Posts Tagged ‘Sam Zell’

Forbes Focus on Manufactured Home Communities, Spotlights Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), MHC Investing

December 31st, 2018 Comments off



The writer of the Forbes column cited and linked below is a manufactured home community owner named Brad Johnson.  Johnson, not unlike RV Horizon’s Frank Rolfe, misuses the terminology, perhaps for SEO or other reasons.


Johnson in Forbes cites Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties or ELS.  It’s Zell who made it a repeated public point to poo-pooh the ‘t-word.’



Collage by MHProNews. ELS photo and community photos are provided under fair use guidelines. Photo of Sam Zell, by MHProNews.


By contrast, former modest community owner and blogger George F. Allen, in his trade-mark inconsistencies, wags a finger at those who don’t say “land lease communities,” yet recently added the term “mobile home” to his blog’s header. Don’t try to figure retired Marine G.F. Allen (GFA) out. He’s arguably only consistent when it comes to what he thinks are his own interests, say former clients of his. The rest, per sources and experience with GFA, are details and commentary.




But the point is that there’s plenty of variables in the manufactured home community world on the use of correct or incorrect terminology. Some insist on it, others could care less, and some are blatant hypocrites.

Before pressing ahead, the reason we at MHProNews and MHLivingNews believe proper terminology matters is ironically alluded to indirectly by the Forbes writer, Johnson.

Mobile home parks’ are arguably better appreciated today than in some years gone by, for reasons cited in Johnson’s generally useful column.  But despite consistent returns, and their ability to weather recessions, etc. what’s more properly known as a manufactured home community (MHC) are nevertheless not seen as ‘sexy’ investments.

‘Trailer parks’ are understandably even less appealing to the general public.

The answer isn’t to go with the flow on terminology or industry challenges. Dead fish go with the flow.  But to effect lasting image change belongs to those who make it happen in their own local market(s). Anecdotal evidence suggests that residents’ value – and that of the industry – is being denigrated by the ‘t’ word, and is diluted by saying “mobile home,” if in fact someone is describing a HUD Code manufactured home.



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

Unless the units were built before June 15, 1976 – then ‘mobile home’ is simply not the correct terminology, period.  Steve Duke, JD, in his pithy quote for MHLivingNews below underscored that point.



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


That said, one of the fascinating points obliquely made by Johnson is an oblique slam at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and their National Communities Council (NCC) for a ‘lack of sound data.’

ELS is used by Johnson as a publicly available standard for good metrics. Quoting:

“…Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle (ELS), the largest company in the mobile home park space (and our best proxy for industry data, which is nonexistent).”

MHProNews has for years similarly cited Sun, ELS, and/or UMH Properties for their published data.


Because accurate information is otherwise largely lacking. Shame on the industry’s post-production association – MHI – for not curing those data deficits. Instead, MHI has arguably have made it worse to the degree that they weaponize favored firms claims vs less favored ones, even if the favored firms information is incorrect. Case in point.  Each of the three current/former MHI/NCC member firms noted in the related report found in the linked-textbox below have different data points on manufactured home communities. MHI took the lowest total, from MHVillage – though sources at MHVillage have privately admitted that their MH Community count is too low.


Frank Rolfe, Dave Reynolds, George Allen, Manufactured Home Community Controversy Continues


One of several problems not mentioned by Johnson in the Forbes column further below is that the MH Communities sector is actually shrinking.

That may drive up demand short-to-mid term, as Johnson notes. Contrary to what Johnson suggested, there are some new communities being added, as the graphic below indicates.  Some manufactured home communities are also expanding the number of existing sites, on adjacent previously-vacant land.


But despite a modest number of new opening MHCs, the overall trend for the number of communities in manufactured housing is down, due to community closures.

An analyst or investor can slide-rule that vexing trend in various ways.

But who do you know in the Investment World that argues that multifamily housing apartments are struggling because so many are being built every year? Think about that.

Manufactured housing in general – or even the demonstrably more stable manufactured home communities – are arguably underperforming. That means that a savvy investor enjoys good potential upside. Among the headwinds? Regulatory and stigma. The later is again why proper terminology should be consistently used.  Capital has returned to the U.S. and to this sector of the industry, as MHProNews has reported, and both of those are a plus.

Let’s see how the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) framed their battle against stigma for the public in a video supplied by their “Hand Built Homes” campaign, as shared 11 months ago to MHLivingNews.



With that introduction and analysis, let’s look at what Johnson wrote in Forbes, found at this link here, or from the in depth quotes below his headline and featured image.



Mobile home park investing is not an exciting cryptocurrency, a high-flying tech startup or a trophy office tower you brag about owning. A mobile home park is just a parking lot filled with single- or double-wides that kicks off a lot of cash flow.

I co-own a portfolio of 23 mobile home parks and help real estate investors grow their portfolios with mobile home park investments. There are a lot of unique aspects to the industry that make mobile home parks compelling investments. But, for some strange reason people do not gather around me at parties to learn about the intricacies of them. So, to keep your attention, let’s focus on just one strength most parks share: consistency.

A portfolio of mobile home parks purchased at the right price is a remarkably bankable investment. Mobile home parks deliver profits year in and year out, whereas their cousins (apartment buildings) are often far more erratic. Why?

Compared to apartment buildings, mobile home parks tend to:

  • Have dramatically lower turnover: Only about 2% of the homes leave our parks per year, versus the average apartment tenant yearly turnover, which was 53% in 2015.
  • Have lower operating and capital expenses due to fewer maintenance costs and amenities: We rent land, which is pretty cheap to maintain.
  • Have less volatile rents due to reduced competition. There is essentially no new supplyof mobile home parks. Strict zoning laws make them nearly impossible to build. Compare that to apartments buildings, of which more than 350,000 new unitswere built last year. That’s a never-ending supply of new competition for existing apartments. That sounds horrible. Who wants to go out in the cold and slay a new dragon every year? I’d rather be back at the castle by the fireplace counting land rent.

All these differences translate to consistent profits. Consider the profit track record of Sam Zell’s Equity LifeStyle (ELS), the largest company in the mobile home park space (and our best proxy for industry data, which is nonexistent). ELS has achieved positive profit growth in every quarter since 1998. That’s impressive: America suffered a huge housing crisis in 2007, but ELS grew profits anyway. This isn’t a fluke or something unique to ELS. This consistency is structural to the industry.

Comparison To Other Commercial Property Types

To fully understand the lower capital advantage mobile home parks have over other non-multifamily real estate assets, here are the remaining major commercial asset types and their roadblocks to consistent cash flow performance.

  • Office properties:Occupancy is highly susceptible to recessions and requires huge ongoing capital expenditures relating to building systems and staffing. Office landlords must spend hundreds of thousands and often millions on new tenant improvements and broker leasing commissions. These costs are paid upfront. If the tenant goes bankrupt on day one of the lease, the landlord cries.
  • Retail properties:These are highly susceptible to recessions, and many are currently being methodically crushed by online retailers.
  • Hotel properties:These come with high fixed expenses — and you can’t fire the staff if occupancy is low one night.
  • Industrial properties:Though industrial properties tend to have the lowest ongoing capital needs next to mobile home parks, tenant concentration can be an issue. If your largest tenant defaults, you’re in trouble.

In contrast, mobile home parks are virtually recession-resistant, with low fixed costs and minimal capital needs. They have lower turnover rates, don’t require much staffing and have highly diversified tenant bases. In other words, they are consistent.

How To Make Your First Mobile Home Park Investment

If you’re a passive investor interested in co-owning parks, there are quality sponsors out there that you can invest with. If you would rather roll up your sleeves and do the work yourself, here are a few suggestions:

  • Don’t start small:Counterintuitively, you don’t want to crawl before you walk in mobile home park investing. Buy a park large enough (~50 spaces) to provide tenant diversity and support an on-site (or nearby) property manager. If you go small, you’ll become the de facto property manager and will need to personally collect rents and enforce the rules.
  • Narrow your search:You’re going to have a hard time competing against larger, more established players on brokered deals. Don’t plan on finding a great deal online. It took me years and a lot of cold calling to develop consistent deal flow. If it’s your first deal, your best strategy is to focus on a couple of markets and deal directly with the owners.
  • Stay away from private utilities: If at all possible, stay far, far away from private utilities. The costs to replace private electrical, gas, water or sewer systems are often six figures and sometimes seven figures depending on the size and type of system. Do you want 100 families calling you in the middle of the night to report a gas leak? Unless you’re very lonely or very bored, probably not.
  • Secure long-term debt:When mobile home parks fail, it’s often because a short-term loan came due and the owner couldn’t refinance.
  • Make sure you have time to oversee the asset: Mobile home parks do not run themselves. You need the right team, software and systems to manage them for you. Or you need to do it all yourself. If you’re looking for mailbox money, look elsewhere.


Consistency can be boring, but it’s critical for long-term investment success. You can’t increase cash flow if you have to keep reinvesting in the property just to keep things afloat. If you can’t grow profits, you’ll be far too dependent on market timing and interest rates to achieve compelling returns.

The mobile home park industry has been reliably profitable due to its structural advantages that keeps mobile home park supply, tenant turnover, ongoing capital and recurring expenses low. This enables investors to compound capital as revenue growth flows to the bottom line and is not diluted by surprise capital expenses. ##


The above was not part of Johnson’s column.  In fairness to the NCC, they have produced this listing of the top 50 MHC operations, which has some value. But more detailed data on communities is inconsistent and contradictory, as Johnson writing in Forbes, and the graphics below from MHI members, all reflect.  MHI’s data is arguably an embarrassment to the industry, Johnson is not alone in slamming it,  and it clearly needs to be corrected. We alone in MH trade publishing have called MHI to account for this #nettlesome problem. 


This graphic from Sun Communities (SUI) uses what appears to be MHVillage/DataComp figures. Insiders there have told MHProNews that they know their count is off (under) by thousands, yet this is the count that MHI has used more recently. One of several problems with a false community count is this –> if the total number of guesstimated sites are anywhere near accurate, then more communities means fewer average sites per community. See the below, all from MHI or MHI members, and the numbers are all over on the community count.


This claim by CAVCO is arguably dated and in error. Frank Rolfe with RV Horizons argues for 44,000, based upon what he said was a ‘hand count’ done over a two year period of time. Rolfe admits that it may be as high as 45,000, but those would be tiny communities of say 2 or 3 spaces, he said to MHProNews.



For our original report, using MHI’s graphic, and citing Rolfe’s, Allen’s and MHI’s data in the text by the arrow.



All image credits are as shown, and images or third party documents that may be attached are provided under fair use guidelines. 


Graphic, data, per Sun Communities (SUI).


Graphic, data, per Sun Communities (SUI).


Grab your coffee or energy drink. This is your latest wake up call.

