. Why doesn’t MHI have all this potentially useful research on their website? Or Clayton on theirs?  Again, perhaps they will at some point – out of pressure – finally do the obvious.  But as of the date of this report, such research was absent on the MHI website. Let’s consider a related issue to the point that Dr. Tyler’s quoted comment could address, if it was being used.


Why has MHI for some time failed to mention Enhanced Preemption?  By contrast, why does the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) website have several mentions of the same topic?



Both sources with MHI, and MHI’s outside counsel, have stated that they monitor our website. They’ve been asked directly about this issue. No changes. Given the issues the industry faces on zoning and placement, why are they allowing one of the best arguments to go unused? This was rechecked at 2:58 PM ET, on 5.11.2019. Same result.





The answers, the evidence suggests, is because the first – MHI – postures promoting manufactured homes. They do enough promotion to be able to say that they promote. The second trade group – MHARR – isn’t marketing focused, they are federal regulatory focused, but often have powerful facts useful for researchers and marketers alike.

However one wants to spin it, MHI and Clayton are either ineffective, and/or nowhere achieving their capabilities or capacity. How is it possible that a fairly modest organization like our LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to MHProNews and MHLivingNews – are doing more effective promotions than far bigger and better funded operations do? Why are we able to achieve local results that blows their results away? Why has Clayton purchased locations that we’ve performed coaching and business development services at?  These are a few interesting questions we will allow to hang out for now.

Keep in mind that the Berkshire Hathaway brands of Clayton Homes, 21st, and VMF dominate MHI through dues, via influence on their executive committee, their sway at the state association level, and also via their influence over several individual members.

Yesterday, we did a similar but shorter report on Nathan Smith of SSK Communities. Thousands of industry professionals have already flocked to that report. Smith and SSK have reportedly done business with Clayton and 21st for years.


Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, Manufactured Housing Institute Leader, Profitably Correcting the Record


Rephrased, the Arlington, VA based MHI to a high degree does whatever their Omaha-Knoxville master’s and their ‘big boy’ colleagues want. An award-winning MHI success story has said as much. No questions need to be asked, no explanation of a plot has to be shared; if a directive is given by the powers that be, a directive is followed.

Simple. Easy.

Ergo, there is no need for a conspiracy, when raw power working quietly in the daylight will do.  It is entirely plausible that some at MHI or elsewhere in other nonprofits had no clue as to how they were being used.  They may well have had plausible deniability, that is, until they read about it here on MHProNews and/or on MHLivingNews. 

Frankly, given their deep pockets, it is stunning that they’ve not already sued us, even if they arguably have no valid case against us.  Either way, the as yet unchallenged evidence linked is published for readers like you to ponder and discern for yourself.


Third Party Investor Research

There are routine contacts of our operation from a variety of sources. Among the investor contacts was one that indicated they’d studied the kind of ‘strategies and tactics’ employed by Buffett and the Claytons – but they witnessed that in other industries first.  To that operation, what they’ve read here and on our sister site MHLivingNews is stating the obvious.  To them, it is part of the broader pattern of monopoly power being exercised in America.

But that knowledge of their tactics is not deterring them from advancing their own plans in factory-built housing. They believe they can outperform the Claytons. Hold that thought.

About two years ago, MHProNews floated the notion that Amazon could easily enter factory-built housing industry. They were already promoting the sales of container housing.  Last year, Amazon started that process of directly entering factory-home building via their Alexa Fund investment in Plant Prefab.  See the quotes in the infographic above.

SoftBank’s support for modular builder Katerra is noteworthy too. They could, in theory, rapidly rival Clayton in a few years.

Google is experimenting with modular at their own offices.  Other ex- or current-Silicon Valley giants are exploring the industry too.

We won’t go through a litany of other poised to get in, because some of those contacts have asked for anonymity as they prepare their own launches.  To show the flip side, there are investors like Robert Robotti, who for some time cheered manufactured homes.  He’s cooled since.  But my hunch is he didn’t grasp the undercurrents.  Robotti may not have read between the lines on MHI’s now exited president and CEO, in his parting message to the industry.


“Out-Performing the Market” Robert Robotti, Value Investing, and Manufactured Housing

But the examples shown reveal that there are those who ‘get it’ about factory-home building. From more modest investors who are thinking in terms of placing a few million into the mix – up to giant-sized firms or investment groups that could enter with a splash – there are several who ‘get it.’

Some in their own words have said that they want to set themselves apart by being ‘white hat’ firms in the manufactured, modular, or prefabricated industry, vs. the ‘black hats’ that posture being a ‘white hat.’


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


What hat color does Buffett’s brands sport?

Let’s share some screen captures, thirds-party videos, and  links to our own research to allow our readers to answer that question for themselves. Because while vexing to the industry, it spells opportunities in disguise for those who grasp nettles.




Before diving in, here’s the bottom line for investors.  Clayton and Berkshire’s MH brands, per sources, posture nice, but can play rough.  You as an investor must be willing to fight that fight. Current industry pros, the same thing holds true.


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


But here is the huge potential takeaway for savvy investors with chutzpah.  There are already good laws on the books that if enforced would ‘unchain’ manufactured housing.  For those that need an expert = who want to do a White Hat operation = and can budget for that role to guide that process successfully, click here.



To sum up, the potential to earn millions to billions in manufactured housing exists. One can make the argument that Clayton/MHI and other nonprofits have allowed and/or deliberately stirred up bad news to suppress and understanding of the industry. The opportunities are so big, they wanted to hide them in plain sight.  That logically helps explain why useful or good news is hidden from the public on the MHI or Clayton sites. To learn more, click the article linked above and below.



Having teed this up, let’s review the evidence for ‘black hat’ activities alleged by others against Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes, or their lenders. Because what that reveals is this. Those willing to invest, mix it up, and be the white hat in specific markets can demonstrably jump ahead rapidly.  Because there is a hunger for affordable housing.  The evidence supports HUD Code manufactured housing’s value.

A few power players may be keeping their foot on the industry’s brakes, in order to consolidate more of manufactured housing at a discount.  But have they overplayed their hand?


“Kevin…the Problem of Your Industry…”



Are they now stuck, having their grand scheme revealed here?



Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing


Investors must weigh the pros and cons of that evidence for themselves, but we are presenting a sampling of the evidence of purported black hat activity, which in the light of the video posted below, reveals the value of what white hat activity could achieve. Note, we’ve since parted ways with the videographer that produced this for us – my bad for not checking his credentials more closely.

That said, the value of this video is significant on several levels to investors, skeptics, the pubic – and us too.  Note how Jim Clayton finished this video?  Is this among the reasons why the ‘big boys’ have rattled sabers, but have not in fact acted legally?



Let’s sample some pro Clayton videos they’ve made or spotlighted themselves, and then contrast those with videos by others.



Clayton Homes Third Party Videos

To be fair, here is a video that Clayton produced. It’s a fine video.  It purports to address the image issue.  Published on Sep 1, 2017, it has had as of this morning 8,985 views this morning, per their YouTube page, which said the following.

Clayton Unveils Have It Made Campaign: Clayton, one of the largest home builders in America, is kicking off its biggest marketing campaign to date focused on how its building process can help provide affordable housing to hardworking families.”



Let’s contrast that Clayton video with a customer-produced video posted by Ted Davis and published on Apr 7, 2017. Also as of this morning, Davis’ video had 22,738 views.  Keep in mind Davis has done more than one such video, as have scores of other Clayton, 21st or VMF customers.

Here’s what Davis said on the YouTube page. For first time visitors, bear in mind that on MHProNews and MHLivingNews we often turn direct quotes bold and brown, to make them pop. Otherwise, the text is as in the original.


My Clayton Manufactured Home Features .. Fake Studs

We bought a Clayton Manufactured Home summer of 2015. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was what was available. It would appear that Warren Buffet owns Clayton, and they have bought up several lesser mobile home companies, removing a lot of competition.

If you listen to Clayton, they want you to think they have a quality product, and they say they will stand behind it. So far, they have fixed a few things for us.

However, if they actually had a quality product, the repairs would NOT have been necessary. They say their product is built to HUD standards. HUD must have way different standards for mobile homes vs. site built.

Check my videos of things we have had problems with.

  • Plumbing … bad faucets, leaking pipes, pipes that fell off at a touch. The master bath tub faucets weren’t even connected to any pipes.
  • Wiring … I have never seen hardware like this before. Strange light fixtures, plugs, and switches.
  • Doors … I have discovered that the interior doors seem to be made of cardboard, as well as the door frames. Also some don’t fit right.
  • Interior studs … they are fake, little bits and pieces glued together.
  • Sheetrock … less than a half inch
  • Assembly is with tons of staples and some glue. I haven’t found any framing nails yet.
  • The lids on the toilets were cheap plastic. One broke when I sat on it the first day in the house. I now have real, wood, lids.
  • The house was supposed to have compact fluorescent lights installed. Didn’t have any. Not a single one.
  • They DID get us really nice decks, front and back, including a wheelchair ramp on the front one.”




For newcomers to manufactured housing, please note that there are legitimate answers to the issues and concerns that Davis raised.  Why weren’t they addressed?  Does Clayton want the blowback, so that more decide not to buy a manufactured home at this time?

The most common sense reputation defenses are often not followed by Clayton.  Why not, given Buffett’s statements about defending reputation?  Our sources in Clayton tell us that cancellation of retail orders or agreements are becoming more commonplace, more so now than in days gone by.




Prefabulous® is the latest Clayton Homes campaign. From their YouTube page,

Prefabulous® Clayton Homes. Published on Feb 12, 2019, “We’re building homes a different way. A smarter way. Homes that are beautiful, strong and, most of all, affordable. That’s Prefabulous®.” As of this morning, it has had 6,475 views.

Again, in fairness to Clayton, the video is cool. Quality. It is techy.  It aims at Millennials.



But the numbers of YouTube views tells the key point of the story.  Are we to believe that Clayton can’t do a better job than this paltry total?  Or is this in fact evidence that it is a fig leaf?  Window dressing? Are videos and campaigns that don’t move the needle much at MHI or Clayton ploys that look real enough to the underinformed? When in fact they routinely fail to hit the bulls eye of what keeps Americans from even considering a manufactured home, much less buying one?

Let’s let those questions soak in, as you consider the following.

By contrast, as was reported, documented, and has gone unchallenged by the powers-that-be at the links herein, Warren Buffett, via ‘dark money’ channels provided funding to Manufactured Housing Action or “MHAction.”  Buffett has de facto funded other nonprofits that have attacked the industry, and his own brands too.

MHAction and two other nonprofits teamed up to do a white paper, that was spotlighted by the Washington Post, along with others in mainstream media. A few weeks later, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver featured a report that spotlighted that same MHAction white paper.  Oliver’s viral video was errantly dubbed “Mobile Homes,” and you can see it either linked here with an analysis or below.

Published on Apr 7, 2019, it says, Mobile Homes: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) and has had 5,867,951 views.  Put differently, in less time, it has had almost 100 views to every view of Clayton’s Prefabulous®.  Ouch.



Ask yourself this question. Which video – Prefabulous® or Oliver’s Mobile Homes – is having more of an impact on the marketplace?

Isn’t the answer obvious?

Again, there are answers to each of the concerns raised by Oliver, which to demonstrate, are summed up in the link below.


Why didn’t Clayton or MHI reply publicly to Oliver’s hit?

Is this only a recent pattern?  Or are there other examples of bad news being created by Berkshire brands in MHVille that date back years?  Let’s look.

This next video by Democracy Now, a progressive media operation.  It spotlights both FEMA woes tied to Clayton, and also the Haiti issues that Clayton and the Clinton Foundation became embroiled in.



In fairness, here is what Clayton homes published on YouTube as an apparent response to the criticism. “ClaytonHomes, Published on Aug 24, 2010.  Per their YouTube statement, “Just after the earthquake in Haiti, Clayton Homes contacted The Clinton Foundation to offer assistance. As the world’s largest manufactured home builder, Clayton Homes was happy to help, and has already built 20 new classrooms and hopes to be able to provide more in the future.”



Reality Check appears to be a right-of-center commentator, and they published this below about the Haitan incident. Reality Check: If Haiti Is a “S***hole” Country, Who Is Really to Blame?




The Democracy Now video had less views than Reality Check, but both blew away the views of Clayton’s posted video on Haiti.

