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“Fight Like Hell” for Independence, Says Trustee – Manufactured Housing Inspiration?

April 3rd, 2019 Comments off

 

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The story from the Boston Globe has nothing on the surface to do with housing, much less factory-built housing. But it had much to do with independence, and the willingness to fight in an arguably increasingly monopolistic, manipulated or ‘rigged system’ society.  Who says? The New York Times, see the column, linked here.

 

A snapshot from outside of our manufactured home industry is worthy of a few moments consideration to gird you or others as to the nature of the struggle – and the inspiration needed – to the good fight for independence.  Because manipulation and ‘rigged systems’ are not only found in our industry, they are increasingly evident elsewhere too.

Here’s what the left-of-center Boston Globe sent to the Daily Business News on MHProNews yesterday, and we’ll then look at what this tale should inspire in our industry’s professionals, investors, and others keen on affordable housing for millions of Americans.

 

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Two Hampshire College trustees have resigned in recent weeks, a result of the increasing acrimony enveloping the board as it charts an uncertain future for the liberal arts school.

Gaye Hill, the board chairwoman, resigned this week, saying she had become a lightning rod. Another trustee, Mingda Zhao, also stepped down, saying he was forced out.

Zhao’s resignation letter offers a hint about what’s next for the private Amherst college. It says board leaders seem to be pushing for the school to close and be acquired by another institution. But he said it is also possible to “fight like hell” to keep the school open and independent,” said the Boston Globe, in an article linked here.

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What Zhao is describing, per the Boston Globe, is what could be called a backstab of the college by various people with ‘special interests,’ including other members of its own board of directors. Stop and think. How is that different than the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) being accused of betraying the interests of the independents in the manufactured housing industry?

 

Yesterday two different reports came into MHProNews from two different sources that represent different parts of the manufactured housing industry.  One came in from NAHMCO, the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners. Another came in and had already been published from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR).  ICYMI, see the linked text-image box below for that report.

 

Historic Manufactured Housing Industry Decisions Were Made Here on 3.27.2019

 

While entirely different, each one reflects a vote of no-confidence by their respective associations and members in the so-called leadership of Arlington, VA based MHI.

Washington, D.C. based MHARR cites post-production issues that the see MHI as having not only failed at, but arguably having manipulated against the interests of the majority of firms in the manufactured home industry.  Among the points they made was diversion of Duty to Serve (DTS) financing by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) away from the majority of manufactured homes into an untested program promoted by industry giant Clayton Homes. Clayton, a Berkshire Hathaway brand along with others in the manufactured home industry, is widely seen as dominating MHI, along with other ‘big boy’ companies, as MHI award winner Marty Lavin, JD, has put it.

NAMHCO also cited DTS yesterday and the need to obtain more market rate financing. The NAMHCO statement bears some clarifying, which MHProNews plans to do in the days ahead before publishing their full document.  But it is noteworthy that NAMHCO – still in its infancy – and MHARR, decades established, de facto or explicitly take a viewpoint contrary to the happy talk fed by MHI to their members and state association affiliates.

 

Why Is There a Need to Fight to Implement Existing Laws?

That existing laws have to be fought to get them properly implemented is itself an outrage. Manufactured housing enjoys some of the finest federal laws that consumers or the industry’s honorable professionals could want.

The reality is that those laws are not being implemented. Cities and local jurisdictions are increasingly limiting or banning manufactured housing. And when one pulls back the veil on why those laws are not being implemented, time and again, there is evidence that a Berkshire brand or other MHI connected firm is benefiting at the expense of independents.

Barbara Hames of Hames Homes in Iowa may or may not have thought much about the fact that Havenpark Capital is an MHI member. She may or may not have thought much about how the apparent collusion between 21st and Clayton Homes, with no warnings from MHI, arguably harmed the interests of the communities she has now sold. Would Hames have sold at all, in the absence of the market manipulation by 21st, Clayton Homes, and Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway documented at the link here?

 

Where Was The Buffett Mantra in Tunica Last Week?

What independent industry professionals and others must consider is this question. When Warren Buffett preaches the importance of protecting a firm’s reputation, why did Clayton, 21st and MHI all decline to attend the meeting of independents? Those independents wanted to hear first-hand what the counter argument might be to the documents and video linked above and here. Those independents wanted to hear that directly from the horses mouth.