Opportunities knock, but they come dressed in overalls.

Johnson made several valid points in Forbes, but some needed adjusting or were exaggerated, etc. as noted above.  Johnson who is clearly pro-industry, nevertheless had issues in his report.  This article in Forbes is but one of many possible examples of why a report in the mainstream should not be merely forwarded, without a sound commentary and analysis. Otherwise, misinformation mixed with accurate information only spreads.



There are internal industry challenges that must be overcome. To better understand the issues, see the related report, below the notices and byline that follow, for more insights and details. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News , analysis, and commentary.)



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SoheylaKovachDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsMHLivingNewsSubmitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and


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Metro Town Rejects Hundreds of Affordable Housing Units, Cites Reasons Against Using Manufactured Homes

December 27th, 2018 Comments off



Image above used to illustrate an actual attached garage to an existing manufactured home, which is noted as part of the proposal in the story details further below.

Taxes. Appearances. Uncertainty about the future.


Those are some of the excuses, err, reasons that trustees of South Elgin, a part of the Chicago metro, rejected a 296 unit manufactured home community development that would have served residents 55 and older.

It’s a story that affordable housing and manufactured home industry pros know, but as 2018 winds down, illustrates just how much work lies ahead.

Freelance journalist Janelle Walker’s Courier News report ironically made the Chicago Tribune. The Tribune has had serious financial ties to Sam Zell, whose Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) is one of the top two community operations in manufactured housing.

In a split decision, the South Elgin Village Board declined a proposal late last month for a new manufactured home community. Developers PND 3001 Investments had sought a zoning change for a special use permit, said Walker, for a site plan approval for the 296 units it wanted to place on an 88-acre site on Umbdenstock Road.




Walker was writing for the general public, so an industry professional wouldn’t normally need some details her generally fine narrative provided.

But concerns about how the state taxes manufactured homes — also called mobile homes — and how those taxes would be split among governing bodies stopped some trustees from approving the project.

The state of Illinois taxes mobile homes as “chattel.” While a buyer pays sales tax on the initial home purchase, an annual fee to the state and rent to the owner for use of the land, the property owner only pays taxes for the land on which the homes are located,” per the Tribune account.




Walker said that trustees John Sweet and Mike Kolodziej voted in favor of the development.

They look nice … different from a stick-built home but not really,” Sweet said. “I think it is an alternative,” and adds another option to the village’s housing stock, explaining his vote, adding “We need more diversity in our housing.”

But South Elgin village board trustee Scott Richmond said he could not support the development.

I don’t think it is the right project for us,” said Richmond. “This puts the village tax base at risk. This project on this land is not appropriate.”

The land is currently zoned for industrial use, explained Walker. But there are housing developments on two sides with an industrial park to the south. To the east is farmland, which may also be the target for future development activity.

PND’s plan included an agreed to limit the development to residents 55 and older or restricting children from living there for more than 14 days at a time.  The PND Plan also included an attached garage for each home. All of those items were apparently added following initial discussions with the South Elgin Planning and Zoning Commission and later with the Village Board.

Larry Lapin of PND 3001 estimated taxes on the property at some $400,000 a year. To mollify the concerns over the relatively lower tax revenue such a project would bring compared to other possible projects, the developers had also offered to add a clause to the agreement to pay an additional $350 per unit.  That $350 bump was to be divided between the village and the South Elgin & Countryside Fire Protection District.


A YIMBY vs. NIMBY View of the South Elgin Case

Apparently the added sweeteners and incentives didn’t work. 


Tye has argued that manufactured homes should be seen as a plus, not a minus.  Perhaps as or more important is the hidden cost to a town, individuals, society, and taxpayers when affordable housing isn’t made available.


NBER researchers Hseih and Moretti make the case that failure to provide affordable housing near where people work costs the U.S. $2 trillion annually in lost GDP. To learn more click the link here, or see the related report, further below.


Trustee Greg Lieser agreed with Richmond, arguing that if the property was sold, new owners would not follow agreements being made in the present, or would seek to have them changed.  But isn’t that ‘concern’ possible for other kinds of developments too? Does that argument against this proposed project just mask a NIMBYite view against affordable homes in general, or manufactured homes specifically?




There is too much uncertainty with the owners and rent, and what this might look like in 10 or 20 years. I do appreciate that you listened. I wish you would have come in originally with a solid plan,” Lieser said.  Rephrased, was Lieser concerned that manufactured homes would – after a decade or two – somehow morph into the appearance of 70 year old trailers houses?  Isn’t prejudice and more at work in the background of this South Elgin tale?




As 2018 winds down, and 2019 looms, projects like this reveals just how much work lies ahead for the greater acceptance of affordable housing in general, and manufactured homes in particular.



The Trulia research reinforces what HUD’s PD&R on manufactured homes appreciated side by side with conventional housing discovered. Namely, that affordable homes and manufactured homes don’t negatively impact property values.


These are the kinds of projects that a post-production manufactured home advocacy trade group needs, that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has long argued should be created.  It is also the kind of project that the national umbrella trade group, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), has only occasionally made any effort at addressing.

Is MHI’s failure to act due in part to dominating Clayton Homes increased attraction to more profitable conventional housing?  That’s but one conflict of interest that bears more exploration, and which mainstream media and advocacy groups arguably ought to explore and spotlight.

A prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report on this same project is found under the related reports, linked further below the disclosures and bylines.  “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 join the scores who follow us on Twitter at this link. You can get our ‘read-hot’ industry-leading emailed headline news updates, at this link here.

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.

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

November 17th, 2018 Comments off



Keep your friends close,

and your enemies closer.”


This [saying] has frequently been ascribed to Sun Tzu and once in a while to Niccolò Machiavelli or Petrarch,” says Edwar Louk in Quorayet there are no distributed sources saying which was its origin before its utilization by “Michael Corleone” in The Godfather Part II (1974), composed by Mario Puzo and Francis Ford Coppola: “My dad taught me numerous things here — he educated me in this room. He trained me — hold your friends close but your enemies closer.”


There’s a well known U.S. affordable housing crisis. Lawrence Yun at the National Association of Realtors said earlier this year that only builders getting really busy will close the gap, which he estimated at the time as 8.3 million housing units.  A number of tech gurus have said that only factory-home building can close that housing construction needs gap.

Several sources cited at the end of this report are from outside of the manufactured housing industry.  They have said, after researching the matter, that modern manufactured homes (MH) are an obvious part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis.  They include, but are not limited to:

  • The National Association of Realtors,
  • the Urban Institute,
  • Bloomberg,
  • Fannie Mae,
  • Freddie Mac,
  • Value Penguin,
  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson,

and others are among those in 2018 that have praised the quality, surprising safety, and value of today’s manufactured homes.

Yet the manufactured housing industry struggles in its actual performance, in bottom-line new-home sales. Why?

The reasons are many, such as

  • placement/zoning,
  • media/image,
  • regulatory and more.
  • But let’s focus for the next few minutes on access to capital and financing.

There are few in manufactured housing who can as credibly claim to understand the import and legal methods of raising capital as Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) Chairman Sam Zell.

Zell has numerous other business interests.  He is worth billions.  He’s been quoted saying he is happy to be correct 60 or 70 percent of the time. Billionaire Warren Buffett has famously been critiqued – and admitted on occasion – to making mistakes or missing opportunities too. Not to worry, because the baseball slugger who consistently bats .350 or better is worth millions annually.  Thankfully, no one has to bat a 1,000 to be successful.

So perfection isn’t the standard in business or investing. Consistency, overall performance, quality, profitability, legality – and hopefully ethics are, or should be – the standards. Toyota recently recalled 192,000 Prius vehicles in the U.S. alone.  Pay attention, because that won’t cause much of a hiccup for sales by Toyota.  So why, by contrast, does bad news so routinely harm manufactured homes so much more?


Stating the Obvious Brings Clarity

It bears stating the obvious. Manufactured housing is made up of a myriad of interrelated and specialized interests. They include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • the production of manufactured homes,
  • the sale of manufactured homes,
  • the transportation and installation of manufactured homes,
  • land-lease manufactured home communities,
  • financing of manufactured homes (wholesale inventory and retail sales),
  • due diligence firms,
  • legal, accounting, HR, and compliance experts,
  • associations,
  • and the list goes on.

Furthermore, the manufactured home (MH) industry can be segmented into corporate giants, mid-level, smaller or even ‘mom and pop‘ sized enterprises.

Zell’s and Buffett’s interests in the MH Industry have both been represented on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Executive Committee level for years.  That’s where the power is at the MHI trade association.

The two moguls each know how to attract media when they want it. But given all that, it should not be construed to mean that Buffett or Zell’s interests are always in synch.

Nor are Buffett’s and Zell’s politics apparently in alignment.




According to Open Secrets, which relies on public records, Sam Zell gave 100 percent to Republican candidates up to the 2018 reporting period reflected in the graphic, shown above. By contrast, Warren Buffett gave 100 percent of his campaign contributions to Democratic ones, as the image below demonstrates.



Keep you friends close, and your enemies closer. With that backdrop, it is useful for manufactured home professionals to glance at the concept of interlocking directorates.




Business Dictionary defines ‘interlocking directorates’ thus, “Membership on the boards of directors of two or more firms by the same individual. It is normally legal except where the firms are mutual competitors, but is usually considered undesirable because it allows firms to exchange non-public (privileged) information and, therefore, may hinder fair competition.”




Note that their definition is perhaps a bit legalistic. It’s because there are subtle ways that interconnected operations can influence other:

  • companies,
  • nonprofits,
  • foundations,
  • political organizations,
  • or governmental agencies,

which can then be wielded in a dynamically similar way as interlocking directorates operate.  As a reminder, here are MHI’s antitrust guidelines, and note the highlighted portions.


Interlocking Directorates

What perhaps too few in the trenches of manufactured housing grasp are how influence, information, and even power can be wielded by means of connections that are technically public, but if unreported or ignored, are effectively invisible. That isn’t a conspiracy, and it can be done in legal or illicit ways, as the prior definition, link to MHI’s antitrust guidelines, and graphics above itself suggests.

Those like Zell grasp this reality well, per our industry sources.

But that doesn’t mean that elites and/or their field leaders can also be blindsided by revelations such as Buffett’s obliquely funding activist protest groups, such as via the Tides Foundation, which in turn funds:




Those bulleted activist groups are politically leftist, democratic socialist, or Democratic party in orientation. It’s what Buffett lieutenant Tim Williams, President and CEO of 21st Mortgage, a Berkshire-brand lender in manufactured housing, called aprogressive” “threat” that challenged manufactured housing. Yet Williams himself, per our sources, has personally contributed to progressive candidates, and via Political Action Committees (PACs), to several others.  We’re in football season, so can you spell, ‘head fake?’

