Posts Tagged ‘trailer house’

Secretary Ben Carson’s, Julian Castro’s Manufactured Housing, “Trailer,” “Mobile Home” Revelations, 2020 Battles Ahead

June 8th, 2019 Comments off



Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson, M.D., has demonstrably done much since taking his oath of office to advance a proper understanding of manufactured homes.


In fairness, his predecessor Julian Castro, made a video that praised manufactured housing too.



While the next video interview with then Secretary Castro unfavorably used “trailer” terminology, the former mayor of San Antonio and current 2020 Democratic presidential nomination hopeful, nevertheless stressed the need for manufactured homes as an affordable housing option. Castro also stressed the need for resident protections, years before Last Week Tonight with Joy Oliver’s viral video misnamed “Mobile Homes” did.



Thus, videos and interviews by Dr. Carson as a HUD Secretary highlighting manufactured homes are not totally unique. There have been years of bipartisan efforts involving manufactured homes in this decade and previous ones too.



That is as it should be as affordable housing has been and remains a crisis.



It is also arguably part of HUD’s mandate that such pro-manufactured home statements and efforts fulfill.

Manufactured housing is the private sector solution to this problem, as Secretary Carson has underscored in various ways since taking on his new role. The evidence suggests he has been doing more to promote manufactured homes and other private sector innovative housing options than any HUD Secretary in the 21st century.



One can say he has built upon the foundation laid by his predecessor.  Indeed, the two echo the case made by a bipartisan group of Minnesota lawmakers who cited the facts that point to manufactured homes being an important part of the solution for the affordable housing crisis.  The recent event on the National Mall, reflected in 2 of the videos above, was positive and could be potentially useful for the industry to clarify outdated misconceptions.



But all of that begs several questions for the inquiring mind. For example:

How is it that during an ongoing affordable housing crisis, given all the useful facts and evidence, that the market share of manufactured homes has declined in the overall percentage of new housing starts?



Insightful data, per NAR. From the July 2018 update of the Realtor University report available from this link here as a download, along with other third party studies on manufactured homes.


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


How is it that the use of the pejorative and inaccurate term “trailer” has grown in recent years, instead of diminished?




This is not a perfect definition by the NFPA, but it is clarifying and accurate.


What most think of as “mobile homes” has not been built in the U.S. since June 15, 1976. It was on that date, now some 43 years ago, that the mobile home era ended and the federally regulated HUD Code “manufactured home” era dawned.  These are construction, safety, and energy standard differences, not just marketing nomenclature.




Mobile homes served a useful and important purpose prior to the HUD Code. Millions of pre-HUD code mobile homes are still serving as some of the nation’s most affordable homes, often with updates added since they were first built.



Recent post-Oklahoma, Alabama tornado fact-check, videos, and related reports, linked here.


Indeed, the HUD Code manufactured home industry has over two decades or positive, third-party research to back up the claim that it is the most proven form of permanent affordable housing used in the United States today.



Which again begs questions. With so much useful data and evidence, why has manufactured housing been the solution for the affordable housing crisis that is hiding in plain sight?




Earlier this year, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s (MHARR) Mark Weiss, JD, used an interesting phrase to capture what he and his colleagues believe is an “Illusion of Motion” at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). It was a new way to illustrate prior claims that MHI has been failing the industry’s post-production efforts.

The “Illusion of Motion” built upon a research study from MHARR President and CEO Weiss in November of 2017. That MHARR study demonstrated a need for a new body to represent communities, retailers, lenders, and others who are “post-production” operations. Producers, in this context, are those who build HUD Code manufactured homes, which MHARR itself is, as they state that they represents the interests of independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes.

Post-production topics are those issues that arise after a home leaves the factory.

Those post-production issues would include, but are not be limited to, zoning, placement, and financing issues.

Is MHARR alone in such concerns? Hardly.

Some manufactured home community associations broke from MHI, saying something similar. Neal Haney, who in 2018 co-founded the National Association of Manufactured Housing Community Owners (NAMHCO), said before their trade group was formalized why they broke from MHI in the first place.




Publicly traded UMH President and CEO and MHI member said the following.




Another MHI community sector member was more specific, pointing to financing related issues.




Numerous third party media reports underscored Rolfe’s claim. See several of those mainstream media video reports, linked here.