But none of those videos were as impactful as the mainstream news reports that others carried at that time.  The Clayton/Haiti tale is one that points to broader issues of how certain reports linger briefly, and are forgotten.  But not by all.  While Clayton wasn’t specifically mentioned in this next video, housing provided is alluded to, and the Reality Check video above shows Kevin Clayton with Bill Clinton in Haiti.




Bear in mind that all of this is connected to Warren Buffett, who backed Secretary Hillary Clinton in 2016, and backed Barack Obama, who helped impose Dodd-Frank on banking, which also drove manufactured home lenders out of business. Once more, that’s not meant as a slam on Democrats.  There are examples of corruption in both major parties. Manufactured housing is a non-partisan or bipartisan issue.


That noted, one can’t overlook the facts of how the game is being played, and how the system is arguably being manipulated in manufactured housing by Clayton, MHI, and others working with them.  It’s the truth hiding in plain



We’ll link up related reports, further below.  But this much ought to be clear.  While words like “alleged” need to be used to cover such reports, or attorneys could swarm us, there is significant evidence of the following.


  • Clayton Homes and manufactured housing in general are underperforming.
  • Other industry producers essentially make a similar claim, without pointing a finger at MHI or Clayton – that manufactured housing is performing well under historic trends and norms.
  • A new trade association formed last year, that broke away from MHI, specifically stating that they were doing so for a lack of performance by MHI.
  • MHARR exists and resisted merger efforts with MHI for years, because there is no confidence that MHI or their ‘big boy’ masters would properly represent the interests of their members.
  • Clayton Homes and their related lenders have sparked more apparent bad news than good news in mainstream media, and have done so for years – as even this brief survey reflects. While most industry trade media – part of an MHI ‘amen’ corner – avoid that painful reality, facts are what they are.
  • Some of these episodes of bad news can be traced back to donations made by Warren Buffett to various nonprofit organizations, see the report linked here.



In 1998, manufactured homes (MH) outsold RVs by some 3 to 2. In 2017, RVs outsold MHs by some 5 to 1. RVs recovered far more quickly from 2008. The facts raise questions. One, is the effectiveness of MHI as the post-production or ‘umbrella’ association in the country. The other question is more sobering. Has Buffett-Berkshire “Moat” strategies kept manufactured home production at historically low levels to allow a few big boy brands to consolidate others at a discounted ‘value’ by MHI insiders?


Certainly, there is evidence of positive marketing efforts by Clayton and MHI.  But they are widely outperformed by negative mainstream news or consumer created content that rips the company. Even Clayton’s hometown news outlet carried this problematic report about the Knoxville-metro based firm and their lenders. These facts, reason, and evidence beg questions.



  • Are the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing incompetent?
  • Why is Buffett funding his own opposition? Is Warren Buffett a sadomasochist?  Who would do such a thing?

Frankly, we don’t think they are incompetent or trying to harm themselves per se.  Rather, they are arguably playing the long game.

How else can one explain the periodic, almost routine episodes of bad news sparked by Clayton, and often funded by groups that Warren Buffett has donated to?


Carefully discerned, the pattern can logically suggest that Clayton is using bad news as another element of the fabled Buffett Moat strategy.  If so, that means that without warning, bad news can hit the industry, which while suppressing Clayton too, arguably harms other businesses with less financial staying power more.


The Four Purported Known Elements of the Buffett Moat Strategy

It could be summed up like this.

  • The power to tax is the power to destroy.
  • The power to regulate, is the power to destroy.
  • The power to choke off or limit access to lending or capital is the power to destroy.
  • The power to stoke bad news that harms individual business can over time involve the power to undermine a business’ value, and destroy marginal operations.


These bullets means that Clayton can acquire weakened, underperforming businesses at a discount. Recall what Ted Davis posted: “It would appear that Warren Buffet owns Clayton, and they have bought up several lesser mobile home companies, removing a lot of competition.” He’s a layperson, a consumer – and he sees parts of this pattern.

Then line that up with what award-winning, manufactured housing industry veteran Alan Amy said.





As to keeping industry shipments low, consider the odd statement by Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison made that seemingly encourages slow growth and low production totals.




When this writer, who did that video interview with Jennison, heard that coming from the mouth of MHI’s CEO, I had to control my composure.  It was a shockingly questionable statement – at best – for the president of the industry’s largest trade association to make at a time when the industry was struggling to recover. Frankly, it did not dawn on me until years later what the actual meaning of that statement from Jennison was.

In hindsight, it is far more revealing than it was at the time. It explains why he gets bonuses that we’ve dubbed failure bonuses.

That’s why history has to be part of such fact-checks.  Buffett is right about this, the rear view mirror is often clearer than the windshield.

In the light of the above, consider the summary graphic about ‘the Moat’ below.



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




Dark Grace…

The argument can be made that each of these examples of ‘black hat’ behavior can be an opportunity in disguise for those willing to behave in a robustly white hat fashion.

There is also an argument to be made that individually or in a local group, white hat firms could forge their own white hat trade group.

There is no need for perfect behavior in business when simple honesty will do. But there is a need for trade groups to have and live up to standards of ethical behavior.  If someone routinely harms the industry’s image, why should they be part of a white had trade group?

For those of us who have been in the manufactured housing business for years, and have dealt with the public directly for years, you know as well as I do that if you treat most people fairly and honestly, they are good customers.  There are a few who sadly try to twist anything to get something for nothing. But they are the exception, not the rule.  Good paperwork can deal with those kinds of clients.

For years, we’ve taught professionals not to oversell or overpromise.  Prepare customers for reality and they will be satisfied.  There is a method for training team members for doing so successfully, where the customers will be happy with what they are sold, and will send you their friends after buying.

Every road block in the industry can routinely be traced back to forces within manufactured housing that are keeping the industry at low ebb.  Who said? Prominent MHI member and controversial critic, Frank Rolfe here and here.

That’s opportunity in disguise.  For those willing to do what’s right, and who aren’t afraid to buck the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, the upsides are many.  As to risk, there is always some risk.  I can look someone in the eye and tell them about all of the efforts that we believe the evidence suggests how the axis threw a variety of slings and arrows at us, in an attempt to try to drive us out of business.