Why did Clayton, 21st, MHI, Fannie Mae, et al stay silent?

Those manufactured home industry independents – including representatives from MHARR and NAMHCO.  They and those in attendance reflected the interests of some 200 industry locations.  They were there to begin the process that NAMHCO started some 2 years ago, or that MHARR began decades ago.

Like Zhao urged those that want to save their college from a takeover, the independents of manufactured housing must “fight like hell” if they want to stay independent.  How else will they survive the purported market manipulations and failures to act that the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis and their allies stand credibly accused of, and failed to respond to once more in Tunica last week. Their trade media surrogates likewise opted not to attend, is it any surprise?

Susan Brenton told the independents there at Tunica that she saw value to their doing what NAMHCO has already started. It is worth noting that NAMHCO, as a post-production association, has a D.C. lobbyist, but not Washington metro office at this time.  That’s a reminder that a post-production trade group has no specific need for a costly D.C. metro office.

While there are obvious expenses to forging a new non-producers trade body, it is modest compared to the potential upside. The ‘Axis’ in manufactured housing obviously hopes it is never formed, as former MHI chair Nathan Smith quickly slammed NAMHCO in a written statement a few months ago, as the article linked further below the byline and notices reminds readers.

Affordable housing isn’t a partisan issue. It matters not if the person fighting for affordable manufactured homes is a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent. That is underscored in another article linked below.

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

The fear tactics, restraint of trade, manipulation of access to financing and other methods arguably being employed by specific Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington connected brands have arguably cost the industry’s professionals tens of billions of dollars since Warren Buffett made the move in 2003 to buy Clayton and it’s affiliated lenders, and control other organizations.

Fortunately, Berkshire has the deep pockets to pay those billions. Instead of proposing problematic or unconstitutional wealth taxes, and other floated notions by 2020 candidates, why don’t they focus their energy and talents on something that is doable, legal and useful?

 

Who Will Act? Will Senator Elizabeth Warren, and/or the Trump Administration Act to Restore Open Markets, Thereby Supporting Affordable Manufactured Homes?

 

Why not break up Berkshire, do whatever the law allows with MHI, and fine them billions as the EU has Google for violations of antitrust and other laws?  Why not make an example of them, so that others won’t be tempted to so manipulate this industry or any other ever again?

As independents begin the process of organizing, the time is now.  Like Zhao suggested in his scenario, one must fight like hell, for a heavenly cause.

That’s this morning’s first look at “News Through the Lens of Manufactured Homes, and Factory-Built Housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

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Independent MH Communities, Retailers – NAMHCO’s Susan Brenton Says What Fueled Break from Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

March 30th, 2019 Comments off

 

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It is a principle of good medicine and good business that one must treat the underlying cause(s), and not merely the symptoms of an illness or problem.

 

The headline topic will follow this rapid thumbnail of mobile/manufactured home (MH) history, which will prove useful to new and longtime readers alike.  It will also tee up Susan Brenton’s insights in useful ways for industry professionals, investors, advocates, and researchers.

For decades, part of the business model of the mobile home industry – which later evolved into the manufactured housing industry – was that independent retailers sold homes that went either into ‘mobile home parks’ or onto privately property.

During those decades, while some MH community owners sold and/or rented housing, the more common practice was that they developed and then leased home sites to the buyers or owners of a mobile or later a HUD Code manufactured homes. The bulk of those home sales were made by manufactured home ‘dealers’ or ‘street retailers.’

New manufactured home (MH) communities sprang up, as other communities filled up.

MH Retailers and community owners alike benefited from that long-established business model. Note too that this early business model for the industry served and benefited consumers and MHC residents.

In the 1950s through much of the 1990s, MH Communities had to compete for the business of residents. The stories that have become more common in roughly the last 15 (+/-) years of communities closing, being sold off for big box stores or other forms of multiple-family housing redevelopment were not yet occurring. The related displacements of residents were thus not generating problematic events for those owners, nor vexing headlines for those in the industry. The organization of resident groups in MH Communities to ‘defend against’ their ‘landlords’ is a more recent phenomenon. Why? Because MH residents and MHC managers had an alignment of interests.

 

As long-time or ‘veteran’ industry professionals know, the development of new land-lease communities continued into the 1980s and the 1990s. It was after 2000 that the pace of new communities opening began to slow to a crawl, while community closures for a variety of reasons began to pick up steam, and make often sad news.