But to Landy’s and Lipshutz’s points, wasn’t it Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which includes MHI dominating forces such as Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, and Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, that supported presidential candidates that in turn backed the legislation that was the source of complaints like those cited above? 

Or why hasn’t Berkshire Hathaway used their dozens of BH Media Group and other media resources to clear up the mysteries about manufactured homes?




Or ponder what MHI member Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds of controversial RV Horizons – said this as part of a longer statement issued on June 1, 2019.





Mysterious Disconnects and Apparent Ineffectiveness, Why?

This pro-industry trade publication, our sister operations such as consulting, and our the general public focused Manufactured Home Living News (MHLivingNews) were MHI members for some 7 years. MHProNews and MHLivingNews were praised by several MHI elected and staff leaders, as what follows demonstrates.



Part of several messages for publication by Tim Williams that praised the pro-industry work of MHProNews, and our sister site. We at times take a light-hearted, or even satirical approach, to illustrate the issues. See an example of that in the video, below.




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


By way of disclosure, ours is a for-profit organization, that has been supported at various times by MHARR, MHI, and companies which are members of each trade group.  Our editorial stance is demonstrably based upon a simple premise. That the manufactured housing industry is much needed, misunderstood, and should be performing far better during an affordable housing crisis.

We’ve supported and led the way on educational initiatives, such as fact, evidence, and third-party commentary focused MHLivingNews. As pro-consumer, pro-free enterprise trade media, and as industry experts/consultants/service providers, we have long believed that manufactured homes are a nonpartisan or bipartisan solution for the need for affordable housing.

The homes our industry produces routinely serve the nation with no-taxpayer subsidies.

At various times, we’ve questioned the efforts of a variety of trade groups, based upon the evidence known at that time. So those MHI surrogates that allege differently are demonstrably mistaken. It’s our follow-the-evidence, facts, common sense, patterns, and the money-trail that has made and kept us the runaway most-read trade media in our industry’s history.  The top people and management in MHI companies, MHARR member firms, or among non-association aligned companies of all sizes have told us that they are regular readers.




That’s not said to brag, but rather to clarify that we’re not crackpots on the sidelines spouting nonsensical conspiracy theories. We cite sources accurately, provide evidence, follow-the-money trail, and give those we question in our fact-checks the opportunity to respond. As recently as a few days ago, MHI’s and Berkshire’s manufactured home corporate leaders were given an opportunity to explain concerns like those noted herein.

Their response?  No comment.

Given that MHI leaders themselves have praised us publicly, that begs more questions.

Why on various occasions have their general counsel, or outside attorneys for MHI, threatened us in writing over evidence-based reports?  Note that after several years of that, they’ve never taken legal action; perhaps wisely so. Because how would they justify a suit against an operation that they’ve praised? Or how do they attack a trade media source whose goal is to see the industry grow to its potential?  Wouldn’t a suit open them up to a counter-suit, that could lead via discovery to them being forced to disclose information that they’ve withheld when requested in recent years?

The evidence suggests that the powers that be in MHVille praised us up until our fact-checks and analysis apparently made them too uncomfortable.  But instead of disproving or explaining away the concerns raised here, they stopped responding, and used other tactics instead.  Besides legal and other threats, they apparently lined up surrogates.  One of them is the one that follows.



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


The word heard is that MHI-connected leaders made a bargain with Allen to get him to praise them and attempt to diminish our trade media. Allen has called for a boycott of this publication, in writing.  Among the problems with that approach has been that Allen himself has blasted MHI, Clayton Homes, and others for the same kinds of concerns that we or MHARR, among others, have raised. To our knowledge, Allen has never explained his flip-flops on his blog or other musings.  By contrast, Allen’s record of criticism of those he now embraces is evidenced by the pull quotes as shown.  Rephrased, Allen makes a poor surrogate, as he’s made similar allegations himself, prior to his recent flip-flop.


Like MHARR – indeed, citing MHARR, Allen called for a new post-production association. Oddly, Allen more recently has attacked MHARR, whose position has been consistent, while Allen’s has arguably vacillated based upon MHI’s support, or not. But Allen is but one of many who have made allegations of monopolistic practices in manufactured housing. 


While MHI’s SVP Lesli Gooch has denied the charge, Doug Ryan at CFED (renamed Prosperity Now), and long time MHI member, George Allen, are among those who’ve raised the issue of monopolistic practices by MHI. 


