IMHA Executive Director Mark Bowersox attended the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) Annual Meeting held earlier this week in San Antonio, TX.
More than 100 people attended the event, including representatives from 10 IMHA member companies. While MHI scheduled more than a dozen separate workshops, most discussed the ongoing regulation and legislation that challenges our industry at the national level. The Secure and Fair Mortgage Enforcement (SAFE) Act, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and the Anti-Money Laundering regulations continue to be the hot topics in nearly all meetings. In fact, MHI's Legislative and Regulatory Priorities remain the same going into 2013 as they were in 2012.
MHI is taking a two-tiered approach to SAFE and Dodd-Frank. First, they are promoting legislation (HR 3849 and S 3484) that would amend the existing Dodd-Frank legislation to increase the threshold on triggering a "high cost mortgage" as defined in the Dodd-Frank legislation. This same bill would also amend the SAFE Act to legislatively mandate some of the regulatory opinions currently contained in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's (CFPB) Proposed Rule on the SAFE Act.
MHI's hope is that this legislation will be passed during the "lame duck" session following the November elections. While several members of Indiana's congressional delegation have agreed to support these initiatives, I encourage all IMHA members to contact your Representative and Senators and urge them to support this legislation.
Secondly, MHI is seeking favorable interpretations of the law from the CFPB, the newly created federal agency responsible for regulating these laws. MHI has retained the services of SNR Denton, a Washington DC law firm specifically to lobby the CFPB on behalf of the manufactured housing industry. The CFPB isn’t expected to release new information before the November election but must distribute final rules by January, 2013. Although the CFPB is expected to review state policies to ensure states are regulating the SAFE Act appropriately, the CFPB has not yet addressed lease-option type contracts. These contracts continue to be a gray area and it’s possible that the CFPB will view these contracts as non-compliant and a way to skirt the law.
MHI staff reported that the CFPB auditors have begun levying fines against lenders, with Capital One and Discover being fined over $200 million each. The CFPB has the authority to regulate non-bank lenders, which includes manufactured housing communities.
Earlier this year we shared information with IMHA members through a variety of sources about the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations that went into effect on August 13 of this year. Many attendees at this week’s meeting had taken advantage of the template MHI created to help retailers develop an anti money laundering policy as part of their overall compliance program. This template was developed by Marc Lifset of McGlinchey-Stafford (MHI's law firm) and can be used at no charge to state association members.
I strongly recommend to anyone selling homes to review the seven questions from the template (see page 9) to see if your business is required to have a written anti-money laundering program, and to take the necessary steps to comply. At this time there is no plan to roll-back, repeal, amend or otherwise exempt manufactured housing from this federal regulation.
Click here to view the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s final rule on the Anti-Money Laundering Program and Suspicious Activity Report Filing Requirements for Residential Mortgage Lenders and Originators. Click here to view or download MHI’s AML policy template.
Other notes from the meeting:
The 2013 National Congress and Expo in Las Vegas will be held at the Paris Hotel. The move was made in large part to a much better overnight room rate ($109) at the Paris Hotel.
MHI has retailer resources section on their web site. It includes valuable information on AML, Red Flags, Safe guards and more. I encourage all members to review these resources as a part of your ongoing compliance programs. As you can tell, MHI is working diligently in Washington on behalf of our industry. They have an extremely tough job trying to effect change for our niche industry in the enormous federal government. It is always a privilege to interact with and learn from their staff along with the other state association directors and industry leaders that were at the meeting. ##
Indiana Manufactured Housing Association – Recreational Vehicle Indiana Council http://www.imharvic.org/
As announced last week, MHARR, on September 18, 2012, sent an identical package to both President Obama and Governor Romney.The Association’s communication appealed to them to help revitalize the manufactured housing industry by eliminating discriminatory federal policies and incorporating affordable manufactured housing as a core component of the nation’s housing opportunity and home financing programs, with the objective of challenging the next administration to elevate the status of manufactured housing to that of a co-equal with all other segments of the housing industry.
These communications, which dovetail with ongoing efforts in the U.S. Congress, represent the initial phase of a broader presidential initiative discussed at the MHARR 2012 Spring Meeting.They express in broad terms the prime policy agenda that the Association will pursue to advance the cause of manufactured housing and its consumers in the nation’s capital after the November 2012 election, regardless of which candidate is ultimately elected president.
In order to achieve maximum national exposure for this initiative, MHARR contracted for national distribution of these materials, and the initial response has been quite gratifying.Within the first week after this effort was launched, it had been picked-up by more than 1,000 sources across the United States and was also the subject of several independent news stories.