Yet, we are still standing.

After a dip for a time in readership after an assault from the axis, we’ve not only rebounded, we are about double where we stood a little over a year ago.  Professional readers and investors want the truth.  Our opposition wants to know what’s been published here. Across the spectrum, readers from all sized firms flock here daily by the thousands on the most engaged professional trade media site in all of manufactured housing.

Pros and investors want answers that make sense, not the BS that is being shoved at them by the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis sycophants. Anyone can create an echo chamber, and illusion of cheer leading.  Doing real facts with evidence and ‘follow the money,’ takes time, thought, and preparation.

When there are 7 months of declining shipments during an affordable housing crisis, the nature of the threat and the realities of the industry are becoming more self-evident.

Our efforts – thanks to supporters, sponsors, and sources that are often within the axis – in turn gives hope and encouragement to others. Furthermore, it isn’t just us, because other firms have stood up to the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and can say similarly.

Let’s note briefly a plug with a purpose.  Just as a talk radio station doesn’t expect a sponsor to endorse them, nor does a station endorse the sponsor, so too here there are no requirement that someone has to agree with what we publishSponsors and clients can still benefit from the industry’s biggest and most engaged audience.


The plug and related business development points aside, and we could do white hats with our marketing/coaching too – leads me to this point. Frankly, I’m convinced that no one in the industry is coming anywhere close to their potential.  Why?

When 8.3 million housing units are needed, per the National Association of Realtor’s Lawrence Yun – and only factory building can logically close that gap – that means that it is possible for single firms on the production side to be doing hundreds of thousands of units a year.  Rollohome went from start up to 60,000 homes delivered in 2 years. If that could be done before, it can be done even better today. That in turn translates into big upsides for retailers or communities.

All business ultimately comes down to a local sale to a local person.  Just as all politics are local, so too all business is local.

A properly motivated company with the right people and resources can rapidly and profitably grow with proven, honest, ethical, and sustainable approaches. That’s the happy note that we will end this report about Clayton on.

What to do about Clayton’s purported black hat tricks and behavior?  Be the obvious local White Hat.  Do the homework. You’ll see that the opportunities are amazing, but one needs the guts and gumption to get the glory.



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Related References:

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

Manufactured Housing’s Professional Credibility

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


New Manufactured Home Professional’s Website Nears Launch


Declining Manufactured Home Shipments More Serious Than Retailers, Communities Being Told

Lanham Act, Monopolistic Housing Institute, err, Manufactured Housing Institute, Legal Bullies, and You

Warren Buffett, Charlie Munger Video Interview at Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting on GSEs Lending for Affordable Manufactured Housing and Clayton Homes

Warren Buffett’s Profitable Lessons for Manufactured Housing

George F. Allen’s Unity Call for MHI, MHARR, and National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) Examined


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








Warren Buffett Wades Into Politics, Why Not John Oliver’s Piece on “Mobile Homes?”

April 11th, 2019 Comments off


Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is once again wading into the topic of politics,” according to CNBC in an article linked here.


The article is entitled, “Warren Buffett wants to ask the 2020 presidential candidates this 1 question.” The Daily Business News on MHProNews will explore that as our focus for this post, but first we will ask this question. Since Buffett surely must know about John Oliver’s blast at him and his company, why didn’t he wade into that topic too?  You can learn more and – see the Oliver video with a withering fact-check – at the link below.


HBO’s John Oliver on Last Week Tonight Mobile Homes Video, Manufactured Home Communities Fact Check


Or was Oliver’s comedic hit on Buffett, Clayton Homes, and numbers of key members of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) too challenging a topic for the Oracle of Omaha to delve into?  Is Oliver’s hit a shark in the water, launched by MHAction, which a money trail reflects has had funding from Buffett backed entities?

We’ll let those questions hang for industry professionals, investors, and advocates, as we unpacked part of what CNBC reported on the Solon of Stocks who hails from Omaha wants to ask 2020 candidates.

The following bullets are pull quotes from CNBC’s article, linked above.

  • Buffett, who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election and has previously weighed in on whether or not executives like Michael Bloomberg or former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz would make good candidates, said in a recent interview that there is one question he would want to ask the field of candidates planning to run for the White House in 2020.
  • I want to hear what they tell people who disagree with them,” Buffett told Yahoo Finance on Monday. “I would like to ask a candidate: ‘What are you for that the majority of your followers are against?’” That’s the best way to be sure that a candidate really believes in a particular issue, according to Buffett. “That’s really the test,” he says in the interview.
  • Those comments from Buffett came in response to a question about whether the billionaire would ever ask a candidate what they think about the economy or other issues. Buffett laughs and points out that any candidate would probably just “tell me what I want to hear” to win his support, which is not what the billionaire would want.
  • For Buffett, being strong-minded but having enough respect to hear out someone with a different opinion or point of view is a positive thing.

Let’s stop right there for now. We’ve asked the Berkshire brands in MHVille, and their purported national mouthpiece, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to apply a standard quite like that last bullet from their boss, Buffett.

For years, Jim and Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams at 21st, top or mid-range MHI officials – they all responded to our MHProNews inquiries, often within the hour. About 2 years ago, all of that stopped.  Which begs the question, why? Why not reply to the manufactured home industry’s most read trade media?  Why not apply this Buffett rule outlined in this CNBC interview of direct, respectful engagement?  Or of listening carefully to what the other side has to say?

Let’s remind readers of this penetrating quote from Joe Concha at the centrist publication, the Hill, and move on with our analysis of CNBC’s interesting piece.




So Sayeth Buffett – About Investing, and About Politics…

Here are more bullets from the same read-hot, and ‘trending’ CNBC piece.

  • For example, Buffett and his Berkshire Hathaway right hand man Charlie Munger, “disagree on a few things,” Buffett told CNBC in 2018, and that’s often been helpful.


  • Charlie, he’s given me a lot of good advice over time,” Buffett told CNBC in a 2016 interview. “And, I may hate to take it to a certain degree, but sometimes — but my decisions have been better. I’ve lived a better life because of Charlie.”


  • Billionaire Ray Dalio also thinks listening to those who disagree with you is essential. It’s a hallmark of the culture that Dalio has created at his hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, which he calls “radical transparency.”