Austin Frerick with the Open Markets nonprofit is among a range of writers that span the left-right media divide which have criticized Buffett’s tactics as monopolistic.




Let’s note here that success in an industry – honestly earned – is not what we’re called out. Antitrust laws are not designed to punish success, as a former DOJ antitrust professional recently said. However, various kinds of bad behavior may be violations of antitrust or other laws. That’s what our concerns are aimed at. Evidence and allegations of violations of the law.


Does Monopolistic Machinations Explain Why MHI Is Ineffective? Or Why Manufactured Housing Has Retreated Since Berkshire Bought Clayton Homes?

Which begs perhaps the most salient points at this time in the wake of what is properly understood as a positive week by Secretary Carson’s Innovative Housing Showcase.

For all of the positive and apt points that Dr. Carson has raised, why has he never mentioned “enhanced preemption?”

–      Is it possible that HUD staff – that certainly must be aware of that provision of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000) – has not told him about the enhanced preemption of manufactured housing passed by Congress in a bipartisan way, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton?

–      Is it possible that MHARR’s letter addressed to Secretary Carson on enhanced preemption was not provided to him?

–      Is it possible that MHI has not raised and pressed this issue of enhanced preemption, in their several meetings with HUD staff?

Noting that MHARR and MHProNews are among those who’ve promoted enhanced preemption in digital print for years, more on those questions later.

But for now, let’s point to our recent report on that in the linked text-image box below, and then press on to what is shaping up as a serious issue in the approaching 2020 presidential and congressional campaigns.


Manufactured Housing Professionals, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Must Promote These Two Words



Senator Elizabeth Warren, Other 2020 Democratic Candidates, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes

There is an affordable housing crisis in this country,” says Senator Elizabeth Warren in the video below. “That’s why we are here. A safe, stable, affordable home is the foundation for almost everything else in our lives.”

That statement by Senator Warren is every bit as accurate as the ones by HUD Secretary Carson who has said similarly, in his own words.

Note that at the time that Senator Warren made this comment in the MHAction video below, MHProNews was not yet aware of the financial connections between Warren Buffett, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF), and numerous other interests that are directly engaged in the manufactured housing industry. Buffett bucks fund the Tides nonprofit, which in turn funds MHAction. Restated, it isn’t just progressive billionaire icon George Soros who is supporting some of these groups.  Warren Buffett has been too. Buffett and Berkshire have arguably been funding both sides of the fight over key issues in manufactured housing.



That noted, Senator Warren – sometimes in concert with congressional representatives – has fired off several letters to firms that routinely have ties to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). Copies of those letters can be found as a download in the report linked below.


Manufactured Home Communities’ Dodd-Frank Moment Looms, Senator Elizabeth Warren Takes Aim at Several Manufactured Housing Institute Community Members


Warren and other 2020 Democratic hopefuls have raised the issue of Clayton Homes, and their fellow Berkshire Hathaway owned manufactured housing industry lenders, in a letter to the CFPB. See that in the report linked from the text-image graphic below.


Senate Democrats – Including 2020 Presidential Contenders – Ask CFPB Protect Consumers Against Predatory Lenders — Point Finger at Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Lending


Anti-monopolistic actions are taking a more important role on the national stage, as the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have reportedly launched antitrust probes. Clayton has been accused of racism by Democratic leaders too.


President Donald J. Trump, a variety of Democratic and Republican leaders, have raised several concerns over consolidation, tipping the scales of free speech online, antitrust, and monopolistic behavior in the last 2 years.


Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation


While there is known to be such probes regarding the FAANG stocks, and so-called Big Tech, our sources tell us that Berkshire Hathaway’s activities has also been brought to DoJ’s antitrust division’s attention.

The Seattle Times similarly reported in 2018 that several federal investigations are underway in Washington involving Clayton and their related lenders.  Knoxville, TN metro based Clayton and their related lending units were spotlighted by their hometown media, in the May 22, 2018 video report below.  So there is smoke, does it suggest a fire?



Several Mainstream Media Reports cited Concerns Over Monopolistic Practices, and Often Name Buffett, Berkshire, and Clayton Homes

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

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

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

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

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

While these and other mainstream media sources that span the left-right spectrum have pointed to ethical and other concerns with respect to Warren Buffett’s ‘strategic Moat,’ it is Manufactured Home Living News and this platform have to date documented specific examples. Attorneys which have reviewed the report linked below say is compelling evidence of antitrust violations by MHI’s most prominent member, Clayton Homes and their affiliated lender, 21st Mortgage.