Furthermore, the success of this effort in generating national interest in the future wellbeing of the manufactured housing industry and its consumers, and the availability of manufactured housing as a resource for affordable home ownership, has been reflected in the number of calls and inquiries that MHARR has received regarding this matter – all of which are being addressed, as appropriate, by MHARR.
With this initiative now successfully launched, the MHARR Board will be in a position to further address the elements of this national policy agenda at its November 2012 meeting, by which time one of these candidates will have been elected the next President of the United States.
This activity also interacts with the launch of a parallel MHARR legal initiative onSeptember 25, 2012,details of which will be provided to you next week.
As President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), I participated in a manufactured home communities focused event held this year in San Diego, Calif. During my presentation, I took the opportunity to educate the approximately 250 members of the land-lease community sector of the manufactured housing industry on the work that MHI undertakes each day representing industry interests in Washington, D.C. I also outlined the benefits and importance of the National Communities Council, the only national organization devoted to advancing the interests of manufactured home community owners, managers, developers, lenders, brokers and service suppliers. Such forums as this also provide me an excellent opportunity to hear first-hand from industry members and to clarify and reinforce MHI positions on key industry issues.
The annual gathering of the land-lease manufactured home communities industry drew approximately 250 attendees from 27 states to discuss the state of land-lease communities.
Reinforcing the sentiments of other manufactured housing industry events over the past 12 months, the meeting featured three key themes:
a renewed or new confidence in the role and value of land-lease manufactured home communities;
innovation on the part of manufactured home builders in terms of new, creative designs for homes built specifically for placement in land-lease communities, as well as new financing programs designed to assist communities to retain residents and boost occupancy rates; and
the continuing need for dialogue between financial lenders/analysts and community owners on how to accurately valuate land-lease communities.
On the first point – renewed or new confidence in land-lease communities – it was both somewhat surprising and encouraging to hear more than two dozen investors declare their strong interests in acquiring land-lease communities across all regions of the country. This level of enthusiasm and confidence will be critical in maintaining and rebuilding land-lease manufactured home communities as a viable housing option for low- and middle-income American families.
As to the issue of innovation by manufacturers in home designs, there were numerous “business development officers” from major manufacturers who were there with the sole focus of reaching out to community owners to showcase their new series of manufactured homes designed specifically to accommodate the smaller lot sizes of older land-lease communities. From what I heard and saw, their efforts were greatly appreciated by the community owners who are looking for ways of upgrading and filling their communities with homes that appeal to a broader audience.
Another key factor in maintaining manufactured home communities is helping community owners and managers keep their occupancy rates strong and ensure the financial viability of communities. Several new financing programs designed to build partnerships between the financial services sector and community owners, such as the C.A.S.H. Lending Program from 21st Mortgage Corp., were highlighted and generated a significant interest on the part of the community owners. Again, this ability to fill communities with new residents and new homes is vitally important in maintaining the viability of land-lease communities.
Yet the meeting was not without some points of debate.
There was continuing concern voiced over how financial analysts and investors valuate land-lease communities, with many community owners encouraging analysts and investors to rethink their valuation formulas and approaches. While this “friction” is not ideal, the point is that this issue was openly discussed and methods for resolving it are “on the table.” Such open communication and debate are the proper way to creating valuation methods that serve both the investors’ and owners’ interest.
All of these meeting themes – even the need for ongoing dialogue – reinforce the positive outlook for our industry that I hear and see every day, both from our industry colleagues and from people interested in being part of our industry renewal.
Land-lease manufactured home communities are critically important to the residents who live and depend of them for a “quality-of-life” hard to find elsewhere in today’s housing marketplace, as well as to the owners and operators who have invested so much time, energy and resources to build and maintain their communities.
It is genuinely encouraging to see and hear that all forces within the communities sector are moving in the right direction, looking at the future with confidence and innovation. Such sentiments bode well for both the communities sector and the manufactured housing industry at large. ##
Richard Jennison is President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). He can be contacted directly at (703) 558-0678 or visit www.manufacturedhousing.org.
Reports coming out of Washington state that housing is beginning actually see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a another train headed our way.
If you are a new home builder or factory owner/management, now is the time to implement that Marketing Plan so that Spring 2013 will see more orders. Marketing first…Sales next. Without a marketing strategy your sales will probably be no better than they are right now.