  • I just wanted to see things through [employees’] eyes and to have them see things through my eyes so that together we could hash things out to discover what’s true,” Dalio said.


  • Billionaire tech entrepreneur Peter Thiel also likes to ask a similar questionto Buffett’s when interviewing job candidates: “What important truth do very few people agree with you on?”



  • The question is more difficult to answer than you might think, Thiel writes in his book, “Zero to One,” as it requires candidates to show both creative thinking skills as well as the courage to voice an unpopular opinion.


  • It’s intellectually difficult because the knowledge that everyone is taught in school is by definition agreed upon,” according to Thiel. “And, it’s psychologically difficult because anyone trying to answer must say something she knows to be unpopular.”


  • Meanwhile, Buffett identifies Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as one presidential candidate who would not be afraid to answer Buffett’s question about unpopular views he holds. Buffett tells Yahoo Finance that Sanders’ followers see him as “authentic,” adding: “if you asked him you what he was for, that most people might be against, he would tell you.”



It is the contrarians who can earn the outsized rewards, not those who run with the pack. We ask the contrarian questions on MHProNews, through the lens of industry pros, not as mere ivory tower observers.


There are many questions and topics we’d like to ask Warren Buffett about.  Some of them are linked further below in the related reports, which follows the byline, offers, and disclosures.

Buffett postures being this folksy billionaire titan who loves Democrats, and who says he wants hire taxes.  Really?

  • Then why doesn’t he just write a big check to the U.S. Treasury? 
  • Or instead of asking the federal government to do stuff for the common man and woman, why is he allowing business practices in manufactured housing that seems to go against those principles he claims to espouse? 
  • Why didn’t Clayton Homes and MHI exert influence in Bryan, where their city council just voted against allowing manufactured homes where they were previously allowed to be placed?



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NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

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Money, Minorities, Manufactured Homes – Foiling the American Dream of Affordable Housing

April 6th, 2019 Comments off



At the heart of what’s known as the American Dream is the ideal of home ownership and private property.  While millions may want affordable rentals, what study after study reflects is that the vast majority prefer to own rather than rent.


When millions are misinformed about a subject, it begs several questions. Among them – why is there misinformation? Cui bono? Who benefits from the misinformation?

Affordable housing is in crisis in every state in America. Go north of the border to Canada, a similar scenario exists there too.  


Land is plentiful in North America. The question of transportation to and from places of work or business is an issue, as congestion in cities like New York leads some there to ponder a tax each time a vehicle enters as one so-called ‘solution’ to their challenge.  Isn’t it interesting how some quickly turn to a tax – a penalty or cost – that discriminates disproportionately against the least economically advantaged? But let’s move on to the central issues noted in the headline.





Home ownership is generally the better financial option over renting, so long as someone can afford the investment in making the purchase and plans to stay for several years. The renter pays for their housing, just as the person with a mortgage pays for a home. The question is does renter ever own what they are paying for or not?  Isn’t the renter paying the landlord to build equity, that if it were a mortgage to buy, would otherwise benefit the tenant?




Wealth creation is aided by home ownership. HUD Secretary Ben Carson made that point repeatedly during his stops in the U.S. after he became the head of the sprawling federal agency.  Home owners, said Secretary Carson, have an average household net worth of some $200,000. By contrast, renting households only had a $5,000 average net worth, the famous brain surgeon said.



The GAO determined in 2014 that manufactured homes are the most affordable kind of housing, often less costly to own than to rent. The National Association of Realtors “Making the Case for Manufactured Homes” came to a similar conclusion in 2018. See FAU professor Ken Johnson’s comment on the wisdom of someone buying a manufactured home vs. renting or another type of home ownership.


Then why has HUD, state, and local governments paid lip service to affordable housing for so many years? Because the most proven affordable permanent home in the U.S. (or Canada) is a manufactured home. Yet they are increasingly being marginalized or discriminated against. How does one explain that pattern?




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.


 Isn’t this part of the antidote to the t-word nomenclature issue? See the video interview with Donald Tye, Jr. at this link here.


Information Wars

A Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) member who is not a dual member with the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that he is “ready for info wars.”

It was a keen insight. It was a kind of polar opposite to Skyline’s Terry Decio’s lament to MHProNews a few years ago, “I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house America.”

Those are statements from two different MHI-only member producers of manufactured homes. Both consciously or not are fingering the same issue. Information. Understanding. That de facto points to their opposites or possible causes, which are misinformation or misunderstanding.




In the Bible there is a story told of a man who finds a treasure in a field. He hides it again, goes and sells what he needs to in order to buy that field and own the treasure legally. That treasure hunter didn’t want the facts of his discovery to become known, or else he might lose his opportunity.  That story has many morals, insights, and takeaways. One is that knowledge was a potential advantage — but limiting that knowledge for a time was an advantage to that person who wanted the treasure.

Whoever better controls the understanding of manufactured housing can influence the value of manufactured homes and businesses in the factory-built housing industry. Misinformation benefits some, while harming others.  Hold that thought.



The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy?


While there are agendas and bias in media, and it has long been so, it would be an exaggeration to say that all news is fake news. MHProNews believes in a wheat and chaff approach with all people, sources, and things. Keep the good wheat, ignore the rest of the chaff.

Hillary Clinton, while First Lady to then President Bill Clinton, spoke of “a vast right-wing conspiracy” against her husband and herself. It was utter nonsense, of course, a mere head fake to distract from the reality that caused Bill Clinton to be impeached and lose his license to practice law. But it was also an absurd claim on its face, given that at that time much of the media was in primarily progressive or left-leaning hands.

Talk radio host Rush Limbaugh was a rising star and a favorite target of the left in those days, just as CNN, MSNBC, the Washington Post or New York Times are targets for several voices on the right today.

Each has a point, as right-or-wrong, they all have hidden or open agendas.

Far better to note or find the unvarnished truth than buy into someone’s spin. But as Shadows of Liberty reflected, or more recently Sharyl Attkisson has documented, various media have their own unique agenda(s). But that doesn’t require secret society meetings or a formal conspiracy to coordinate those voices.


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

The keen insight of Reagan Administration Secretary of the Interior, James Watt notes below is still apt. Google doesn’t have the exact quote, but his keen insight goes something like this.