In a series of direct quotes in context, one of two such documents from 21st Mortgage signed by Tim Williams, and video recorded comments by Kevin Clayton, these all line up to demonstrate how independent retailers, communities, and producers – among others – where purportedly harmed by action that could be deemed an antitrust violation.


Finally, there have been long-standing concerns raised for years by this trade publisher – MHProNews – and by MHARR regarding the need to fully implement the Duty to Serve by the GSEs.


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


Since 2003, during an affordable housing crisis, the total number of manufactured homes being produced per year has declined.  So too has the percentage of new manufactured housing units.  The factors noted and linked from this report are among the contributing challenges that have arguably caused this to be so.

Publicly traded MHI member, Skyline Champion (SKY), is but one of several sources that point to the industry’s underperformance.  Do factors like those outlined and linked from this report help shed light as to why the industry is underperforming?  As but one of several internal and external barometers, RVs have soared in the last 2o years, while manufactured housing is but a shadow of what it was 2 decades ago in total sales.  Yet RVs are a luxury item, and housing is a necessity, the later point being made by voices across the political divide, such as Senator Warren and Secretary Carson, have pointed out.



Graphic by Skyline Champion, commentary by MHProNews.


But what federal officials may not have completely honed in upon is that during that contraction, Clayton has grown their market share, as the next two pie charts reflect.



Note the acceleration of Clayton’s consolidation, after the letter below by 21st was issued? That’s what some legal minds have called ‘smoking gun’ evidence of antitrust behavior.  Other evidence linked here reflects that the claims by Tim Williams were a mix of the truth and untrue. Rephrased, this was plausible cover for alleged antitrust law behavior.


This document was provided as a news tip to MHProNews. To see the full report, click here.





Coincidence? Or is it because Buffett’s bucks have – via third-party documented ‘dark money’ channels, has funded both the opposition to the industry by MHAction and other activist groups, as well as purportedly dominating MHI.



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


This raises several issues that bear federal agencies, media and other investigations, and congressional oversight.


HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes


Because there is a pattern and evidence that reflects the very real possibility that market manipulations and ‘predatory behavior’ by a small number of MHI member companies has cost the industry billions of dollars a year in potential sales.


Rope-a-Dope – Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, Mom, Dad, & You


Is that an accident, mere coincidence?  Or is it indicative of something more sinister that often causes millennials and others to question capitalism, when it is specific and problematic corporate behavior that should be scrutinized, not the entire free enterprise system.

As tent cities grow in various parts of our nation, of course there will be an outcry by people against such troubling developments.


Tent Cities, Homelessness, Crime, Disease, Affordable Housing, and Manufactured Homes


While Secretary Carson and his predecessor have both praised manufactured homes, the inexplicable failure to use “enhanced preemption” or the “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” legal principles to address these issues reflect some breakdown between the need and solutions that are already law.

It is mind boggling that MHI has no mention of enhanced preemption on their website, as of the date of the report linked below.  By contrast, MHARR, MHLivingNews, MHProNews and others have numerous articles and years of reports that point to that the need to enforce the law on federal preemption.


Members Point to Positives, Problematic – Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) says, “Get the Facts on Zoning”


HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Affordable Housing, Obscuring the Truth, Innovations in Housing, and Manufactured Homes


Summing Up

Affordable housing, related lending, and a failure to properly promote manufactured housing are cited by people in and out of MHI as real problems.  This publication has stressed that not all MHI members should be viewed as black hats.  But that ‘black hat’ behavior has occurred from several prominent MHI member-firms is difficult if not impossible to intelligently dispute.



Nathan Smith, Joe Stegmayer, Tim Williams, have all had various allegations lodged against them, as has Clayton Homes. Follow the links to learn more, which explains the satirical logo’s point.


Small Businesses, Consumers Are Being Harmed

These purported ploys in turn have cost small businesses collectively billions of dollars in the value of their enterprises. In response to declining shipments during an affordable housing crisis, which clearly harm smaller, more marginal businesses more than larger ones.  Bigger players with black hat behavior fuels bad news. The black hats may be using white hat companies in the same association to dress up their overall image.

MHI routinely has a reference to their antitrust statement – linked here – at the start of their individual business meeting sessions.  But that doesn’t change the reality that the industry is being consolidated into ever fewer hands.