Bluntly rephrased, Buffett has funded through various channels radical and leftist organizations that have deliberately targeted Zell’s ELS brand.

Let that sink in.

And if you are Sun Communities, UMH Properties, or any other sized manufactured home community or other MH operation, ponder this question. If Buffett’s money was used to target Zell, why wouldn’t they your or any other firm too?



Warren Buffett has been funding leftist and Democratic causes and candidates for years. Among them are MHAction, which targeted via protest and mainstream media, ELS, among others in the industry. MHAction – which again benefited from cash that flowed from Buffett – also disrupted the address by HUD Secretary Ben Carson in Las Vegas last April.


Furthermore, Buffett’s Berkshire brand Clayton – per sources – has purportedly paid one or more writers who have spotlighted speaker/authors like Esther Sullivan. Professor Sullivan presents a mishmash of pro- and anti-manufactured home positions, most notably negative with regard the owners of certain manufactured home communities.

That’s not to say that only ELS has been targeted by progressive groups interconnected to Buffett’s financial largess. So have:

  • Frank Rolfe of MHPFunds/RV Horizons and his partners,
  • Blackstone – which entered manufactured home communities this year – and other community owners have been targeted by groups that were funded by sources that were given millions from Buffett’s coffers.
  • It’s not speculation, because there’s a public record and a money trail.

MHAction, MoveOn, The Indivisible Project, AntiFa are among those that have also targeted HUD Secretary Carson, others in the Trump Administration, including protests of President Donald J. Trump himself.  Battle lines are being drawn by Buffett on the political left and people like Zell who favor more pro-business policies, like those of the GOP and it’s disruptive 45th president.




A Surprising Discovery

MHAction directly and indirectly revealed to MHProNews their lack of interest in ‘small fish‘ like manufactured home community professionals, George Allen, Spencer Roane, Tom Lackey and SECO. Those three and their ‘education’ all have ties to business tactics that led the Chattanooga Times Free Press and other media to spotlight allegedly illegal activities that harmed numerous consumers. Per mainstream media and other sources to MHProNews, various public officials in Georgia and elsewhere are reportedly investigating those concerns.



If MHAction cared so deeply about ‘victims’ of ‘predatory companies,’ where were they on this issue? MHProNews knows from multiple sources that MHAction was aware of these events, but opted not to act on behalf of those residents. Learn more, linked here.


Put differently, there is an open question as to what motivated and directs MHAction or others, to target Zell, Rolfe and Blackstone instead of others like the example noted in the report about Lackey and company, which are linked from the image above and below.



Click here to learn more. If the pro-manufactured home industry’s trade media doesn’t police its own, then mainstream media and public officials will eventually do it instead. Accountability is a traditional role for any industry’s good trade media.  Click here to learn more about the troubling tales about Lackey, Roane, and Allen.


If MHAction and their allies are posturing as fighting for the ‘little guy’ who leases a site from an alleged problem operator, why did MHAction or other resident groups effectively ignore defending the purported victims of Tom Lackey? After all, various public accounts, and governmental investigations, claim and are investigating Lackey and his defenders/promoters shown above as potentially guilty of serious criminal and civil offenses.  Of course, like Buffett or anyone else, they are deemed innocent in the eyes of the law, until they plead or are proven guilty in a court of law.

So why does MHAction go after firm’s like Zell’s instead?

That’s not to suggest that Ken Borden at MHAction gets a call from Warren Buffett – that’s unlikely and unnecessary. All that billionaire Buffett has to know is that his money went to the Tides Foundation, and trusting the Tides’ track record would be enough for him. See what Buffett says in his own words, further below, about not-micromanaging. Then someone like Borden will be identified and selected, and they will know what to do, and not do.



Facts are facts. Borden and leftist NY Communities for Change, an offshoot of the now defunct, and scandal plagued ACORN, targeted ELS communities that were reportedly well run and operated within the law. By contrast, MHAction ignored Tom Lackey, George Allen, Spencer Roane and their colleagues. An on-the-ground source told MHProNews that Lackey’s community was “a slum.” Which begs the question. Is MHAction and other like organizations funded by Tides the strong arm tactics of the political left? Are they part of a shakedown, worthy of a RICO and other investigations by state or federal authorities? Legal sources have suggested precisely that could be true. For more on Borden, and MHAction, see “Paving the Road to Hell,” at this link.


Why This Matters to Firms of All Sizes in Manufactured Housing

Companies of all sizes in manufactured housing routinely need access to capital and financing.

Every sized operation is impacted by the industry’s stigma, which Clayton Homes and MHI posture at addressing, but have arguably clearly failed at fixing. The evidence? New HUD Code home sales statistics are a stark reminder.


ManufacturedHousingInstituteLogoMHILogoSept2018MonthlyEconomicReportDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews (1)

From a report on, which spotlights an article by Lending Tree that is superior to most anything that MHI has produced to ‘promote’ manufactured housing. See that Lending Tree statement – very favorable to manufactured homes – at this link here.


It’s the facts – performance – that is the baseline reminder that MHI and Clayton ‘leadership” have failed the industry’s independents.

Marty Lavin, an attorney, MHI award-winner, and long-time finance, community and retail success said that MHI works for the interests of the “big boys.” The interests of other sized firms are only protected to the extent they align with the biggest boys on the MH block, said Lavin. That would arguably be Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, and their firms that operate in manufactured housing such as 21st Mortgage or Clayton Homes.

  • fact checks,
  • following the evidence,
  • following the Money,
  • following the performance vs. the words and deeds of MHI and others reveals this to be a logical Occam’s Razor reality.

Manufactured home operation of the small- to mid-range sizes were allowed to struggle, fail, or are acquired in part due to capital constraints. MHI failed them, in favor of a mega-billionaire. Who says? Among others, more MH industry award winners, like retailers Bob Crawford, or Alan Amy.



Zell warned how limiting capital access was a weakness for the industry, as the exclusive quotes below to MHProNews via the late Howard Walker – then ELS Vice Chairman – reflect.



MHI’s Former President Said…

MHI’s prior president, Chris Stinebert also warned the industry in a parting published message.  That’s found in a column in the Journal that was arguably a thinly-veiled warning to manufactured housing professionals.  Stinebert’s article could be read as a parting slap at MHI.

Every industry professional in the manufactured housing is directly or indirectly impacted by these factors MHI’s former president noted. Restricting financing limits sales, which harms affordable home ownership.  Note, one need not agree with Stinebert’s suggested cure to his point #4 to realize that he felt that there were problems with lending and capital access that needed to be addressed.

Not long after Stinebert exited MHI, the industry was about to be hit by the 2008 housing/finance meltdown in a way thousands of industry professionals did not anticipate.


A Smoking Gun…

Money trails are used by prosecutors and civil attorneys, say legal experts to MHProNews, to demonstrate what could be patterns of behavior. FBI officials have previously told the Daily Business News on MHProNews that a significant number of special agents are versed in accounting and other forms of business and financial expertise.  That’s precisely done so they can spot and find schemes that can be charged in court with various kinds of “white collar” illegal behavior.

Harvard’s Eric Belsky believed circa 2002 that manufactured housing would dominate conventional housing by 2010. Belsky knew about the repossession glut related to Conseco, Greentree or other now defunct MH lenders. Belsky still believed manufactured housing would not only recover, but would dominate.

Had Harvard’s expert been correct, the nation could have saved tens of billions annually. Furthermore, per research outlined on Value Penguin, the U.S. could gain $2 trillion annually in gross domestic product – impact similar to the Trump Administration regulatory roll backs or the 2017 tax cuts – if the affordable housing crisis was properly addressed.  And using manufactured homes, that could be done simply by enforcing existing laws.  No new legislation is needed. No need for years of debate.  Just enforce the law.


How did Belsky miss his estimates about the future of manufactured homes?

Because he failed to anticipate that Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway would buy Clayton Homes in 2003. That same year, Berkshire bought and rolled Oakwood Homes into Clayton, and would create via acquisitions the largest operation in manufactured housing.

Among those units acquired was 21st Mortgage Corp.  But let’s look for the next few moments at the 2008 housing/finance crisis.

During the calamity of the aftermath of 2008, an independent manufactured home producer then told MHProNews what 21st was about to do. But it wasn’t until recently that an actual document – a purported “smoking gun” from 21st’s Tim Williams to independent retailers was actually obtained. The document, shown further below, explained why 21st would only be cutting financing support to non-Clayton Homes manufactured housing carrying independents.

During a crisis, when people are desperately trying to swim for shore, details can often get lost in the fog of panic and pressure.

Thus, some issues only come into focus after a crisis – like the 2008 housing/mortgage meltdown – has come and gone.

When the Urban Institute or others study the manufactured home industry, and they ask why manufactured home sales are at such relatively low ebb, the 21st document, quotes from Buffett, and the videos that follow ought to be among the top exhibits examined.  So how did the Urban Institute – which also gets funded by Buffett, and where he is a life-time trustee – miss all three elements?

When federal officials, investors, and others wonder why manufactured homes haven’t done better, given the affordable housing crisis, these are important starting points for a clear understanding.

And when independent manufactured home retailers are wondering about the future – as which supplier(s) and service providers they should use – an adage ought to be applied.  Namely, that a reasonable predictor of future behavior is past behavior.


This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the PDF of this document, click here or above.


The result was predictable. As a former Clayton manager, Ken Corbin publicly said, some 10,000 independent manufactured home retailers vanished. That bold move reflected by the 21st Mortgage document obviously harmed those independent retailers.  But it also hurt:

  • manufactured home communities, that for years relied upon retailers to sell homes into their communities.
  • independent manufactured home producers, which MHI’s own records reflect – see below – fell in numbers following the impact of the 21st document above, which Tim Williams signed.
  • several independent transport, installation, suppliers and others were lost or absorbed by larger firms, as the consequences mounted.



What’s often missed is that not long after that letter that Williams claimed 21st regrettably had ‘no choice,’ Kevin Clayton was bragging in the video below that “Warren” told him that they had “plenty of money.”

But perhaps the strongest example of how misleading the 21st document from Tim Williams arguably is comes from quotes from Warren Buffett’s own annual letter. Like the Clayton interview video included in this report, Buffett’s own words make it clear that Berkshire could have continued funding 21st, and thus, the industry’s independents.

Instead, they collectively killed off thousands of independent firms, purportedly by pulling the financing – the access to capital – that ELS’ Zell or Harvard’s Belsky both said are so necessary.


Why did Belsky miss his predicted date? Because it came before Buffett’s entry into MH? Note that MHI, Tim Williams/21st and Clayton have all been asked to address these concerns.  At no time have they even tried to explain it, though previous to such inquiries they would give prompt replies to this trade media outlet.  How is that to be explained?