 

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Community closures like Lowry Grove sparked protests and headlines. But what has routinely not occurred is a deeper look at what has caused these troubling issues in the first place. Estimates on the numbers of community closures now runs into the thousands.  Meanwhile, consolidators are buying up properties from independently owned MHCs. 

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Thousands of manufactured home communities have closed since roughly 2000. By contrast, relatively few new communities have come on-line. That combination of facts impacts industry, consumers, and government alike.  Affordable housing is being lost, but once again, the root causes of the issues are often misunderstood.

 

While somewhat simplified, millions of MH home owners and thousands of MH professionals that reflect back can see that pattern as an accurate reflection of what occurred.

In the 1980s, some may recall the S&L or savings and loans crisis.  There was turbulence in the housing and finance sectors, but not at the same level as occurred in 2008. There were peaks and valleys in the sales of new housing, including what by then was HUD Code manufactured homes.

 

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The use of this graphic here should not be construed to mean that Legacy agrees or disagrees with this thesis. That said, Legacy clearly believes in the future of the business, because they are raising capital to expand their retail base. It was part of their IR information.  This graphic shows the trend lines of both new MH shipments by years, and also the percentage of MH to conventional housing starts.  MH is underperforming on both levels.  The loss of thousands of independent MH retailers is one factor in that milieu. 

 

It was during the resurgence of sales and the production of manufactured housing in the 1990s that several states saw a significant percentage of new single-family housing stock construction were factory-built HUD Code homes.

There are those who say that easy financing fueled that surge in the 1990s. Beyond question, that played a role, because lending is always a factor in robust home sales.

But it is arguably too much to say that easy lending was the only factor. The quality and appeal of manufactured homes continued to evolve after the start of HUD Code homes on June 15, 1976.

The price advantage of manufactured homes over site-built homes remained steady in the 1990s. It was researchers for the Fannie Mae Foundation and Harvard’s prestigious Joint Center for Housing Studies that pointed to such various realities of increasing appeal, durability, energy and purchase cost-savings.  Based on an ever-growing need for new housing stock, those university and third-party level researchers began to project that the trend lines favored a continued growth of the housing market share for manufactured homes.

 

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Why did Belsky miss his predicted date? Because it came before Buffett’s entry into MH? See the more detailed report and video, found here.

 

Belsky was quoted for a time in the literature of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI).  But a check of his name today reveals nothing on the MHI website.  Curious?

 

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What Happened?

The two quotes from Belsky above have been pared by the Daily Business News on MHProNews. They should not be thought of as spoken by Belsky as one line after the other. Rather, those two pared thus reflect strong realities that researchers like Belsky recognized.  They are accurate sound-bites that drill down to essential points.

In the 1990s and into the early 2000, there were numerous lenders in the manufactured home space.  Even in the 1980s, there were financial services firms, such as Lenders Services Inc (LSI) or AGIC in cities like Tulsa, OK that acted as middle-men between those banks, S&Ls or other financial institutions and the authorized sellers of manufactured homes.

As the manufactured home repossession rout of the late 1990s and early 2000s occurred, numbers of those finance companies – for example, Ford Motor Credit or the Associates – exited the business. Unlike site-built housing, many of those manufactured home lenders never returned to serve the industry.

By 2003, when Warren Buffett led Berkshire Hathaway bought Clayton Homes, Oakwood Homes, and some associated lending units, the MH industry was down, but not out. As Kevin Clayton said in the video in the report linked here, their firm used to have a road show that met with investment capital sources to raise capital to finance manufactured homes via their own captive lender. At the time, Clayton wasn’t in first or second place among the top producers or sellers of manufactured housing, that was still Fleetwood and Champion.

With Buffett’s deep Berkshire pockets, Clayton Homes need to fret about raising capital to finance new home sales vanished for Kevin Clayton and his firm’s team. Clayton said in the video on the page linked above that it was like saving several weeks a year in time, just because capital and reporting demands had been dramatically reduced.

Wall Street’s taste for MH finance paper had soured by 2004, so Berkshire owned Clayton had more than one strategic edge in the marketplace.

After the 2008 mortgage/housing collapse, which somewhat followed the pattern that occurred in manufactured housing a decade earlier, new starts in conventional housing sank like a rock. So did the values of existing housing. As Belsky observed, credit is part of the lifeblood of all housing.