To see if this is mere happenstance or something sinister if not illegal, federal, state, other interests, and advocates must do more to investigate beyond what has been done in articles like this and the linked reports herein and further below.

Secretary Carson has been doing a lot for manufactured housing publicly. But a counternarrative is also at play, which videos like John Oliver’s dwarf the good news that Secretary Carson is attempting to foster.  To date, the MHI ‘Homes on the Hill’ videos posted on this page have had about 2,000 total views between the 5 videos.  That’s helpful.  But John Oliver’s viral attack on manufactured housing has had over 6 million views.  That’s the factual reality.

Both major parties are making affordable housing and antitrust issues.

–      Will one party or both grab the bull by the horns, and investigate Berkshire Hathaway publicly?

–      Will one or both political parties call Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, and Tim Williams in to testify under oath about the evidence and allegations linked here?

–      Will federal and other investigators formally and publicly examine claims since the item linked above of further market manipulations, such as the ones reported at this link here?

–      Will the Feds and others allow Berkshire’s money and reputation to back them off? Or will they listen to voices that include MHI members who have said for years there is something wrong at the Arlington, VA based ‘umbrella’ trade group?



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

Ponder the following 4 items from current-former MHI members.  On the issue of DTS, ponder the photo of MHI’s sponsors, and then MHARR’s comment about DTS.




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?


FollowThe MoneyPayMoreAttentionToWhatPeopleDothanwhatTheySaySpySea72MartyLavinYachtManufacturedHousingINdustryProMHProNews

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




Marty Lavin advises, “Follow the Money” and “Pay More Attention to What People Do Than What They Say.” The GSEs are praising manufactured home quality, but then backed Clayton in supporting a ‘new class’ of manufactured homes, with key MHI member input, that is aimed at funneling that lending, per informed sources.



The Trump Administration officials shown above could well find themselves the target of MHAction, or other similar activist group’s claims, that they are acting on behalf of the MHI’s largest companies. Indeed, MHI has implied as much in their ‘photo op’ messages to their own members. Are we to think that MHAction doesn’t already have these photos? MHAction and their affiliated groups have arguably already laid the foundation for that in their prior protests of Secretary Carson, and large MHI members, as the video with Senator Warren above illustrates. To be clear, MHProNews is not accusing these officials of any wrongdoing, but rather, we are hereby pointing out the on issues such as DTS, Enhanced Preemption, or Affirmatively Further Fair Housing, failure to fully and properly address those as federal law already requires could leave well meaning photo ops to be twisted into something that those officials never imagined. To learn more, click here.


Let’s dot the i on the above by saying anew that in pointing the finger at the Omaha-Knoxville-Arlington axis, that is not to be misconstrued as saying that all of those in said organizations are all tainted.  Among our sources are those in Clayton Homes, 21st, and MHI, to name but a few.  There are good people working in these organizations who are as troubled by what is occurring to the industry as we and others are.



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 or Comments in the subject line.

Millions of Americans are trapped in rentals, largely unaware of the good news that Secretary Carson has said during his tenure at HUD, or what scores of others in manufactured housing have been saying for years. Will MHI take these helpful videos that Secretary Carson made possible, and robustly promote them?  Or will they be a mere fig leaf? The latest head-fake to members, another illusion of motion, while the industry continues to consolidate?  Meanwhile,  millions search for affordable housing, when the solution is hiding in plain sight?


Notice. One can agree or not with 21st Mortgage CEO and prior MHI Chairman Tim Williams’ presentation, from which the slide above was taken with permission, while still questioning how it came to be that Williams was being intellectually at odds with Berkshire Hathaway Chairman, Warren Buffett. To see all of William’s informative slides, click the graphic above. What is undisputable is that for years, MHI pursued a bill that their own SVP of Government Relations said had essentially no chance of passage. Where was the logic? Or was it a ‘rope-a-dope‘ ploy?


But there is a rationale case to be made that forces within the industry have intentionally limited the industry, with the purported aim of consolidating businesses at a discount in a fashion that might slip by antitrust regulatory scrutiny.


Enforce Existing Law

But as or more important is that the solution requires no new legislation.  The solution is already federal law.  It need but be enforced. But there is evidence that the powers that be in the industry don’t want to solve the problem now.  They want to consolidate more of the industry. Meanwhile, the suffering of millions of people and thousands of independent business professionals continues.