Quotes from Buffett’s Letter

Our gain in net worth during 2009 was $21.8 billion, which increased the per-share book value of both our Class A and Class B stock by 19.8%. Over the last 45 years (that is, since present management took over) book value has grown from $19 to $84,487, a rate of 20.3% compounded annually,” said Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, in his 2009 annual letter to shareholders.

Here are a few examples of how we apply Charlie’s [Munger, Berkshire Vice-Chairman] thinking at Berkshire: Charlie and I avoid businesses whose futures we can’t evaluate.”

In manufactured housing, that meant that Buffett and Munger had no doubt about the future of the industry. Investors, take note.

When the financial system went into cardiac arrest in September 2008, Berkshire was a supplier of liquidity and capital to the system, not a supplicant. At the very peak of the crisis, we poured $15.5 billion into a business world that could otherwise look only to the federal government for help,” said that same 2009 annual letter.

What did that mean for manufactured housing professionals? Simply this. That the 21st Mortgage Corporation letter to independent retailers includes claims that were at best mistaken, misleading – or even false – assertions.

Berkshire made billions that year. Buffett’s conglomerate lent billions that year, his letter said. Yet, 21st had the chutzpah to claim they couldn’t lend to manufactured housing retailers that didn’t carry Clayton Homes product? 

To better grasp the principles of how and why this was done, one must understand Buffett’s concept of the ‘strategic moat.’  The short video below explains part of it, in Buffett’s own words.



Lines were arguably crossed, or perhaps the better prose is ‘double crossed.’ While Kevin Clayton smiles in the video that follows, as he says how much Clayton valued independent retailers, what they collectively did to independents fails to match those sweet-sounding words.



Applying MHI award-winner, Marty Lavin’s mantras, “pay more attention to what people do than to what they say,” and “follow the money.”

That debatable double-cross may be why Zell stays in MHI, to – ala the mantra at top – to “keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.”


More from the Oracle of Omaha…

What Buffett Said – Who’s Responsible?

We tend to let our many subsidiaries operate on their own, without our supervising and monitoring them to any degree…Most of our managers, however, use the independence we grant them magnificently, rewarding our confidence by maintaining an owner-oriented attitude that is invaluable and too seldom found in huge organizations,” said Buffett that year.

But it should also be recalled that Buffett preaches about ‘widening the moat.’   See all of the Buffett videos on the key Kevin Clayton videos on the page, linked here, or watch the videos posted on this page.  Clayton talks about ‘widening the moat’ and besting competitors repeatedly in the video. 

Buffett referenced this from his 2008 annual letter, “We are certain, for example, that the economy will be in shambles throughout 2009 – and probably well beyond – but that conclusion does not tell us whether the market will rise or fall.”  He chastised many in media for sensationalism, adding: “Any investors who were misled by the sensationalists paid a big price: The Dow closed the day of the letter at 7,063 and finished the year at 10,428.”

Skipping deeper into that 2009 Buffet annual letter to Berkshire shareholders, we find the section that deals with Clayton Homes, and manufactured housing.  Note that the graphics shown are by MHProNews, but reflect data from Berkshire or others sources, as shown.


“Finance and Financial Products

Our largest operation in this sector is Clayton Homes, the country’s leading producer of modular and manufactured homes. Clayton was not always number one: A decade ago the three leading manufacturers were Fleetwood, Champion and Oakwood, which together accounted for 44% of the output of the industry. All have since gone bankrupt. Total industry output, meanwhile, has fallen from 382,000 units in 1999 to 60,000 units in 2009.”

By the way, the industry shipped 372,000+ in 1998 – not 1999. And in 2009, the total shipments were under 50,000 homes  So, that last sentence above by Buffett has two apparent fact errors.


From the National Association of Realtors.  There are a growing number of industry voices that believe that BH/CMH and MHI have by various action/inaction has kept manufactured home sales at historically low levels. The evidence is found herein and are also linked from Related Reports, further below.



The collapse of so many companies in manufactured housing has several causes, including, but not limited to, the image issues fostered by groups like MHAction. 

But cutting off capital – in the form of lending – has to be high on the list, if not on top.  High rents, high conventional housing costs, these are historic reasons for strong performance for manufactured homes. So how could MHI’s president, in the video above, say with a straight face that the industry must accept slow growth?




The market share graphics, based upon various industry reports and sources as shown, tells the tale of how Clayton used ‘the moat‘ of financing and other tools to rapidly increase their market share.  Note that doing so arguably shrank the overall market, as it increased their market share.





But because of MHI’s problematic track record, which even their former chairman Nathan Smith (above) and MHI member Frank Rolfe (below) in the videos above and below, the trends shown herein advanced.






Evidence that it isn’t just coincidence or some other mystery is found in the RV Industry’s performance during the past 2 decades. Compare their trends to that of manufactured housing during those same years.




That’s arguably among the reasons why industry voices, such as the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) – which focuses on federal production-related issues – has encouraged the industry’s post-production sector to organize a new post-production association.  Because MHI has failed the bulk of the industry for years.


MHARR Releases Study Recommending Independent Collective Representation for Post-Production Sector


Some in the communities side of the industry have begun to do just that, namely, create a new national MH communities group. And purportedly Berkshire-dominated MHI, not surprisingly, attacked that new communities trade group which publicly explained why they left MHI in the first place.


Nathan Smith, SSK Communities, and Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Slam New National Manufactured Home Communities Group in Written Statement


The industry’s independents have witnessed thousands of firms driven out of business, or that sold out to others for less than their true value. That in turn hurts housing affordability, and thus, the nation.

It was apparently done for the sake of billions of dollars, and to grow Berkshire’s strategic moat in manufactured housing.  It’s demonstrably cost Americans trillions, using the logic of two NBER researchers.

That manufactured housing is a proven solution to the affordable housing crisis – one that is hiding in plain sight – is clear to any open-mind researcher. Manufactured homes have enjoyed political support across the left-right political divide.




But “Moat” building Warren Buffett and his minions in MHVille have debatably strangled the industry for years, costing numerous independent businesses millions per location. That monopolistic ploy in turn, for reasons previously linked, has cost Americans trillions in lost GDP.

Is MHAction, MoveOn, et al – and cutting off access to capital, while supporting candidates that support regulations that kill off small businesses – all part of Buffett’s Moat strategy?




The Nation, The Atlantic, GuruFocus, The Seattle Times and others have looked at various aspects of these issues, and on various aspects of the matter, they seem to think so.

But so far, only MHProNews has connected-the-dots across the left-right media divide that linked:

  • Tim Williams/21st “Smoking Gun” Letter,
  • Kevin Clayton video, where Clayton explains how “Warren” uses the Moat, nonprofits and foundations,
  • Buffett’s own annual letter,
  • to the logically avoidable collapse of thousands of manufactured home firms,
  • and now, the way that activist groups such as MHAction has harmed the industry’s image through protests and media coverage.

To date, no one else so far in mainstream media has published the details which are so Machiavellian. Or for those who love gangster movies, it’s a dramatic yet tragic scene that could come out of “The Godfather” series. If Alan Amy in the video above and others in MHVille  are right, Buffett’s lieutenants in MHVille want to “make you an offer that you can’t refuse.”

We’re told by thoughtful attorneys that RICO and antitrust issues are among the concerns they see.

It’s past time for:

  • a law-and-order minded Trump Administration,
  • state attorney generals,
  • private businesses,
  • and specialized civil attorneys,
  • to rise up and stop a corrupt ‘hiding in plain sight’ scheme.

Ending that’s monopolistic “Moat” could revive manufactured homes, and would be part of the affordable housing solutions that would collectively yield to Americans trillions of dollars.

For more details, see the related reports, above and below. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, Commentary, and analysis.).

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Related References:

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

Affordable Housing, the Visible, Yet Mysterious Struggle for an Obvious Solution, Case Examples

Realtor University, Journal for the Center of Real Estate Studies, Makes Corrections– “The Market for Manufactured Homes,” by Scholastica ‘Gay’ Cororaton, CBE

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

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

Due Credit, Warren Buffett, Media, and Manufactured Housing’s Historic Achievement


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



Manufactured Housing’s Halloween Lighter Side, Cartoons and Video Tip

October 31st, 2018 Comments off



Halloween is beloved by millions, and thousands of industry professionals have youth that will participate.  Adults will have their own ‘all hallows eve’ – Halloween festivities.


Manufactured housing has arguably been limited by several artificial factors. From the outset of our launch of publishing 9 years ago, MHProNews has worked to identify challenges and promote solutions.




Political maneuvers and regulatory machinations are among those challenges. Billionaires give to political campaigns to influence the system. While “We, the People” can’t match their money, there are far more votes available from thinking readers of the Daily Business News on MHProNews than there are industry billionaires. Keep in mind, we love free enterprise, and money honestly earned via good service to customers.





Following Facts, Money – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage, and Manufactured Housing

Cartoons can be worth a thousand words. It has been a while since we shared some cartoons on MHProNews.




Leaders on both sides of the major party-political aisle involved in manufactured housing are giving and promoting votes. The report linked below shares a few examples. Links from that post have even more details.





The pro-Democratic video posted further below was sent in by a longtime manufactured housing professional. It’s insightful, and at times, riotous. An interesting Halloween share.





If you have been among the early voters, please vote early or on election day, Tuesday November 6th. Not voting is a half-vote for 2019 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Not voting is a vote to make Maxine Waters the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee.






We are political independents who want manufactured housing to achieve its full potential.  Common sense should tell us all that the economy is improving, even with a well-orchestrated campaign of #resistance.




Enjoy the cartoons and video.  Please share this post’s link.  Most importantly, vote wisely. The future growth potential of our industry will be on the ballot. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

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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.

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Related Reports:

Short, Medium, Long Term Strategies – Step One – Manufactured Housing Marketing Sales Monday Meeting

Facts & Analysis – Senator Elizabeth Warren re: Manufactured Housing Institute Memo to MHI Members, 10-3-2018



Following Facts, Money – Sam Zell, Warren Buffett, Tim Williams/21st Mortgage, and Manufactured Housing

October 29th, 2018 Comments off

Photos, left to right, Sam Zell, Tim Williams, Warren Buffett. Photo credits for first two on left, MHProNews.

Opinions are common.  As the saying goes, opinions are a dime a dozen.



But facts, evidence, and money trails are nettlesome things.


Sam Zell

Sam Zell is the Chairman of Manufactured Home (MH) Community giant, Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS). In the MH and RV site spaces – and related home sales and rental business – they are at the top with Sun Communities, per figures used by the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).

According to Open Secrets, which uses federal information sources, Sam Zell has given during the 2018 election cycle 100 percent of his campaign contributions to Republican (GOP, Grand Old Party) candidates.




ICYMI, or need a refresher, a prior Daily Business News on MHProNews report about Zell is linked below.


ELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation



Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett is the Chairman of the Berkshire Hathaway (BH) conglomerate. Buffett’s Berkshire owns numerous manufactured housing connected brands. They include, but are not limited to:


  • Clayton Homes,
  • 21st Mortgage Corp,
  • Vanderbilt Mortgage – which began making loans in the MHCommunities (MHC) commercial lending space – beyond making loans on manufactured homes for Clayton Homes,
  • Berkadia,
  • NAI,
  • Shaw Carpets,
  • Berkshire Hathaway Home Services,
  • plus numerous other suppliers and financial services firms, not overlooking BH’s serious stake in controversy-laden Wells Fargo.


As MarketWatch and MHProNews reported last week, Buffett gave 100 percent of his campaign contributions to Democrats in the 2018 midterm election cycle.


MarketWatch Reports Warren Buffett’s Midterm Campaign Contributions


It must be noted that via so-called “dark money” channels, Buffet has given to foundations and non-profit groups. Through those foundations, Berkshire money is supporting anti-MHC activist group, Manufactured Housing Action (MHAction).



Expose! Why Has Warren Buffett/BH Funded Anti-MHC Activists, MHAction? Why Fund Attacks on ELS, Frank Rolfe, Blackstone Group?


As we recently reported on MHLivingNews, MHAction has targeted with protests that drew mainstream media attention:

  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson,
  • ELS,
  • Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds led RVHorizons, MHPFunds, and Mobile Home University (MHC),
  • Blackstone Group, which MHProNews reported entered the MHC space last summer.


Even Golden State Manufactured-Home Owners League (GSMOL), another manufactured home owner resident group, has cautioned against MHAction.


Manufactured Home Resident Group President Cautions Against MHAction, Surprising Background Reveal to Manufactured Housing Action



Tim Williams

Tim Williams is the President and CEO Buffett’s Berkshire owned 21st Mortgage Corp. Williams has been the subject of numerous reports, exclusive statements and interviews by MHProNews for several years.




Williams, along with ELS’ late Vice-Chairman Howard Walker, Williams has praised MHProNews and MHLivingNews, see the comments above and below.



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


According to Open Secrets, Williams has split his personal campaign donations. Most, per that source, has gone to Republicans. But it is worth noting that Williams has given to high profile U.S. Senate candidates who are Democrats. Those Democrats include, but may not be limited to, Joe Donnelly (IN-D) and Sherrod Brown (OH-D).




Donnelly is considered the more moderate among Democrats, but Brown is pretty far leftist. What makes the Williams contributions controversial is the fact that Williams publicly blasted “progressives” in an MHI meeting, while he was still MHI Chairman.



Williams supported a progressive, Sherrod Brown, and a Democrat that sides with progressive Senate Minority Chuck Schumer and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi on almost every issue. One can agree with William’s presentation, while noting the obvious disconnect between his words and deeds. MHProNews was the only MH trade media that spotlighted this concern previously, at the article linked below. Now, more i’s are dotted.



The Terrain on D-8

Both Senators Donnelly and Brown are in states that President Donald J. Trump (R) has campaigned in. It must be noted that it was President Trump who signed S. 2155, which gave the manufactured housing industry a measure of relief from the onerous MLO Rule imposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB, or more recently being dubbed the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP)).


It was after an MHProNews satirical image, that was followed by a spotlight from sources at the CFPB that said that MHI had not yet contacted acting director Mick Mulvaney about regulatory relief, that The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) reportedly began their push for repealing the MLO rule via S 2155.





Because of the presence in Indiana of a Libertarian candidate who is drawing single digit polling that might otherwise go to the GOP, that Senate race is tight. But there is polling data that suggests that the Republicans are marginally ahead in both states.  The varied House races are a tougher call, but early voting data seems to suggest Republican momentum, in spite of what Nate Silver and other pro-Democratic pundits are saying.

Indiana, of course, is the state where Vice President Mike Pence (R) was governor. MHProNews sources have said that Pence understands MH industry issues, knows our industry’s lingo, and has been supportive of manufactured housing.


President Donald J. Trump Visit to Manufactured Home Community, Video, Hurricane Florence Update


MHProNews was alone in industry trade media to point out the apparent conflict between Tim Williams/21st and his boss Buffett, or was it a head fake? Either way, it’s problematic for thinking manufactured housing industry professionals, most notably independents.

7 of the top ten billionaires are backing Democrats, and have been for some time, per Open Secrets and other third-party sources. See the graphic below.





Connecting the Dots in and for MHVille

While Mr. Barack Hussein Obama was the 44th President, Buffett’s grandson served in the Obama White House.





One could argue that Zell and ELS are trying to protect their interests against Berkshire Hathaway dominated MHI, by being in MHI. Speculation and statements on that topic vary.

But what the facts and money trail point to is that MHI leaders like Buffett, Clayton, Tim Williams, and Nathan Smith have supported Democratic candidates that have been working against the interests of the majority of manufactured home industry independents for all of the Obama era years.


“He’s Lying,” Campaign Insider Video – “Don’t Do Politics?” Tell Jim Clayton, Phil Bredesen, and Marsha Blackburn, Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act Supporter


Sources tell MHProNews that Berkshire Brands in Manufactured Housing have worked for at least a decade to keep the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of chattel lending.  The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) President and CEO, Mark Weiss has argued the GSEs are mandated to do chattel lending as part of their Duty to Serve (DTS) Manufactured Housing.






Next Steps? 

The Hill and other sources say that voters are following this midterm more closely than others. MHProNews data on ‘hits’ on various articles related to issues like those noted indicates something similar within the manufactured home industry’s circles.

It should be noted that MHProNews respects the right of Buffett, Williams, Clayton or others to give their money and vote as they wish. That said, it is questionable for them to argue that they are working for regulatory relief, when they have supported candidates that have and are doing the opposite of regulatory relief to manufactured housing.


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


With November 6 only a week away on Tuesday, and early voting started, this is arguably the time for thinking professionals to see what has happened to them, at the hands of MHI’s leadership.

That in turn leads to the point that it is the 45th President, Donald J. Trump’s Administration that has shown in numerous ways that they are fighting to break down the barriers for manufactured housing that billionaires like Buffett, his minions, and his allies have built up.

Beyond voting wisely, please consider sharing posts like this with your fellow professionals. Also, consider sharing with home owners and consumers MHLivingNews, and specifically the related reports, linked herein and further below.

There are growing indications, even from mainstream media sources, that the so-called blue wave has not materialized.  Early voting has favored Republican turnout, per NBC News, the Hill and other mainstream media sources that span the left-right media divide.

But every election comes down to counting each vote, and that means motivated voters must show up and cast their ballots wisely.

With the Trump agenda clearly supporting the interests of small-to-midsized manufactured home businesses and homeowners, isn’t it just logical to provide the Trump Administration with the Republicans in Congress that he needs to keep the momentum going?

Mr. Zell’s money would seem to indicate that, while Mr. Buffett’s dough continues to support building “the regulatory moat” that has grown Berkshire’s grasp over manufactured housing for some 15 years.



Connecting the Dots in MHVille

  • Accurate information,
  • a clear understanding of how manufactured home professionals and homeowners alike have purportedly been played by deep Democratic billionaires have held sway over the MHVille, big tech, and other industries,
  • how it could be broken up, following successful GOP midterms, via antitrust action by the Trump Administration.

For more on how that could play out, see the related reports, further below. 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.)

(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.


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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.

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Related Reports:

Compelling Information for Renters and Manufactured Home Owners


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

The Coming Breakup of Berkshire? MHI? Plus Sunday Headline Recap 10-14-2018 to 10-21-2018




“Insulting” – Local News Report on “Mobile Home” Fire Underscores Why Terminology Matters

August 7th, 2018 Comments off



A local news story of a “mobile home fire” on I-20 underscores why the terminology issue matters.


Before diving into the local media report to see the lessons learned, let’s examine part of a detailed statement from a multi-decade manufactured home professional.


Because it very much relates to this issue.

It was an off-the-record remark, and the key part reads exactly as follows, with only the brackets added for clarity:

You [MHProNews/MHLivingNews] have to give us – and the rest of the owners out there – a break on the “terminology”. I agree that we should try to elevate the industry, but you know as well as I do that you cannot reach anyone with the name “manufactured home community” as nobody Google searches for that term. It’s marketing suicide. It’s like pretending that the average American wears a tuxedo to dinner just because we want them to. Until some other term becomes the standard for our product line, there’s no way we can use any term that is not the #1 on searches. We did not create this fact, decades of time and millions of Americans did…I think any term but “home” is frankly insulting.”

There is no doubt that the search term “mobile home” scores far better on Google than “manufactured home.” Take a look for the proof.



Then compare the search term for “trailer house” to “manufactured home,” shown below. Sadly, its not ideal either, but per Google it is improving.  But do those trend lines from Google make that message writer correct?  Let’s look deeper before we answer that question, because common sense and doing what’s right may surprise you.



MHLivingNews reported on the trend in the rise of the use of the term “mobile home” and “trailer house” in a research study by Foremost, found at this linked report below.

Foremost Report: Manufactured Home Customer Survey and Market Facts

Does that mean that we as industry professionals should abandon the effort?

The chart below reveals that a steady efforts in recent years by forward thinkers and doers in the industry are starting to pay off.

The use of the term “manufactured home” was trending down for several years, as you can see below.  But in the last few years, the use of the term manufactured home is finally trending up.  The second side-by-side trend line above reveals the term manufactured home is starting to surpass the term “trailer house.”

Those facts from Google suggest that more efforts are needed.  But the steady efforts of those who use the correct terminology already are demonstrably working.  The opposite of trying to correct the problems would be to abandon the effort, as some mistakenly believe should occur.  You’ll see why reason, facts, and emotions are all reasons why this effort ought to be accelerated, not quit.



MHProNews is a data, common sense, and an evidence-based trade publisher. This graphic proves that the existing efforts are bearing fruit. The principle of prove one applies. Thus, more effort is needed. BTW, do you notice that this improvement is occurring during the time after MHProNews, and MHLivingNews began to push on the terminology issue?  Clearly others do too.  This is a job everyone can do their part to repair. 

A look at a quoted reply from the publisher of MHProNews and MHLivingNews to that industry professional provides the relevant response.

RE: “Terminology.  This is not a killer between us, but I respectfully disagree.  You said it yourself.  The ideal is home, but the practical is manufactured home.  All you have to do is what Realtor did in their [white] paper.  You say, people call it ‘trailer house, mobile homes, and trailer parks.’ [Indeed] Some of them [the homes being described] ARE trailers and mobile homes.  But since June 15, 1976, its manufactured homes.  No mobile homes since that date.”

We do that [in marketing work for others and for our own platforms], “Realtor does that, and you can get the marketing/SEO mileage that way too.”