By the time that Tim Williams from Berkshire owned 21st Mortgage Corp issued the first of his 2 now infamous letters linked here, that cut off of lending effectively took out or ‘knee capped’ numerous independent retailers.  That must not be thought of as a once and done event, as insider tips have revealed that it has occurred on floorplan lending by 21st more recently too.

That loss of thousands of retailers, chronicled in part by the Atlantic, IBISWorld and others, disrupted manufactured housing in several ways.  What they never identified, that tips by insiders to MHProNews did, was what arguably was a key that sparked that collapse.

In no particular order of importance, the loss of independent retailers impacted the following:

  • harmed the interests of the independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes that sold largely or exclusively through those independents. Several long-time producers were put out of business, why?  In part because of the cascade or domino effect of losing their retailers.
  • The loss of street retailers also harmed the interests of independently owned manufactured home communities (MHCs). Because most communities relied upon retailers to fill their spaces, when retailers vanished, so did many of those new arrivals into MHCs.
  • Needless to say, nearly all aspects of manufactured housing that supply the industry were harmed. From suppliers, vendors, service, utilities, financial services, installers, transporters, experts or consultants, etc.  Lose sellers, production is lost, and a downward spiral occurs. Who benefited?  Consolidators.
  • The loss of independent retailers also harmed the interests of consumers and residents in manufactured home communities. Consider this point, among many that could be listed.  So long as a community is at or near capacity, much like a conventional housing subdivision, the only way to ‘get in’ is to buy an existing home.  That protected the value of those home owners.  When new communities are no longer were being built at the historic pace, and existing communities’ lost residents for a variety of reasons, imbalances occurred.
  • Those imbalances harmed the interests of most independently owned MHCs, and it harmed the interests of the residents in those communities too.
  • Until more land lease communities began to sell their own homes, vacancies meant that their property values were reduced.  These factors harmed consumers and independents, but could be construed to have made property values lower, and thus aided in the consolidation of communities into the hands of consolidators.

 

While there is more to that historical outline, that is sufficient to set-the-table for the comments of Susan Brenton to other independents Thursday afternoon, 3.28.2019.

 

What Susan Said…

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Brenton wears more than one hat, including duties for the new NAMHCO trade group.

Susan Brenton from the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO) shared several examples of issues that from her perspective and that of her community owner/members that the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) had failed to resolve for years.

In some cases, per Brenton, there were issues that she raised with the Arlington, VA based MHI that they were uninterested in addressing.

Let’s look at an example she gave.

While MHI is posturing with their members to this day that they are working with the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) to get more lending, NAMHCO has taken that ‘bull by the horns’ and began making a direct effort.

In doing so, they learned that locally based team members of Fannie Mae didn’t even know what manufactured housing was.

That’s stunning, given that the Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing became federal law, in good measure though the efforts of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) to get that into the Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) of 2008.  Rephrased, more than a decade after HERA and DTS became law, and Fannie Mae officials that Brenton and her colleagues met with had no clue what a manufactured home was?

That speaks volumes.

That also begs these questions. How can the GSEs claim to be fulfilling their Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing when their own team has examples of employees unaware of what our industry does?  How sincere can the GSEs be at fulfilling the law, when their staffers have so little understanding of the industry that they are supposedly going to serve as mandated by federal law?

 

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Another discovery Brenton shared with independent retailers, producers, and other attendees on Thursday was the following. There were potential avenues for ‘carve outs’ from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s MLO rules that MHI was reportedly disinterested in addressing. Brenton was reportedly told by their staff that MHI’s plate was too full to consider working with another group Brenton and her colleagues encountered that was doing seller financing.

MHI was too busy to consider working with them, even though Brenton and their communities were dues paying members.

Out of frustrations like those that clearly harmed the interests of independently owned communities, community associations broke ranks from MHI.  Here is how Neal Haney put it.

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Once the rules of engagement and methods used by an opponent are better understood, then one can often predict what will follow. 

 

It remains to be seen what NAMHCO’s direct lobbying efforts with the GSEs will produce. But at least an effort is being made.