Never forget that even during medieval times, castles and their moats were in fact breached. MHProNews and our sister site continue to chop away at the core issues that are close to the heart of what is arguably keeping manufactured housing from achieving its potential.



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


Thus a public federal investigation, led by Congress, but with parallel efforts in the federal agencies, needs to be handled as publicly as possible. Why? Because the harm being done to the manufactured home industry is harming the public, plus independents who are arguably a victim too.

Renters, manufactured home owners, and voters need to understand that this is consolidating Machiavellian ploy is harming their interests.  The industry’s honest professionals should not be punished, it is the alleged bad actors who need to be held to account.

If we as a nation do so, then Secretary Carson’s solution for America may come to pass. The fabled doctor’s prescription, if put to work, could prove useful to millions and would save taxpayers billions too.  It would also create countless new jobs, and spark new investment opportunities.

ValuePenguinFearManufacturedHomesSolutionAffordableHousingCrisis If MHI were serious about growing the industry, why have they not spotlighted articles like the one linked above?


The reports linked herein plus those below the byline and notices include articles that document how a natural economic boom could take place, raising the net worth of individuals who could leave the world of renting and become owners of affordable housing’s most obvious and proven solution. Modern manufactured homes are a proven solution. There is much work to be done to make that prescription and potential a reality.



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

To learn more, see the reports linked above and below. More on this simple yet-profound topic tomorrow and in the days ahead. No politics, just 311 words that boil down to two words. Enhanced preemption. “We Provide, You Decide” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary)

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

LATonyKovachQuoteManufacturedHousingIndustryWontReachPotentialAddresscoreIssuesArtificallyholdingitback466By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for

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

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


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“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.)

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

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

3) Marketing, Web, Video, Consulting, Recruiting and Training Resources

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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

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

June 1st, 2018 Comments off


Rollohome was started by Elmer Frey in his family barn as a one-time trailer sale. Soon he and his brothers Roland, Harold and Norman and his brother-in-law John Bertschie, began large scale operations in the sale and production of mobile homes. By 1950, Rollohome, was the city’s fastest growing business and within two years had sold more than 60,000 units,” according to Vintage Views in the Marshfield, WI News Herald.


Many industry veterans still think about Elmer Frey, and what their team accomplished in such a short period of time.

The relevance today?  If building and selling 60,000 homes could be achieved in 1950, why can’t that be done with manufactured homes in 2018 and beyond?

The Freys pushed the lengths to over 40 feet and several state laws pertaining to trailer length and width were changed. They also donated one trailer to the State Historical Society as a traveling museum,” per the News Herald.

Marshfield originally sported three mobile home manufacturing plants: Rollohome, Marshfield Homes, and Wisconsin Homes. Wisconsin Homes was a spin-off of Rollohome and was directly controlled by those in control of Rollohome. Wisconsin Homes and Marshfield Homes both had rail spurs and received rail service. Marshfield Homes,” according to


This production center produced 60,000 homes in two years, per the Marshfield News Herald.


The original plant was located between East Ives and East Upham streets to the north and south and between North Central and North Peach avenues to the east and west. Today this area is occupied by the Marshfield Mall, Central City Credit Union, McDonald’s and the Comfort Inn,” said Vintage Views.


It hasn’t been so long ago that John Wick addressed the Wisconsin Housing Alliance (WHA), raising his concerns for the future of the industry.

John Wick of Wick Building Systems was sold a controlling interest and increased production and added manufactured homes. The names Marshfield Homes, Artcraft Homes and Rollohome all were part of the company at times,” the News Herald report concluded.


Once more, the purpose of these MHProNews Flashback reports is precisely to inspire the industry’s professionals, including the younger ones who otherwise have little-to-no connection to these past glory days for the industry.


Make a habit of using the correct terminology.

The periodic MHProNews flashback series is more than mere nostalgia.

What was accomplished 68 years ago, can absolutely be accomplished today.  We have more tech, more capital, arguably more of everything. So all it requires is the vision, commitment, “time, talent, and treasure” needed to make the possible reality.


Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals © is how the U.S.’ 8.3 million unit shortages of affordable housing could be addressed by manufactured home professionals, and investors, starting today.  ## (News, analysis, and expert commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

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

HUD’s Operation Breakthrough, Promoting Factory, Industrialized Building – Mobile Home Era to Modern Manufactured Homes.