I don’t believe that most of what some call conspiracy theories are actually conspiracies. What I do believe in are people
with common interests, acting in ways that benefit their common interests, and that common purpose may appear to be conspiratorial
.’  – James Watt, former Secretary of the Interior.

Let’s use a hypothetical example. If you hire a motivated kiss-ass, and you let the kiss-ass know that you want X instead of Y, watch that kiss-ass work hard to deliver X to the best of her or his ability.

So Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway fame doesn’t need a memo to go out to the Urban Institute or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in order for them to behave in a certain way. Kevin Clayton doesn’t have to send a memo to MHAction, asking them to protest group A, instead of group B. All that is needed is to hire or recruit people who behave in certain ways. Behavior becomes fairly predictable, once a person or group are understood.

Hypothetically, if Buffett wanted to use Berkshire’s deep pockets potential to buy all of manufactured housing up, he could. What stops him from doing that are antitrust laws, the legal barriers that keep someone or some organization from monopolizing a marketplace.




So if you wanted to monopolize a market, and avoid federal or other legal scrutiny, how would you do it? Using the purported Buffett method, you buy a castle (a metaphor for a fine business in a sensible industry) with a good Moat, and then you deploy everything you can to widen and deepen that Moat slowly over time. You drive competitive players out, by what may appear to a causal observer to be market forces.



Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. It takes courage, intelligence, and sound planning, but the artificial moats that hinder manufactured housing could be breached by using a robust application of existing laws.


Part of how that could theoretically be accomplished is to weaponize media and public perception against that business’ interests. One might blur the distinction between a mobile home, a trailer house, and a HUD Code manufactured home. Make the term ‘trailer trash’ truly demeaning. Increase the regulatory barriers for that product/service. Force the little guy out of business entirely, causing an independent to sell out for less than their intrinsic value. If there’s no sale, watch their business go bankrupt.

Never mind, to the mercenary greed of those who might use this method, that tens of millions are harmed by such a process. Pay no heed to the social, taxpayer, or other cascading calamities this tragic ploy sparks.



In science, one might not always be able to directly prove X. But one might eliminate several possibilities as explanations for X. For the truly fortunate scientist, they can both demonstrate a smoking gun evidence for a hypothesis, and also use Occam’s razor to eliminate other possible explanations too.

Buffett’s Berkshire could afford to educate the public about manufactured homes quite readily in the course of perhaps a year or two. You wouldn’t use stupid advertorials to do that if you have access to billions, and could make hundreds of billions in gross revenue annually from a potential business.


You might instead:

   use your extensive media contacts, to consistently correct every bit of misinformation that exists. Berkshire brand 21st Mortgage CEO Tim Williams suggested something similar. And/or,

   use your own BH Media Group to correct the record day-by-day until people grasp the amazing reality of manufactured homes.

   You might have MHI publish openly – rather than hide or fail to publish on their website (one of several examples, is linked here) the most effective third-party information or arguments for manufactured housing.

   You might not allow Clayton Homes staffers to use the term ‘mobile home’ or even ‘trailer house’ in videos or social media posts that they do (examples on YouTube).

   You might ask your billionaire buddy who owns Netflix or Amazon to put out a new hit TV series that has the hero and heroine living in a manufactured home, and have friends that do too, the polar opposite of having something like the Trailer Park Boys. Make manufactured home living cool and smart. Stress how environmentally sound manufactured homes are, how much more appealing they are, and of course how much money you save.



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

   You might have a new resident manufactured home owner group form that works with industry to successfully address issues, instead of working against the interests of industry.

   You might allow the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), that you once held stock in, to enter the manufactured home market in a robust fashion, instead of in a toe in the water way.

   You might use your clout at HUD to get the 10/10 rule dropped on FHA Title I loans.

   You might use your clout at HUD to get them to enforce manufactured housing’s enhanced preemption, so that local zoning officials don’t keep minorities or others from buying a manufactured home, and benefiting from it.


The list could go on, but do you see the point?  Isn’t the list above the common-sense or obvious things you’d do if you actually wanted to promote manufactured home living into a mainstream form of housing?

That begs the question. Why instead has the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis failed to do such obvious things?  We believe these to be people of above average intelligence and motivation. Then how does one explain their repeated failures for some 15 years to do the obvious?



Explaining ‘Leadership’ Failures  

The industry’s so-called leaders have arguably failed on several levels to do whatever is obviously in the industry’s best interests if robust growth were the immediate goal.

Which leads one from direct evidence of purported restraint of trade and market manipulation and indirect evidence like the above to a vexing, but logical conclusion. The powers that be not only don’t mind minorities or others to be trapped in renting for years on end.  Rather, it benefits the billionaires and multiple billion dollar value operators in a twisted way to keep millions trapped in poverty, if the goal is to consolidate the affordable manufactured home industry slowly over time. It fits the Buffett quote below to the tee.  




It also fits the Buffett quote below about Moats too.



Sometimes the truth is hiding in plain sight. Follow the facts, evidence, and the money.

What are the contrary arguments to such evidence? That’s a fair question.  We’ve asked that too. 

So we invited Kevin Clayton, Tom Hodges, Tim Williams, Rick Robinson, Lesli Gooch, and outgoing MHI president Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison to discuss or debate that contention in public and on video. They declined time and again for some two years now.

They most recently opportunity to attempt to explain to the industry’s professionals some alternative explanation was in Tunica on March 28th, 2019.

Instead, the powers that be since Tunica are suddenly putting out a flurry of MHI memos. They suddenly care about independent retailers enough to put on a so-called educational meeting that they charge them extra to attend. Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington Illusion of Motionas Mark Weiss, JD, President and CEO of MHARR dubbed it – has kicked into high gear.

It’s what another professional with deep MHI ties termed “razzle dazzle.”




Hard Data vs Razzle Dazzle

But the latest new HUD Code manufactured home shipment and production numbers say it all. If they wanted to support independents, they could have done so for years.




Solutions? MHProNews don’t ask people to boycott Clayton or MHI for many reasons, including that it can be actionable or possibly even illegal. But we do ask people to ponder this, who are your true friends in the industry? Who is feeding you meaningful information vs. mindless blather? Who are your true enemies? Are you or your company feeding a hand that bites yours?  