With all due respect to our publisher, L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach could have clarified a few points.

How so?

Obviously, the best of all possible worlds is to have each of those terms found on your website.


  • if someone is searching for “mobile home,” make it easy for them to find you.
  • If someone is searching for “manufactured home,” you certainly want them to find you.
  • If someone is searching for trailer house,” make it possible for them to find you.
  • But that should debatably be done as Realtor, MHProNews and MHLivingNews do it, educationally explaining the terminology while using it.

One would think that Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) and others that use terms like “Village,” “Estates,” “Community” recognize that home owners don’t want to have the terminology of “trailer” attached to them.


Photo of Sam Zell, credit, MHProNews. ELS Logo, photos are provided under fair use guidelines.

MHProNews reported it, but we didn’t make it up.  Third-party research suggests that one of the ‘turn offs’ for millennials to manufactured homes is precisely the terminology “trailer.”

Millennials don’t like it.

Why turn-off the largest home buying demographic group by saying mobile home or trailer house?

So why would you or anyone use that term, other than to explain that it doesn’t apply to a manufactured home?  And that the cut off date when manufactured homes were born occurred on June 15, 1976.


You could fit the square footage of some of those old trailer houses into the living area of a modern manufactured home.

But here is a brilliant and succinct use of terminology that the NFPA – the National Fire Prevention Association – used.


This is not a perfect definition, but it is clarifying. There have been no mobile homes built in the U.S since June 15, 1976, which is the date that the HUD Code for manufactured homes went into effect. Learn more, click here.

And that is just how simple it can be for anyone who wants to maximize both education and SEO.  Quote the NFPA, and reference it to MHLivingNews.

That one-two punch gives your comments two sources of third-party credibility.  We’ve done this, coached this, and know that when done properly, it works.

And guess what?  That’s what people frankly want anyway.  In the U.S., or Canada, people don’t like the term trailer house. They don’t like it in Australia either. There are very few manufactured homes in Hawaii, which could be a perfect place to prove what the future of manufactured housing could be.  But the term ‘trailer house’ dogs those on the islands who want to bring HUD Code homes there.

Mobile home is not an accurate term either, as Steve Duke explained succinctly in the quote cited below why the nomenclature matters, which he gave on-the-record to MHLivingNews.


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


Why Terminology Matters, Local Media Report

Traffic was blocked on Interstate 20 Westbound near Ruston [LA] due to a mobile home fire,” said KNOE.

According to the Ruston Fire Department, a mobile home being moved caught fire while on Interstate 20. The fire department was able to contain the fire,” said the report. The visual evidence suggests that this was in fact a mobile home, and not a manufactured home.


Mobile home fires are in the news on a routine basis. It is one of several reasons why the industry MUST teach the public the difference in terminology, because it makes prospective home buyers feel safer when they buy a manufactured home, vs. a pre-HUD Code mobile home.

The reason why terminology can matter is what occurred in the battle waged in Ohio.

Recall that their Governor John Kasich weighed in on an effort against the industry and their home owner associations, claiming mobile homes were less safe in a fire.  What the governor was being deceptive or ignorant on is that the pre-HUD Code mobile home safety issue had been remedied by the national manufactured home construction and safety standards.  That fix took place 4 decades before the issues in Ohio came to a head.

That powerful fact is one of numerous reasons why the precise terminology matters.

In this specific KNOE report, local media got it right, because the fire fighters called the charred unit by its actual proper name.

With all due respect to Stacey Epperson, who has previously said that “a home is a home” and there should be no other terminology, like “mobile home,” “trailer house” or “manufactured home” used. That’s nice, but arguably unrealistic. A home that is born in a factory on a chassis – and that running gear is often used just once or twice – and then is rarely if ever moved again. Was that home born before of after June 15, 1976? Did it exit the production center with or without a red HUD Label, which is makes it earn the title of a manufactured home?  Those details matter.  The standards the home was built to matter to that homeowner, the neighbors, to the industry, and a nation seeking an affordable housing solution.


Stacey Epperson, credit, Next Step.

Education is an answer that could bring tens of billions of dollars annually in more retail sales to the industry.  That education can and should be done locally, regionally or nationally. See the related reports, linked further below.

Mobile homes are more fire prone, while a manufactured home is as safe as a conventional site built house statistically. That’s a reality that requires names, facts, and definitions.  That reality is the one that caused the NFPA to do their study, referenced above.


Here is another reason why definitions and proper terminology matters.

Easy doesn’t pay well,” says Sunshine Homes President John Bostick.  It may be hard work – at first – to change habits of how we call things. But changing terminology was accomplished during the civil rights movement.  It was the right thing to do.  It needs to be done to advance the manufactured home movement, because that’s the right thing to do too.


Reviewing Another Reason Terminology Matters

Here’s another reason why it matters.  This local media report, whether they knew it or not, got it right. That house that burned wasn’t a manufactured home.  It wasn’t a trailer house.  It was a pre-HUD Code mobile home, as an expert can tell by looking at the photo from the local media, shown above.


To see the Ultimate Manufactured Housing Infographic, click here.

The public and millions of manufactured home owners don’t want to be known as trailer trash.  The industry can and must lead on this issue.  It is as simple as it is laid out herein.

If the

  • Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) wanted to fix this issue,
  • or if Berkshire Hathaway wanted to fix this issue, arguably either or both could make big strides in short order. Berkshire owns numerous newspapers. Berkshire could alternate the use of their various platforms to educate others in media, and the public at large.

So why don’t they?

But if the whole world did it wrong, is that a reason for you or your colleagues to do it wrong?

“What’s wrong is that we don’t ask what’s right.” – G.K. Chesterton. The tuxedo argument of that message writer is cute, clever, but it isn’t logical.  We don’t call a black man the n-word, as the Rev. Donald Tye Jr explained. Nor should we call a manufactured home a trailer house or a mobile home.


Two wrongs never have, and never will, make something right.  Experience shows that qualified people who are home shopping would rather buy a manufactured home, as opposed to a mobile home or a trailer houses.  The letters to the editor that pop up over the years often say the same thing.

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


The Bottom Line?

We as MH Industry business owners, investors or professionals need to elevate the discussion, not add to the confusion. Check out the linked related reports, below and above, to see more practical reasons why the terminology matters.

But that email from an industry professional was arguably correct in this sense.  A misuse of terminology is “frankly insulting” to millions of home owners, and thousands of industry professionals. 

Who agrees with that last point?  Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.


When did he say that?  At the same time others did in response to the outrage expressed in MHVille when an anti-Trumper used the term “trailer park trash” to describe three people who visited the White House.


See the full, original story, by clicking the image above.

When Frank Rolfe was still speaking publicly against MHI and their failure to engage with the media, he said this about Olbermann’s tweet.


See the entire article and other industry reactions, at this link here.

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

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Related Reports:


“Fixing Our Industry’s Terrible” Public Relations, a Proven Strategy

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

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

“Trailers for Sale or Rent,” “Pencil Head, Its Not a Trailer Park,” Manufactured Home Rental Reality Checks

“Trailers for Sale or Rent,” “Pencil Head, Its Not a Trailer Park,” Manufactured Home Rental Reality Checks

June 11th, 2018 Comments off

Face on left is a still from the music video, below.

It’s classic Sam Zell. “Pencil head,” Zell would say to potential investors who didn’t completely ‘get it’ about what is known today as Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), “it’s not a trailer park.”


It’s not a trailer park. So true.


To see the quote from an exclusive interview with Sam Zell, click the link here or the image above.

But the song by Roger Miller, King of the Road,” provides an interesting glimpse at a historic period in MHVille that ought to be reconsidered. In decades long passed, there once weretrailer parks.”

Miller’s song opens with these lyrics.

Trailer for sale or rent, rooms to let, fifty cents.

No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes

Ah, but, two hours of pushin’ broom

Buys an eight by twelve four-bit room

I’m a man of means by no means, king of the road…”

King of the Road” was like a battle hymn of affordable housing populists in the mid-to-late 1960s.


Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

Unlike the video posted above, those true trailer houses and mobile homes of that era were newer and nicer then. It wasn’t a scandal when Elvis Presley honeymooned in a mobile home.

Elvis & Priscilla Presley Honeymooned in this Mobile Home

As informed MH Industry professionals know, it wouldn’t be until June 15, 1976 that the first manufactured homes were built. That anniversary of the dawn of the manufactured housing era comes again, this week.

For some, as “Trailer House Trauma” dramatized, the trailers of yesteryear were often seen as cool, and classy.

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

But over the years, somehow that higher degree of acceptability of mobile homes and trailer houses changed.

Part of the solution of the industry’s image issue today is to recapture its largely forgotten glory days.

To do so is both easy, and complex. For example, the industry must give every facet of pre-code mobile home owners – plus their early manufactured home evolutionary offspring – their well-deserved dignity and respect.

Affordable housing, then and now, ought to be celebrated.  Affordable housing can make even those ‘of modest means,’ King of the Road.”


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


Rediscovering Mobile Home Parks, and Manufactured Home Communities


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 mainstream media, researchers, investors, and politicos are discovering – or rediscovering – manufactured home (MH) communities (MHCs).

Part of the business model mix today is the notion of renting vs. selling HUD Code manufactured homes.

As the Glen Miller song lyrics reminds us, for decades there have been some who rented instead of sold units. Zell has suggested that rentals must be well managed, and kept marginal.

Arguably, renting homes was revived in part as a response to the flaws of Dodd-Frank, and how the CFPB under Richard Corday implemented the regulations regarding manufactured home financing.

The interview with Sam Landy, JD, from a couple of years ago, makes the point why seller financing was often dropped.  That’s explained in a report with a video interview linked below from a large community owner’s perspective.  Landy is also an attorney, which puts even more insight to the concerns that motivated their change to rentals. All of the linked reports can be read later for the added details, quotes, and color.


Sam Landy, UMH CEO, on Dodd-Frank and The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – S 682/HR 650


Manufactured Home Producers, Selling and/or Renting HUD Code Manufactured Housing

To dozens of factories, it doesn’t matter much if the manufactured home being shipped are going:

  • into a development where the home will be rented,
  • to a retailer who will sell the home,
  • or into one of hundreds of the estimated 45,000 land-lease communities from coast-to-coast where presently it will often be rented rather than sold.

Indeed, as yet another community operator told MHProNews recently, the ROI on rentals is strong.

UMH is one of several REITs or private portfolio operators who rent more manufactured housing units than they sell.

As Don Westphal said during a Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) meeting, there are reasons to hope that renting homes may introduce a new wave of people to the manufactured housing industry. They may, he said, as a result buy later on.

While Westphal’s point might make sense in theory, the total shipment data doesn’t yet reflect that reality. Could it be made so?


In as much as a modest percentage convert from renting to buying, the potential exists.


Manufactured Housing’s Multi-Family Housing Opportunity?