What in hindsight is increasingly clear is that the ‘smoking gun’ of the letter by Williams at 21st not only harmed the interests of independent retailers and producers of HUD Code homes.  It arguably likewise harmed the interests of independently owned communities, residents, lenders, and others in the industry supply and services chain.  Never forget that even U.S. Bank, who was doing profitable and successful lending in MHVille post 2003, finally exited the business after MHI failed to head of the implementation of the rules of Dodd-Frank.  U.S. Bank cited low sales volumes and the regulatory risks from making those loans.  Other examples could be named, but that makes the point.

 

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Some Takeaways from Fix the MH Industry Tricks Meeting

We will return to some of the other lessons and insights from Thursdays “Fix the MH Industry Tricks” meeting in the near future.  But for now, let’s note the following ones.

The school of hard-knocks from the domino effect of what Berkshire brands arguably caused as outlined in the account here is one that continues to be unpacked. Millions of residents, and thousands of independent owned businesses have been harmed.

Meanwhile, Arlington, VA based MHI did…what?  They certainly appear to have taken the Omaha-Knoxville party line. Whatever seemed to be contrary to that Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis’ goals went unaddressed.  That’s not just true for communities, it is true for retailers too.

 

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

 

Brenton told the retailers, independent producers of manufactured homes, and the other interests represented Thursday at the “Fix the MH Industry Tricks discussions that she absolutely saw the value to creating a new non-production trade group that retailers and others could participate in.

What she implied was clear, as Haney or MHI award-winner Marty Lavin has previously said. If the interests of the big boys don’t align with those of the independents, it is only the big boys that benefit from MHI.

 

SoTheAssociationMHIIsNotThereFortheIndustryUnlesstheinterestsoftheBigBoysJointheIndustry'sMartyLavinMHIAwardWinnerQuoteMHProNews

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

 

Closing Notes of Keen Importance – Who Didn’t Come

Despite being personally invited to attend, neither Kevin Clayton, Joe Stegmayer, Tim Williams, Tom Hodges, or any MHI staff leaders opted to attend.  Why not?

 

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These are some of those who have been invited to attend. We blocked out the specific email address, to respect their professional privacy. But the company or organizational names are shown on the above.

 

They were given the specific opportunity to explain or debunk to the industry attendees their respective views regarding the various allegations made by MHProNews, MHLivingNews, MHARR, NAMHCO, and a variety of others.  Their silence is their constitutionally protected right. But their silence also leaves the record of our publishing unchallenged. Our allegations stand on the merits of their own words, documents, follow-the-money trail and trend lines, plus that Kevin Clayton video evidence.

Two ‘publishers’ of MH industry news were also specifically invited by our publisher to attend the “Fix the MH Industry Tricks” meeting. One of those two was Darren Krolewski of MHInsider.  Apparently coming and perhaps having to write about the meeting wouldn’t fit their pro-Clayton, pro-MHI, pro-big boy narrative?

Maybe that is why their magazines go largely un-picked up at Tunica and elsewhere?

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A photo of another rack at Tunica appears almost untouched. The industry’s pros, given a choice between fluff and reality often chose the real deal.

 

The other publisher specifically invited was one that privately called Clayton “evil,” but he nevertheless said he didn’t want to buy into the concerns over antitrust and other legal or MHI related issues.  That same publisher that thinks that Clayton is evil” said he wants to get along Clayton and MHI, and gladly publishes only “fluff” that makes the industry “look good.”

But how does one cure a problem who’s root causes are largely going unaddressed? Once more, one is left with the medical or good business practices analogy mentioned at the top of this article.  If the only thing that is dealt with are symptoms, then the core issues will continue to fester.

 

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Finally, while not specifically invited, other industry bloggers and writers failed to make the “Fix the MH Industry Tricks” scene. Where was George F. (F?) Allen?  Where was Spencer Roane, Kurt Kelley, Suzanne Felber, or others?  Did they not want to hear accounts like those of Brenton, that might shake up their “inclusive,” self-serving, and ‘happy talk’ industry views? These are not meant as personal slams against any of those mentioned, who can be very pleasant people. Rather, these are valid questions as to what drives those that publish content that industry readers are supposed to ‘learn’ from.

One of those that wasn’t able to attend that was among those that said they wanted to said this. ‘You guys are the only publication [MHProNews] that deals with the realities of manufactured housing.  Thanks for telling it like it is and standing up for the [interests of] independents in the industry.’