Keep what an MHI member said in the opening of the article linked via the text-image box below.


Manufactured Housing Institute Members Defending MHI, Great Debate About Manufactured Home Industry Progress, Problems, and Profits


The industry’s giants can’t have it both ways. Logically, no one can. If you treat people and professionals like cattle, they get tired of not being heard and of getting herded. When you treat individuals like they are your chattel, their natural tendency is to rebel. 

There are good reasons why interest in creating a non-producers association is growing. More on that another time.

For now, we simply note what MHI award winner Marty Lavin said.


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?


Or what Frank Rolfe, a current MHI member, said.



We note too what former MHI VP Danny Ghorbani stated.



But the point in this article is simple. The value of manufactured homes is amazing. It is what Ron Thomas, Sr. called “a phenomenon.” But that phenomenon is misunderstood. During an affordable housing crisis, creating so much misinformation around the solution that is hiding in plain sight requires something bordering on a magic trick.

But when an echo chamber effect is established, then the steady drum beat of a false narrative can seemingly become believable. Look at the Trump Campaign-Russia collusion narrative. Tens of millions bought that lie. Millions still want to believe it, after it has been debunked by what the president called over a dozen “angry Democrats” – attorneys who indeed favored Democratic candidates, and also worked for Special Counsel Robert Muller. 


Democrats, Republicans Agree – “Manufactured Homes Can Play a Vital Role in Easing” the Affordable Housing Shortage


Nor is that a bias against either party, as manufactured housing and affordable housing are bipartisan issues.



The comment above was said with respect to another recent topic, but relates to this issue too.

It will take time and effort to deprogram the millions from each of those lies. It’s an info-war.

It will take information wars – using facts, reason, and truth over misinformation and fear tactics – to achieve the victory that could benefit tens of millions who are now renting. The rest are details and commentary, some of which are found via the linked reports below the bylines, business development offers, and notices.




If there is authentic concern for minorities or anyone who may be financially disadvantaged, manufactured homes are an option that must be better promoted and understood. Voices across the two major party divide have come to that conclusion. What’s next is the need for political and legal officials to act to break up such a monopolistic ploy.


Cui Bono? “Killing Me Softly,” Manufactured Housing’s New Theme Song?

That’s this Saturday’s Industry News, Tips, and Views Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)



To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.

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

NOTICE 2: Readers have periodically reported that they are getting a better experience when reading MHProNews on the Microsoft Edge, or Apple Safari browser than with Google’s Chrome browser. Chrome reportedly manipulates the content of a page more than the other two browsers do.

(Related Reports are further below. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

1) To sign up in seconds for our MH Industry leading emailed news updates, click here.


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

2) To pro-vide a News Tips and/or Commentary, click the link to the left. Please note if comments are on-or-off the record, thank you.

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Re-sources

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Related Reports:

You can click on the image/text boxes to learn more about that topic.

Al Kemp, Taking out the Trash Talk about Manufactured Homes

FEAR, a Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis, and the Manufactured Home Dilemma


New Manufactured Home Production, Shipment Data-February 2019


HUD Lashed for Alleged Manufactured Housing Contract Miscues, Brian Montgomery, White House Notified of National Association Concerns

Warren Kicked Hornet’s Nest – How Move May Connect With MH, Renters, Professionals

Warren Buffett’s Moat, Understanding Manufactured Housing Requires Grasping Strategic Economic Moats


Conquest Capitalism – Thoughts of Chairman Warren Buffett – Billionaires Campaign to Control Trillion Dollar Affordable Housing Market

Examining Derek Thompson’s Atlantic Report on ‘Mobile Home’ Retail Market as Fastest Dying Business In America


“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”


HUD Code Manufactured Home Production Decline Persists – Time For Action Not Excuses














Ford’s Big Lead Dog, Teaches Manufactured Housing, Legal Q&A

March 20th, 2019 Comments off



If you’re not the lead dog, the scenery never changes,” said the Ford Motor Company on their Big [Lead] Dog commercial’s YouTube page.


Ford’s Big Lead Dog commercial comes in two lengths on YouTube.  One has had over 8.5 million views as of this date. That number is nearly equal to the total number of every pre-and-post HUD Code manufactured home in the U.S.



That 8.5 million views is above and beyond the tens of millions who’ve seen their videos on cable, satellite, steaming or broadcast TV.



MHProNews isn’t advocating a traditional TV campaign, not now anyway. The point here is more subtle.

Ford sponsored the Verge’s home of the future modular building videos too. They’ve collectively been viewed by millions.



Ford sponsored these videos on modular home building. They’ve had millions of views collectively. Which begs the question. Berkshire Hathaway can afford the best of everything for their business units. Why aren’t they doing all that it takes to do videos, education, and marketing that actually works?


Clearly, when it comes to marketing Ford gets it. Compared to Clayton Homes, or the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) ‘story telling’ and ‘image building’ videos, one could argue that the later two don’t.  MHI made an outrageous – and at best misleading if not arguably false claim last fall – that their marketing reached some 84 million Americans.  If so, then why were there so few sales in 2018?



Warren Buffett was right about good but unfriendly journalists asking the questions and doing the reports that others have not.

But despite the various prior failures, flubs, fumbles, and – apparent public yawns for Clayton’s latest campaign – they remain ‘the big dog’ in manufactured housing Why?  Is there something else at play here that is more subtle?



A Relevant Segue

An attorney tracking and otherwise motivated by the Cavco Industries (CVCO) issues called the Daily Business News on MHProNews this afternoon.  He called to ask questions, hear some input, and to say “thank you” and “well done” for the recent reports on the various types of purported market manipulation – past and current – in manufactured housing. That attorney – along with other ‘suits’ or lawyers engaged in Cavco and other “investigations” underway in MHVille – have found the reports, fact checks, and analysis here on the Daily Business News on MHProNewsto be useful.”

Some are among the new sign-ups for the emailed headline news that are delivered twice weekly to thousands of industry professionals.



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


That’s mentioned for this reason. The normal logic of business doesn’t always apply to Warren Buffett’s Omaha based Berkshire Hathaway. For example, why doesn’t Buffett – who certainly understands synergy – not use the Berkshire Hathaway Media Group to do a periodic series on manufactured housing facts vs. myths or outdated notions?