New-home construction in the U.S. probably rose in August to the highest level in almost four years, showing residential real estate is sustaining a recovery even as the broader economy sputters, economists said before a report today.
Builders broke ground on homes at the annual rate of 767,000, up from 746,000 in July and the most since October 2008, according to the median estimate of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Another report may show sales of existing homes advanced for a second month.
“We expect housing to be a bright spot,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S.economist at BNP Paribas in New York. Nonetheless, “there’s still foreclosures, there’s still delinquencies, people are still cutting on mortgage debt.” ##
Post submitted by
Modular Home Coach
You don't have to be Jewish to feel deep concern about what took place at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Responding to political pressure to put the word "God" back in their platform as well as to once again name Jerusalem as Israel's national capital, DNC delegates where asked to pass the motion by a 2/3 vote. The video I've asked to be posted below tells the tale. For those who question the commitment by Democrats to fair elections, please watch this CSPAN video and share it with others.
Once you've watched this objectively, everything else is spin and commentary.
Among the emails that come into me are from a White House 'group.' Some months back, there was an outreach by that White House group to the business community. The president, it was said, wants to help ease burdensome regulations, to make it easier on small businesses.
How can we take such an election year outreach to small businesses seriously, by those who executed Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare?
Talk to an independent manufactured home builder. Ask them, with consumer complaints at new lows, why is HUD pushing more and more 'voluntary' – and other – regulations? Why don't we have the Duty to Serve implemented by the GSEs/FHFA?
The energy sector creates demand for factory-built housing, in places such as North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states. The current administration's policies, up until election year, were favoring gas prices of $8 to $9 a gallon for gas, as this video clip of testimony by Energy Secretary Steven Chu demonstrates.
While this next video clip has been pieced together, it reflects in President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's own words, a path designed to foil coal fired energy production in the United States.
Without belaboring the point, some believe that anti-domestic energy policies such as these were a path to promote green energy by making conventional domestic energy sources harder to come by. Such policies directly harm domestic energy firms. But they indirectly harm our industry, which often provides housing for those workers, especially when they are in areas with high demand for housing.
We scarcely hear about enhanced pre-emption for HUD Code Homes these days. Why not? Wasn't it part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000?
Community operators created some 10 billion worth of paper to finance manufactured homes in their land lease locations. This was a free enterprise solution designed to fill the gaps created when lenders who vaporized – such as Conseco – went good-bye. But SAFE, Dodd-Frank and a plethora of other laws and regulations have so squeezed this 'captive finance' free enterprise solution in MHCs, that now community owner/operators are turning to rental homes in their properties instead.
Rentals in once all owner occupied communities?! The entire business model of community operators is being changed by the Regulators and their political allies who passed and fund those regulations. Shame on us if we let the party of Regulation be rewarded.
I'm appalled that some still want to believe in "hope and change," when we are heading "forward" towards a new fiscal cliff and a new recession in 2013. Some commentators already believe we are already back in recession.
How could we move "forward" by following the advice of those who gladly took Fannie and Freddie's PAC money? Politicians such as Congressman Barney Frank and then Senator Barack Obama? ACORN, community organizer Barack Obama and the Clinton Administration worked together to force lenders to issue loans to those who were not credit qualified. No doubt there were Republicans who colluded. Shame on all involved.
But it is gutless by Republicans to let the Democrats dish it out and not respond to such fables, blaming Bush II for the mortgage/housing meltdown when Democrats had a firm hand in the cookie jar that caused that whole fiasco.
They should call it the mortgage/financial services industry's version of Russian roulette.
When government interferes so massively in the free market, of course there will be unintended consequences.
But to falsely blame supply side economics for the mortgage/housing collapse is a creative lie or brutal ignorance. Neither the option of lie or ignorance are worthy of credence or support.
We don't hear much in Manufactured housing circles about how the run-up to the mortgage meltdown harmed our Industry. But it did! Easy qualifying, liar loans and the like created a false opportunity for hundreds of thousands of conventional housing buyers. A percentage of those buyers were or normally would have been manufactured home owners. As some manufactured home lenders about those owners who walked away from their HUD Code homes to get conventional houses during the run up to the mortgage/housing bust.
That put pressure on MH lenders and the MH market in general. As MHs where being left behind, of course values dropped, just as they have more recently in conventional housing neighborhoods plagued by foreclosures.
So federal policy harmed our industry in the early 00s, as thousands of our home owners left what become over-leveraged HUDs for what turned out to be over-leveraged conventional houses.
You can thank those politicians who made that happen to us then and more recently.