As the above should also reflect, standing up for independents is also standing up for the legitimate rights of consumers. When the system is rigged, there are a variety of consequences that arguably harms taxpayers, potential and current manufactured home owners, plus the businesses that seek to serve them.

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

 

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“The Illusion of Motion Versus Real-World Challenges”

 

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New National Manufactured Housing Association Makes Its Appeal to Industry Members

October 17th, 2018 Comments off

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The greatest hindrance and the greatest threat to the industry is not the economy, the homes or the communities, it is governmental interference and over-regulation,” said Neal T. Haney.

 

The manufactured housing industry has long been a mainstay of affordable housing in the United States. For decades the industry has provided an unmatched quality of life with an affordability not seen in any other sector of the housing market. The homes and the land lease communities in which they are situated have become fixtures across the country providing an affordable, quality lifestyle to all segments of our population. Over the years it has seen its ups and downs, but has been able to survive and even thrive through the difficult times,” said Haney, the president of the newly formed National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners, Inc. – or NAMHCO.

We’ve been reporting on the emergence of a new association for community owners, in articles like the ones linked further below.  It is a move that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has been encouraging for years.

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

Now, that new NMHCOA association is taking shape.  Their organizers are making their appeal in writing.

 

The Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona (MHCA) is a statewide association representing community owners in Arizona. As state associations do, the MHCA has been very active and productive at the state level in combatting governmental interference with its burdensome regulations and obstacles,” said Haney, as he walked through some history. “At the state level most community owner associations have been able to not only monitor proposed local and statewide legislation, but interact with legislators to prevent onerous regulations that are detrimental to our industry.”

 

‘No Effective National Representation’…

The national legislation and rule making over the last ten years has proven that we do not have that representation” at the federal level, Haney explained. One only has to look at the passage of the Safe Act and the Dodd-Frank Act to see how devastating and onerous national legislation can be. Other similar chattel groups (the RV industry) saw the proposals and their representation managed to have them exempted.”

It was a devastating finger pointed at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which two state community associations broke from last year, due to a lack of effective national representation.  The group passed out literature at MHI’s annual meeting.

 

State Associations, Companies Quit Membership in Manufactured Housing Institute, (MHI), One Explains in Writing, ‘Why?’

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The national organization to which we belonged [i.e. MHI] was apparently unaware of the legislation and its ramifications until after passage and it was already being implemented. The rule making in the aftermath has been horrendous and little if anything has been done to stop the bleeding,” said Haney’s letter. 

Recently, HUD has issued rules concerning the screening of prospective tenants for our communities. Again we find no one aware of what is happening, much less advocating on our behalf. Installation requirements are being implemented that have no basis in common sense and the result will be additional burdens on community owners and added costs for homeowners,” said Haney.

We need someone to advocate on behalf of the community owners. This singular task needs to be done at the congressional level and in the departments that make policy affecting our industry. Every community owner, and every association that is accepting membership dues from community owners, should be concerned with the lack of representation at the national level and should be involved in finding adequate representation. If you are willing to be a part of the solution, please contact our association office.”  Haney pointed to Susan Brenton, who has served the Arizona community owners for several years.

Brenton previously worked with resident groups in her state, so she is aware of the dynamics on both sides of that fence.

Brenton’s contact information is: 2158 N, Gilbert Rd., Suite 116, Mesa, AZ 85203, 480-966-2446 • suebrenton@me.com.

It should be noted that MHProNews is reporting on this ongoing development of the NAMHCO, and is not taking a position on this particular group either way at this time. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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Main Place in MHVille That’s Cracked the Glass Ceiling?

September 4th, 2018 Comments off

 

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The glass ceiling is the terminology used to describe an invisible – yet solid and real – barrier for advancement commonly applied to women.

 

Let’s be clear. In many respects, MHVille is a male-dominated profession.

That’s not to say that the glass ceiling doesn’t exist in other areas of American business, because it

GailCardwellFormerManufacturedHousingInstituteMHIPresidentDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

Cardwell came from, and returned to, the MBA before and after her stint with MHI.

demonstrably does.  For example, the glass ceiling has long existed in politics. A peek around the world and into history reveals the slow evolution of women into today’s broadly understood status as co-equal to that of men. But there are still today numerous countries, perhaps most notably in Muslim dominated nations, where women are not viewed as equals to men.

In MHVille, there’s been several interesting examples of cracks in the proverbial glass ceiling.