GSE Asked: Will Manufactured Housing Overtake Conventional Homebuilding?

Understanding the Modern Realities of MHVille – Winners, Losers, Profits, and Loss

Robotics, 3D Printed Housing, Imminent Challengers for Manufactured Homes, Modular Housing – 3D Build Systems CEO Don Musilli


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Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and


Manufactured Housing Roadblock? BBC Reports “Trailer Park Living”

May 7th, 2018 Comments off

Longtime Daily Business News readers know that the MHProNews view – and that of scores of industry professionals – is that proper terminology is important.


The reverse of that is that improper terminology is to be avoided.

When the Daily Business News uses the term “trailer house” or “trailer park,” its typically because some third party that used that phrase.  A quote is a quote, nothing more or less.  Even if the person or party is misspeaking, it is not the journalist’s or trade media’s place to change what was said.

That said, the BBC used the term trailer house living” in their video report, shown below.  That’s where the headline comes from, and as of this date, the BBC video has over 1.1 million views.  Compared to the vast majority of manufactured home videos, this video has been seen by hundreds of thousands to a million more people.  That gives a tiny sense of why this is an imporant challenge for the industry to address.

There are times that the term “mobile home” legitimately applies, because a factory-built home built on a permeant frame was built before June 15, 1976.  In the 1930s to the 1950s, there were arguably trailer houses built.  A trailer house could be pulled behind a properly equipped car or light-duty pickup (see linked report, immediately below).

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

There are scores who use the terms ‘trailer,’ ‘trailer house,’ ‘trailer park,’ ‘mobile home,’ or ‘mobile home park’ who are industry professionals and investors. When it’s a quote, we get it.  When it’s a punch like, in private, at MHProNews, we get it.  Properly used – it can be improperly applied – for SEO purposes, we get it.

But the vast majority of the time, the right thing to do is to use the correct terminology.  If you and your team don’t make that commitment, it’s not as easy to hold the media or others accountable when they misuse terms.

Some think that the term should be changed to just “home,” and that’s understandable.  That said, for reasons we won’t go into today, it’s not practical. Nor is it the law.


Manufactured homes and manufactured housing are legal terms, defined by the HUD Code for manufactured housing, which went into effect on June 15, 1976. As Steve Duke said, the code defines the construction standards a factory-built home was built to, and thus should not be deliberately misused, ever.

The video above is one of numerous practical reasons why terminology matters.  When someone is shopping for a manufactured home – and they call it a trailer – or do a search for “trailer house living,” YouTube is likely to show the BBC video above as one of those results.


When you wonder why the there is such a big fall-off between manufactured housing shoppers and buyers1, the BBC video posted above is one of dozens of exhibits industry pros, advocates and investors should consider.

Which video do you want the public watching, the one above, or the one below?


Correct terminology matters. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##  (News, analysis, and commentary.)

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

Related Reports:

Style or Substance? Lesson from Most Hated in America – Monday Morning Manufactured Home Sales, Marketing Meeting


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Kid Rock vs. Rapper Eminem – F-Bombers ‘Running for U.S. Senate,’ Video Speech

October 13th, 2017 Comments off

KidRockUSSenate2018NashvilleBillboardMSNDailyBusinessNewsMHProNewsIf Kid Rock does this right, he can win and it could be good for the people, and manufactured housing.”  

So said factory-built housing owner, and self-proclaimed manufactured home advocate, the Rev. Donald Tye, Jr.

Tye said that Kid Rock has the ingredients needed for success. 

In recent comments to MHProNews, Tye favorably compared Kid Rock to other artists who had a similar opportunity to be agents for positive change.

But others, Tye said, failed to capitalize on their fame to “do right” by the working class – and all other – Americans.




This could be much, much bigger than Duck Dynasty for the industry. opines L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach. But it is a scenario that could also easily be mishandled by the industry, says the Rev. Tye.

With rapper Eminem blasting away freestyle against President Trump recently, and word floating that both may run for the same Michigan U.S. Senate seat, the new era of American politics may be taking an interesting twist.

Eminem has also been featured with factory built homes, which may have been pre-HUD Code mobile homes.  


For a previous, and more in-depth and cross-linked report on this developing story, please click here.

Look for upcoming reports on this topic here and sanitized for more family friendly ##  (News, analysis.)

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