There are no throw away or filler articles published on MHProNews. Each post or report exists for specific reasons. As the publisher, we admit that in hindsight, there are articles that we frankly might blanch at today that were published x years ago. But at that time, based upon what we then knew, we then-and-now have aimed for relevant topics.

As a result, industry professionals have always rewarded us with their time, and read about double the pages per visit than the average mainstream news websites get, per third-party data.  While the data has changed (e.g.: more traffic now than then), the prior video plug below makes the point.


MH Opportunities Knock

That’s said in part because there are significant opportunities to develop with manufactured housing, using more manufactured homes as rentals.

We’ve examined numerous issues, and scrutinized several themes over the years.  We’re refining insights into critical topics in the last 2 years. Each refrain is important-to-vital for the future of the sustainable growth of MH independents.

In an upcoming video interview, we have a retailer on camera who sold numerous residential style manufactured homes to a developer.

That developer using manufactured homes is reportedly renting the units as fast as he can get them in and properly installed.

Rephrased, a manufactured home retailer sold upscale models to a developer, not entry level ones, to be used for rental housing. Those residents who rent those sharp homes will be able to bring their family and friends over, to show them off with pride.

That in turn may fuel more of Westphal’s hope that rentals could lead to more sales.  It is one of several possible approaches, including the recent report on ‘reaching for the sky‘ with high-rise manufactured home towers.

High-Rise Manufactured Home Stackable Towers, Compete with Modular/PreFabs, Density at Lower Cost

The multiple-story manufactured housing Daily Business News report above spotlighted how the industry could be going vertical in more ways than one. The better-known expression for going vertical in MHVille is linked below, and can be read later for more depth of understanding.


Multi-Family with Manufactured Homes

The points noted herein are many, and some are nuanced.

On the one hand, factory-home builders ought to be doing 500,000 to a million new HUD Code manufactured homes a year.  Yet this year, the current estimates are that MH will finish with around 100,000 (+/-) new home shipments.  Ouch.


There’s plenty of evidence – decades of proof of concept – that manufactured homes can be rented or sold. It’s a matter of chutzpah, the 7Ts, and establishing systems that allow one to scale results.

For example, as new apartments are going up, the evidence reflects that they fill up fast.

Bob Sullivan in Credit, citing the Urban Institute stated in a Nov 2017 report that “Today, single-family rental homes and townhomes make up 35% of the country’s 44 million rental units, compared to 31% in 2006.” and Almost all the housing demand in recent years has been filled by rental units,” says Sara Strochak, a research assistant with the Urban Institute. She also states that single-family rentals have gone up 30% within the last three years.”

Line those facts up with single-family manufactured homes, and the light-bulb for large, upside opportunities should be going off more often.

So, occasions for MHVille investing and earning more are actually more widespread than some in the business may realize.


Why the Low Production Numbers?

So why aren’t more new manufactured homes being shipped?

The reasons are many. But about a decade ago, capital constriction – artificially, by failing to follow federal law, and other forces – caused hundreds of retailers and numerous factories to fail or sell out for less. Related resources linked below will have more details.

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

But some of what’s gone wrong is perception.


We beat the drums on terminology in part because of two words. “Trailer trash.” How many people do you know that want to be known as “trailer trash?”


Millennials Need Affordable Housing, but “Trailer Park Boys” stigma slows Manufactured Home Acceptance


For example, we made numerous strategic efforts, sadly without any assistance from the folks in Arlington, to recast the discussion on the T-word.


Note, this graphic will be updated with the link to Rev, Tye’s comments, later today.

When is it appropriate to use the word “trailer?”


Isn’t this part of the antidote to the t-word issue?

When should the “T-word” be seen like the N-Word?


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.

The industry’s members and investors have several options to improve results. All of it should come down to a two words.

Compelling Education.”

Retailers, Communities, Developers, Financial Services, Producers and others must invest in education of their team, and the public. Those various forms of education must take place simultaneously.

That education must include a component that recognizes the dignity of our contemporary home buyers and residents.

That education must happen based upon facts, not hype.

The industry’s so-called leadership has arguably failed to make that case. It’s a reason why there are several alternative regional and national groups beginning to form to challenge MHI in the post-production advocacy.



Sam Landy was and is correct when he said that each company is responsible for its own marketing. Similarly, each operation is responsible for its own sales training program.

What is being “taught” by MHEI may have some value, but it clearly isn’t moving the industry’s needle, when making some common-sense comparisons, and reality checks.


The RV industry has sold rings around manufactured housing for years. Why? RVs cost more per square foot, and are a luxury item, not a necessity like housing. Thus, RV data, combined with the data from NAR’s Lawrence Yun tell us that manufactured housing could be doing a million new HUD Code homes annually, in a sustainable fashion.

Despite the evidence that MHI had a member company – ours, on the consulting side of our operation – that succeeded time and again at attracting the site-built buyer – sources say that MHI first attempted to sideline us, then tried to derail us.  It’s an outrageous conflict of interest, but per sources, not the first or the last.  But the question should be asked, why would they not spotlight that proof of concept?  Doesn’t MHI’s leadership want more growth?


Why did they spin and attempt to bury such behavior? Let’s see if they publicly answer that question, shall we?


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

The allegations herein, and those made by Marty Lavin, MHARR, and other voices in HUDVille are serious ones.

The facts reveal that manufactured housing could be doing far better.

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

The most recent backstab at MHI member companies may be what some are calling the “new class of homes” scam. Producers, including MHI members, are disturbed by what Fannie Mae is doing, apparently with MHI assistance.

Fannie Mae Touts MH Advantage Program, But Manufactured Housing Association Slams Plan as “Illegitimate,” “Bait and Switch”


Congressional, Federal, State Investigations

This publication asked before that the minutes of the MHI GSE closed door meeting be revealed. We think it’s time for even more federal investigators to occur, plus state AGs to get involved. The link below mentions some federal investigations that are already underway.

The arguable failures at the Arlington-based national trade group are numerous.

Nevertheless, they continue to get the support by Berkshire Hathaway brands consistently. That fact belies any theories of mere arrogance, incompetence, collective low level of experience in MHVille, etc.

Put differently, Berkshire Hathaway won’t reward non-performance. Clayton closed roughly 100 of their own retail centers since 2011. Isn’t it reasonable to believe that the Berkshire brands in MHVille like what MHI is, and isn’t doing, and getting done?

Why would Jennison get his contracted extended at all? Several current and former MHI VPs have had less than favorable comments about Jennison’s abilities.  That’s simply a fact, repeatedly told to MHProNews.  So given the questions about the man, from his own office, why was he renewed? Or more to the point, why did he get a bonuses or a raise, per their IRS form 990?

Busted! “Failure Bonus” Paid-Richard “Dick” Jennison, CEO Manufactured Housing Institute-per MHI Document$

More than one attorney the Daily Business News has spoken with see potential grounds for civil actions and/or anti-trust case potential. Other legal claims may be possible, such as allegations of deceptive trade practices charges, interfering in contractual relationships, conflicts of interest, RICO, and other instances that could result in federal and/or state bureaucratic action.

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

It must be noted that those attorneys include those who are exploring class action or other claims on a contingency basis. Contingency cases mean that law firm must have a high degree of confidence in their potential case.

Will Berkshire Hathaway brands and MHI have a defense to mount? Of course. That’s what courtrooms, and the legal system are for, to give a civil battlefield for legally contentious concerns.

For over a year MHI and the Berkshire Hathaway brands in MHVille have declined numerous opportunities offered by MHProNews to respond in writing to the concerns raised, or to debate them publicly via video.  They fact that they won’t engage speaks volumes, doesn’t it?

The fact that Rick Robinson would not answer trade media questions in Deadwood, SD speaks volumes.

RickRobinsonManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIDailyBuisnessNewsMHProNewsDitto when Dick Jennison ducked out on a presentation scheduled weeks in advance.  He did so after we published a list of questions attendees should ask him during the Q&A.  That too should shout “what’s going on?” Even pro-MHI state association executives told MHProNews how suspicious that behavior by Jennison.


The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

Manufactured housing has come of age.

The Ultimate Manufactured Home Industry Fact$, Data, and Insights – Bullets plus at-a-Glance Infographic

Manufactured homes are the solution to the affordable housing crisis that’s hiding in plain sight, as MHLivingNews spotlighted years ago. That slogan we floated is becoming a more common refrain in the mainstream media.

“The Solution to the Affordable Housing Crisis is Hiding in Plain Sight”

But until the debatable chokehold of Arlington, Knoxville, and Omaha are fully exposed and lawfully dealt with, consolidation rather robust growth may sadly continue.


See Smoking Gun 3.

That seems to be the unstated purpose of MHI.  That’s why we’ve editorially dubbed MHI the ‘Monopolistic Housing Institute.’

The foot must be taken off regulatory and capital brake peddles.

The Trump Administration has repeatedly shown that they’re doing its part. We pray daily that the administration won’t mistakenly allow some Berkshire Hathaway lackey to be named as the next administrator at the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs. The next administrator must be sensitive to the interests of independent producers, who are fighting against giants.


The affordable housing crisis is costly to tax payers. The regulations have for years been harmful to competing investors, and independent businesses, who create jobs in MHVille that make the American Dream possible for more good people.

The industry hasn’t sold trailers or mobile homes for more than 4 decades.

We need more industry voices willing to support the common-sense cause of fully enforcing specific, existing laws.

  1. The robust implementing of the Duty to Serve manufactured housing by the Enterprises.
  2. To do the necessary tweaks to FHA and other federally insured loans to break the Berkshire Hathaway finance grip, and
  3. to fully enforce the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, including enhanced preemption.

Doing so will fully harness the power of manufactured housing to serve millions of Americans, with little or no tax payer subsidies. It’s a series of mutual victories, once the choke holds noted are removed.


YIMBY vs. NIMBY, Obama Admin Concept Could Unlock $1.95 Trillion Annually, HUD & MH Impact


The full implementation of the 3 points above could unlock some $2 trillion dollars in additional Gross Domestic Product (GDP), per third party research.

The case for contemporary manufactured housing advancement as the solution for millions of Americans is made above.  At the heart of the American Dream is the saying, “a man’s home is his castle.”

From the days of the 1960’s ballad King of the Road,” to today, the evolutionary solution is the same. Factory-built housing makes sense.

It is up to forward looking professionals to navigate the issues noted, to move manufactured homes up to meet the potential that Operation Breakthrough, Harvard’s Eric Belsky and a GSE – among others – said manufactured housing could achieve.

That’s why the billionaires want as much of the industry as they can get their hands on. ## (Coaching tips, marketing, sales, and management news.)