For example, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) hired Gail Cardwell as their president, over a decade ago.

Champion Homebuilders, now part of Skyline Champion (SKY), had Phyllis Knight as a division president for a time.  An interview with her while she was still in the industry is found at this link here.

http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/featured-articles/august-2018/a-cup-of-coffee-withdee-pizer

In the Manufactured Home Communities sector, giant Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS) has Marguerite Nader as president. See an exclusive interview with her, linked here.

MargueriteNaderPresidentCEOEquityLifestylePropertiesELSGlassDoorPostedDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

An interview with Ms Nader, is found at this link here.

Zeman Homes and Communities had Dee Pizer as their president for some 35 years. Dee literally worked her way up through the ranks, and still serves Zeman in a variety of ways. See an exclusive interview with her, linked here.

Dee_Pizer__former_CEO__Zeman_Homes__MHProNew__credit

An interview with Ms. Pizer is linked here.

At Sunshine Homes, Lindsey Bostick is being groomed for taking over the reins at the privately-owned business, currently run by her father, John Bostick. Click on Lindsey’s or her father’s John‘s respective names to see exclusive interviews with each of them.

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Lindsey Bostick, Inside MH Road Show, home photo, Sunshine Homes and Manufactured Homes.

There are any number of independent retailers, communities, and service providers that are owned or operated by a woman, or are ‘mom and pop’ – husband and wife operations. The parent operation to MHProNews, LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC is co-owned by a woman, whose name is on the byline at the end of this article.

That gives the writer a unique perspective on the topic of the glass ceiling in the industry.

 

The Most Visible Place in MHVille for Women?

Women work in factories, at retail sales centers, in offices of all kinds, and by the thousands in manufactured home communities.

But perhaps the single most leadership-visible position that women have broken the glass ceiling in MHVille is at the state association level.

mhec-group-photo2-2013-mhi-annual-meeting-latonykovach-l

At the time this photo was taken of about half of the members of MHEC, over 40 percent of those in the picture are women executives. One man who’s since retired was replaced by a female executive director. 

At any given time for some years, women have held numerous executive directors roles by the dozens in the manufactured housing industry.

Two exclusive interviews with women working at the state association level are found here and here, with letters from lady executives to MHProNews linked here and here. A recent list of MHEC members included 22 women among the 53 state association level executives, or about 41.5 percent.

RealEstatePersonnelCanSellMHCASusanBrentonManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

This year, in Arizona, two women represent each of the major political parties – Democrats and Republicans – for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senator Jeff Flake.

A driving force behind the creation of a new national land-lease communities association is a woman, Susan Brenton. For more on her thoughts on that topic, click here, or the story linked below.

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Rose the Riveter, Wikipedia.

Often overlooked, save by experts like L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, is the fact that a significant part of the home-buying decision in millions of households is made or largely influenced by women.

As we ponder Labor Day, it’s also good to remember the image of Rosie the Riveter. While mostly men fought on the land, sea, and air, woman worked to care for the wounded, and to build the weapons of war used by American men.

So, this post isn’t to in any way belittle or elevate one gender over another.

Rather, it’s to recognize the reality that women’s roles are to be respected, along-side that of men, in or beyond MHVille. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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“New Law,” Using Real Estate Agents to Sell More Manufactured Homes

March 7th, 2018 Comments off

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In an Industry Voices guest column, Susan Brenton, Executive Director of the Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona (MHCA) explains their association’s goal for a new law that has gone into effect.

 

Real estate personnel are now allowed to sell homes in manufactured and mobile home parks without first having to be licensed as a broker under the Arizona Division of Manufactured Housing, Department of Housing,” said Brenton.

The National Association of Realtors ® tells MHProNews that, “The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. According to the 2012 Economic Census , there are 86,004 real estate brokerage firms operating in the United States.” That data is as of Apr 30, 2017.

While the distribution of licensed agents between the states is uneven, that would ‘average’ some 40,000 real estate agents per state. WorldoMeter says that “The current population of the United States of America is 326,021,620 as of Tuesday, March 6, 2018,” so 2 million agents, yields an average of one agent for every 163 Americans.

RealEstatePersonnelCanSellMHCASusanBrentonManufacturedHousingIndustryVoicesDailyBusinessNewsMHProNews

 

The point? There’s a lot of potential when an informed agent is teaming up with sellers.