Kevin Clayton obliquely explains that when he said on the video on the page linked here that “Warren” would be okay if Clayton lost money for five years, as long as the Moat was expanding. The normal logic doesn’t apply.



Through the Looking Glass, Darkly

MHProNews doesn’t claim to know every detail about what’s said and done in Knoxville at Clayton, 21st, or Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF). We don’t. That obvious disclaimer noted, we do get some tips and insights from sources at and/or connected to Knoxville and Arlington. There has also been some apparent ‘false flag’ or test ‘fake tips’ too from the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis. Thankfully, we haven’t yet bitten on a fake tip. But if we do, just recall that it was mentioned here first. We strive to verify claims and check claims against other sources.



To report a news tip, click the image above or send an email to – To help us spot your message in our volume of email, please put the words NEWS TIP in the subject line.


The point, with respect to the Ford commercial and Berkshire, Clayton, or MHI’s action (or inaction) on education and marketing is this. They don’t have to perform in the same way as most businesses want. They are learning from each ad, each campaign, and every test. Plus, they get to posture for the industry, and some pros buy that posturing. Our publisher has frankly ly admitted he bought into the posturing for a time too.

There is sincerely reported news that is inaccurate, as Robert Robotti told his colleagues in the investment world. That’s an important point. But it needs to be turned inward toward Manufactured Housing.  ICYMI earlier today, click the linked text-image box below.


“Out-Performing the Market” Robert Robotti, Value Investing, and Manufactured Housing


The HUD Code industry gets a steady diet of misleading, fake, or otherwise inaccurate reports. The public likewise gets a steady drone of problematic reporting that drowns out much of the truth about manufactured housing. That may sound far fetched, but only for those who won’t dig deeper.




Some 22 million Americans that live in pre-HUD Code mobile homes, and post code Manufactured Homes know that their homes do the job for them. It’s the most proven kind of permanent affordable housing in modern U.S. history. It’s the truth hiding in plain sight.




As Skyline’s Terry Decio once said, ‘I’m tired of being the best kept secret. I’m ready to help house Americans.’ That’s logical. But normal business logic demonstrably doesn’t work in the topsy-turvy world of manufactured housing, where some players want to consolidate ever bigger portions of the industry.  That’s accomplished by keeping industry sales low, which depresses the value of other businesses.  It’s value investing, via arguable market manipulation methods.


The Facts and Stats That Industry Pros Tell Us


Over 4000 hits in under 1 day on the Tunica Show “Fix the Manufactured Housing Tricks’ event. There were over 17,000 hits on the latest Clayton #MHM report in just 5 days. Beyond direct contacts from industry members, site traffic speaks volumes. MHMarketingSalesManagement is the original name for the site, and is at this time the biggest URL in traffic, but other URLs are getting their own traffic on the same content. Rephrased, the totals are higher than what is shown above. Industry pros are tired of the manipulation, and the signs are that they are ready to start the process for curing what ails the industry.


To Fix the Manufactured Housing industry Tricks, plan on attending the special discussion and pre-organizational meeting for a pro-growth post-production trade association on the afternoon of March 28th, immediately following the Tunica Show. Be there, it will be historic.  Make sure you are signed up for our emails, the Fix MH Industry Trick$ event updates will come via that MHProNews email list


Fix MH Industry Trick$ – Special Meeting at Tunica Show


In closing, let’s note that when it comes to industry trade media we are different. Perhaps that difference is what has made and kept us the Big Lead Dog in MHVille?  Thanks for making and keeping us #1. That’s tonight’s MH “Industry News, Tips, and Views That Pros Can Use” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © (News, analysis, and commentary.)



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Clayton Homes, Top 25 Manufactured Housing Industry Report, Trend Lines

May 24th, 2018 Comments off


There is nothing quite like pie charts, facts and figures to dramatically illustrate what has taken place in HUDVille – the manufactured housing industry – over the last several years.

Trend lines are important for lenders, investors, and business owners to be aware of, and these graphics should also be noteworthy to policy advocates, legal minds, and public officials too.

The first illustration below is from a 2004 issue of the MH Merchandiser Magazine. It shows the top 25 manufactured housing industry producers.  Please note that there is no similar listing that has been done for several years.  Why not?  Would the list of the facts of the top 25 producers of HUD Code manufactured housing prove alarming for independent retailers, communities, producers, suppliers, and others? Is it information that the Arlington, VA based Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) doesn’t find useful to discuss?


To see a larger version of this same page, click here or the image itself.

The next illustrations are pie charts created by MHProNews, and based upon the sources as noted herein.

According to the data from the Merchandiser, Berkshire Hathaway purchased two significant manufactured housing brands in 2003.  The combination of Clayton Homes and Oakwood Homes that year, yielded just over a 21 percent market share.


Harken back to the painful realities underscored by quoted statements made by Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett and 21st Mortgage President and CEO, Tim Williams in 2009.  Those direct – and in context – quotes are found in the Smoking Gun 3 report. The Kevin Clayton video, linked here, shows him saying that the market share of Clayton Homes in 2011 was 25 percent.  Let’s take Kevin’s statement at face value.


Finally, the data supplied this year by Berkshire Hathaway – which does not precisely break down manufactured housing, modular homes and other models Clayton Homes builds – indicates that they held a 50 percent market share of manufactured housing in 2017.


Note that trend line since the 2009 Smoking Gun 3 report time frame?  Prior to 2009, Clayton Homes grew modestly as a percentage of the industry’s shipment totals, as manufactured housing continued to contract.

Since 2010, Clayton Homes percentage of the industry has soared.  That’s put a number of the businesses listed in 2003, out of business, per the Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) own data.  Ouch…

That trend-line, per concerned independent voices to MHProNews is a crushing one.  At what stage will federal regulators, and anti-trust authorities step in?  Recall that the Seattle Times has reported just days ago that the Department of Justice (DoJ), HUD, and others are investigating Clayton.

Please see the linked related reports, below. Bookmark this article, because you will want to share it with your circle of influence, and periodically refer back to the facts that this column provides.  “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

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

HUD’s New Man, Officials Statements, with Insider Info Beyond the Media Releases

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

MHI Lender Shakes Up DTS and MLO Rule Discussions

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

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


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