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Related Reports:

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

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FEDs, AGs, Law, Weaponized Gov’t – Business Risk, and Defense

May 29th, 2018 Comments off


There is in all communications efforts the risk of saying too much, or too little, when seeking to make an important point.


In an era when thousands of messages are heard or seen daily by the average American, the risk of tuning out news or issues that seem disquieting is real.

This report may appear to some readers who skim as a partisan column, but the point is non-partisan and far more nuanced.

Specific examples will be used to make broader points that are important for investors, business owners, and all others too.

Before we dive into them, a quote from Sam Zell, Chairman, of Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS), which helps make the point on one of a blizzard of reasons why this issue of the law and its application matters to every investor and business professional.


See those quotes and more in two MHProNews exclusives on Zell, linked here, and here.


Equal Justice Under Law

Equal Justice Under Law” is a powerful slogan, and a noble ideal.

Justice, like affordable housing, ought to be non-partisan issues.

The words “Equal Justice” are etched in stone on some judicial edifices, plaques, and statues. To be meaningful, they must be etched into minds and hearts.

As an example, the Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigation of so-called Russian collusion with the Trump campaign is now seen by the majority of Americans much as President Donald J. Trump has defined it. Over half of those polled now see the Mueller probe as a partisan witch hunt. After a year and tens of millions spent by the special counsel, that reflects the reality with a majority, even though some 90 percent of big, mainstream media news reports have an anti-Trump bias or slant, per Vox and the Media Research Group. Yet, the president is still winning on that issue. Would that be true without his regular Twitter or video push-backs and counter-punches?

But the point here isn’t the president or Mueller, per se.  Rather, it’s as an example of how governmental power can be weaponized.

There are several people who are being investigated that are being driven to the brink of bankruptcy by federal officials associated with the Mueller investigation. That ought to be a concern to every American. “Michael Thomas Flynn is a retired United States Army Lieutenant General who served in the U.S. Army for 33 years, from 1981 until 2014. In January 2017 he briefly served as National Security Advisor to U.S. President Donald Trump,” says Wikipedia. Flynn is an example of one of those being targeted for something that Democratic Harvard Law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz says is an investigation into an allegation that isn’t even a crime.

Flynn was charged, even though FBI interrogators said they saw no evidence of deception, and Dershowitz said there is no underlying crime involved.  Nevertheless, Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI.  His legal bills were overwhelming their family.

So, even though there are plenty of grounds for defense, Flynn has plead guilty to lying. Why? Some sources say it is because of the high cost of his legal defense. Others add that it was to protect a Flynn family member that the special counsel’s office was threatening to “squeeze” in a similar fashion.

Those are arguably un-American tactics.

But this could just as easily happen to you, your partner, or a colleague. It can happen unintentionally. It can occur even when there is arguably no citizen who has been harmed.

There was a claim by an author some years ago that there are an estimated one million laws and regulations on the books in the United States, at all levels of government.


Sam Zell and ELS had the money to fight back. But what about you, and your business?


Another author used as a theme in his book the notion that the average American has broken three laws each day. That means, you, family, friends, others could get the retired Lt. General Flynn treatment. You could be charged with an offense and be forced to pay the cost of defending against a potentially unjust charge.

This isn’t just a matter of what a federal or state attorney general’s office can do. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allegedly misused their power to target conservative groups, starting around March 2010, per Wikipedia. Lois Lerner has suffered little obvious consequences from that tragic recent chapter in our nation’s history.


Still from the second video, below.

If you or your business was unjustly targeted by prosecutors, the costs of a good legal defense could drive many into bankruptcy in a period of months.

People in government aren’t automatically angels. It’s a fallacy of those who believe in big government, with big bureaucracies.

The Fredric Bastiat video on this page teaches principles that are similar to those of America’s founders. Like American’s founders, Bastiat believed in limited government that gave maximum liberty to people, which in turn protected private property rights. Bastiat felt that law should routinely negate government power, as a check against an abuse of power.


We, the People

The founding founders created a system of checks and balances, precisely as a counter to government overreach.

But research indicates that in the U.S., most don’t know the Constitution, much less their constitutional rights. For example, the Annenberg Public Policy survey in Sept 2017 found that ”Nearly half of those surveyed (48 percent) say that freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment. But, unprompted, 37 percent could not name any First Amendment rights.”

Millions have little or no understanding of the historic reasons why the principle of constitutionally limited government matters.  That’s a recipe for an abuse of power by people in government.

The ultimate check on an abuse of government power is the citizen jury system.

A single informed juror can keep an unjust law, or a law that is being unjustly applied, from being enforced. They can do so by voting, “not guilty.”

Education, motivation, and a keen sense of curiosity for objective truth are useful in business. Those skills are also useful in society.

The power to tax, and the power to regulate, are the power to destroy.

Weaponized education, agenda journalism, and government overreach are among the reasons for voting for those who support limited government that operates within constitutional boundaries.

The entire notion of constitutional government is that it limits government power.  Legitimate government gets its power from the “consent of the governed.” But more than that, legitimate government protects life, liberty, and private property.


The 5Ws and the 1 H

Who. What. When. Where. Why. How.” They are the basic questions that must be answered by objective journalism. They are the basics of police investigations, and the core of all research. By all research, that means research by investors too.

That means they 5Ws and 1 H are – or should be – at the core of informed professional and investor question when probing any issue.

In an era where there seems to be clear examples of “Weaponized Justice,” everyone ought to be alarmed. Again, this isn’t a partisan issue.

There is a need to be informed, but a challenge of getting authentic information. That’s why analytical thinking is so important.

Take the time to understand. Encourage others to be informed.

Vote wisely for those who want to roll back bloated government, which can become weaponized.

Understand the Constitution and it’s principles.


Vote at the ballot box, and vote in the jury box. Every vote is important, but your vote as a juror may be one of the most powerful rights any citizen possess.


The well-informed citizen juror is a great check on potential abuse of power by simply being able to vote, “not guilty.” Someday, you or someone you know could be targeted by government overreach. Applied knowledge is an important tool to stop such abuse. ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

“Death by Government,” Fascism, Communism, Socialism, ‘Big Brother,’ per Williams, Rummel and Owens

MHAction activists all reflect the fingerprints of left-wing, anti-business, pro-socialist thinking.

Behind So-Called “MH Resident Activists,” MHAction’s Kevin Borden, Anti- HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Manufactured Housing Industry Protests

The headline below is not to imply that only Democrats embrace such anti-property-rights notions.  Attention to the details are necessary in every campaign you, and your circle of influence can vote in.

Hold Your Wallet, More Democrats Openly Embrace Socialism, Plus MH Market Updates


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Sam Zell, Randy Rowe, John Bostick, Terry Decio, Joe Stegmayer, Marguerite Nader, Barry Noffsinger – Manufactured Home Industry Interviews

December 8th, 2017 Comments off


A Cup of Coffee with…exclusive interviews…

…they are back.

For a variety of reasons, MHProNews has held several dozen stories online, but in a secluded part of the website.

Now, they are back.

Here are the exclusive interviews that you can find right now on the home page.


Sam Zell, “The Point of the Spear” and “You’ve Got to Have Confidence” 


Sam Zell says “Our Way of Life is Very Much Threatened” 


A Cup of Coffee with… Randy Rowe


A Cup of Coffee with…John Bostick 


A Cup of Coffee with…Joe Stegmayer


A Cup of Coffee with…Terry Decio 


A Cup of Coffee with…Marguerite Nader


A Cup of Coffee with…Barry Noffsinger


We Provide, You Decide.” ©  ## (Programming, announcements, industry interviews, analysis, and commentary.)

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Sunday Morning Weekly Recap Manufactured Housing Industry News June 18 to June 25, 2017

June 25th, 2017 Comments off

The New June 2017 articles on the home page are live, with the full line up on display at this link here.

If you’ve been super busy, traveling, have been on vacation, or are new to the Daily Business News  on MHProNews, welcome to our weekly recap of the Manufactured Housing Industry’s News, Tips and Views that Pros Can Use.” ©



Let’s start with what’s New on

At Death, What do You do with a Mobile or Manufactured Home?

Highlights of What’s New on and the Daily Business News





Saturday, June 24, 2017




Rendering of unrelated modular home in San Bernardino, for illustration purposes, Credit: Express Modular

City Expanding Affordable Housing

 Friday, June 23, 2017

The Homeless are Finding Benefactors in Many Cities

Skyline Investor Move$ Spotlight; Other MH Stocks, Broader Markets Mixed



Senior Staff Shakeup at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)?


Are Americans Hunting for the Single Sectional Manufactured Home Alternative?

Competitive Enterprise Institute Grades Trump on Energy, Domestic Policies

 Thursday, June 22, 2017


Huge Loss to Affordable Housing Stock May Be in Offing

Residents of Green Tree Estates, l-r, Roz Bailey, Annabelle Bentley, Dianna Weys, Credit: Amy Reid-Surrey Now Leader

Investor$ Big Move$ – LPX Spotlight; Tricon, LCI lead, NOB, SKY Bleed

Free Resource for Retailers, Communities, Your Customers and Residents

Jana Kasperkevic, Tiny Houses, Manufactured Homes & Financing

USDA Celebrating National Home Ownership Month

 Wednesday, June 21, 2017


Fearful Residents Ask, “Are There Murderers Living Here?”

Modular Housing Scandal? HUD Investigating, Senator McCain Blasts, Wants Reforms

Insider Trades, UMH – Carlyle Surges, Skyline Slips

‘CFPB Rectal Exam,’ Congressman Stresses Need for Credit & Financial Reform, Manufactured Home Pros React



Is this MH Community Owner, Plus Thousands of Others, Unwittingly Waiving Rights Under Federal Law?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


Summit Homes, Clayton Subsidiary, Donates to St Jude’s, Skyline JUMP$

Datacomp Releases Another JLT Manufactured Home Community – June 2017 Rent, Occupancy Reports, for Seven Markets



Posh, Massive New Manufactured Home Community Being Developed

War Talk Worries? How Is It Impacting Markets?

National Home Ownership Month, MSU Tornado Researcher-Mark Skidmore-Touts Manufactured Homes as “Great” Option


Monday June 19, 2017

SamZellEquityLifestylePropertiesChairmanRegulationsHarmSmallerBusinessResultConsolidationMHProNewsELS’ Sam Zell – Compliance Costs Destroys Smaller Businesses = Consolidation

Why Cavco Bought Lexington Homes, per Joe Stegmayer – CG, AMG, MHCV Up

Consolidation? Not just Manufactured Housing, Look at Banking – Similar Causes?

Starting Today, it’s Prosperity Now, CFED’s Rebranding

Michael Geller, Making a Home for Manufactured Housing, a Vision for America


Sunday Morning Weekly Recap Manufactured Housing Industry News June 11 to June 18, 2017


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

Submitted by Matthew J. Silver to Daily Business News on MHProNews