NAR’s Yun – No Quick Fixes Spell$ Manufactured Housing Opportunitie$

And as the Daily Business News has reported several times, agents are struggling for inventory, especially, affordable inventory.

 

While this video above is now two years old, the insights as to what even one informed agent can do is revealing.  The NAR ® graphic at top further suggests what the potential is.  But as Brenton knows, it isn’t just a snap of the fingers.  Education and engagement are required.

On the consulting side of our MHMSM.com operations, a system for engaging successfully with realtors was developed that yields a nice increase in a local market for new home sales.

One key is in getting agents past the stigmas and the outdated concepts.  Videos like the one can be a useful part of that process; albeit not the only part.

Law Allows Real Estate Personnel to Sell Homes in Your Manufactured Home Community

For the full article by Brenton, click the above. ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)

 

Housing, Jobs, Poverty, Opportunity – Kerner Commission Remix, HUD and Manufactured Homes

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Realtors Selling Manufactured Homes, The Law, and Your Business

October 12th, 2017 Comments off
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Why does the MH Industry think it has to do business so radically differently than conventional housing does?

The law regarding how realtors might list or sell manufactured homes, particularly in a land-lease setting, is in flux.

Sources tell MHProNews that those real estate laws vary from state to state.

As readers on MHLivingNews know, we’ve spotlighted realtors – active and retired – that have fallen in love with the manufactured housing industry’s product.  Some have become quite good at selling manufactured homes in communities.

Other realtors don’t perform nearly as well.

But the potential for the industry to grow by tapping into real estate professionals is reflected in the facts below.

The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates that there are about 2 million active real estate licensees in the United States. According to the 2012 Economic Census, there are 86,004 real estate brokerage firms operating in the United States,” per the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

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For another eye-opening and useful interview for professionals and the general public alike, click the still from the video above.  

So, when Susan Brenton, with the Manufactured Housing Communities of AZ (MHCA), advised the Daily Business News on MHProNews about the change in AZ law, it was a story that merited being shared with the industry at large.

Per the AZ MHC association’s executive director, Brenton:

Real Estate Personnel Selling Homes in Manufactured Housing Rental Communities

Susan_BrentonManufacturedHousingCommunitiesAZ-DailyBusinessNewsMHProNews202Real estate personnel are now allowed to sell homes in Arizona’s manufactured and mobile home parks without first having to be licensed as a manufactured home dealer or broker under the Arizona Division of Manufactured Housing, Department of Housing,” Brenton said.

The new law allows:

1)     Licensed real estate brokers and salespeople to sell new or used manufactured homes and mobile homes located in manufactured/mobile home parks if the licensed broker or salesperson is acting as an agent for a licensed Manufactured Housing Dealer and the Dealer is responsible for filing all of the required paperwork and submitting the required fees on the sale of the home;

 2)     Licensed real estate brokers and salespeople to sell used manufactured homes and mobile homes located in mobile home parks if they are acting on behalf of a private party and the broker or salesperson then remains subject to the real estate licensure requirements.”

ManufacturedHousingCommunitiesofAZ-DailyBusinessNwesMHProNews

Brenton told MHProNews who were member of their association task force that made this change possible.

The Manufactured Housing Communities of Arizona (MHCA) task force on this topic, consisting of Greg Johnloz, Keith Vanderhout and Mel Comstock, has completed all of the forms real estate personnel will need to sell the homes. MHCA hired a law firm which works with the Arizona Association of Realtors (AAR) to prepare the forms, so that the forms are as close as possible to those already used by realtors when selling real property. AAR and MHCA have now shared the contracts and information on this law with their members and we are receiving calls from real estate personnel who are interested in selling our homes.”

MHCA added that, they are “preparing a three-hour class on selling homes in our communities and hopefully it will be approved as a class eligible for the continuing education required of real estate personnel. We are also working with the 12 different Multiple-Listing Services in Arizona on this issue.”

The MHCA’s bottom line, could be the bottom line for many in manufactured housing.

MHCA believes this is an important new law which will bring more prospective buyers into our “communities.”


Note: regarding the husband and wife – the Ennis’ – in the video above; that lady, Mickey, is a realtor too. Millions of realtors, per NAR, could become part of the army that makes the Manufactured Housing Revolution a reality in your market.  ## (News, analysis.)

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