But let's not thank them by rewarding them with our support or our votes. That is like rewarding the thief by putting him in charge of law enforcement.
When politicians plunder the public treasury to fund with borrowed and tax payer money programs contrary to the Constitution and the public interest, it is time to end such madness.
Research I've seen indicates that some 44-47% of voters will vote for President Obama no matter what he says or does. That means the rest of us who are capable of a critical analysis and independent thought better show up at the polls and cast ballots wisely.
While applauding columns like the one on Voter Fraud, I was frankly disappointed when MHProNews published an interview with Congressman Joe Donnelly. Donnelly may be a co-sponsor of HR 3849, but he also voted for HERA 2008, which gave us the SAFE Act. Donnelly voted for Dodd-Frank. So while I understand the desire for 'balance,' I question the timing or "political correctness" of publishing the Donnelly interview during campaign season.
What we need when the industry is already in the lifeboats and are looking at possible new waves looming on the horizon is enhanced clarity, not confusion.
When even Time Magazine, Newsweek and the New York Times Magazine are publishing stories and OpEds that call into question or openly attack the Obama Presidency, MH trade publications need to be coming out loud, clear and strongly in favor of less government, lower taxes/regulations, a sane pro-domestic energy program and more free enterprise leadership.
The first pair of drafts of this article I was asked to edit and tone down. So this is the toned down version. I was also told that the editor would add a disclaimer and an invitation for responses. So be it.
Back to the top. Sham votes matter. They speak volumes.
Election year political posturing, via asking independent business owners and executives how to reduce the burdens or regulations matters too. It is the age old trick of seduction at work. We are being divided and conquered.
We are watching borrowed money and our tax dollars being turned against us to destroy the greatest economic system and the most free society in world history.
9/11 and U.S. Embassies ablaze reminds us why Jerusalem and God matters to America, and why that Democratic sham of a platform vote matters.
Manufactured housing matters too. President Obama stood in Elkhart, IN – an area where so many manufactured housing plants and suppliers are – talking jobs. Are there connections between all that is being covered in this column? Yes. They are just different corners of the same bolt of American political cloth.
If we sweep the current left wing crop of Democrats and RINO Republicans aside in favor of more free market oriented leaders, manufactured housing can blossom and grow again. All we need is a level playing field.
Some speculate that Ben Bernanke may have decided on QE3 – de facto printing money – to boost stock prices short term to help Team Obama win re-election. Whatever his motivation, the credit down grade cited below reminds us that the Bernanke/FED/QE3 policy is misguided. It will harm the middle class and seniors. Economic history reminds us that you earn, not print, your way to success.
“Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to "AA-"
from "AA," citing its opinion that quantitative easing from the
Federal Reserve would hurt the
U.S. economy and the country's credit quality.” – CNBC
If we have supply-side Republicans in charge of the House and Senate, but fail to sweep out Architect Obama – the leader of our changed and hopeless society – we have not done enough.
“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”
― Theodore Roosevelt
26th President of the United States
For anyone who votes to re-elect the man who wants to move us 'forward' off the looming fiscal cliff, such a person could qualify as unpatriotic by Roosevelt's definition.
Don't let that happen. Half measures won't be enough. ##
(Editor's Note: All Industry Voices and other opinion columns, including the Masthead blog, et al, represent the views of those who write them. They do not necessarily represent the views of MHProNews.com or our sponsors. It has been our long standing policy to invite guest columns from people with opposing perspectives. You can send your own letter to the editor or OpEd column on a subject connected to factory built housing to the email address linked here, with Industry Voices in the subject line. Thank you.)
Conspiracy theories are not hard to find or hard to generate. With that backdrop, the question can be posed, "What is the United Nation's Agenda 21 and how does it affect our industry?” Let it be said, if you liked Dodd-Frank, you'll love Agenda 21. We are learning that red flags need to come up when we hear certain terms such as "fair share" and "social justice" tossed about casually. The red flag phrase emanating from Agenda 21 is "sustainable development."
Unfortunately, Agenda 21 was embraced by George H.W. Bush at the U.N.'s Earth Summit in 1992. Fully embraced and implemented, Agenda 21 would oppose private ownership of land and funnel middle class Americans into high rise complexes in cities. The radical left wing discovered they can use the environment as their weapon of choice to wage war against the founding principles of our country which were embedded in our constitution by the brilliant founders of our country.
Andrew Phillips recently published the following concerning Agenda 21:
"Maurice Strong was the Secretary General at this conference. He stated that “Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work air conditioning, and suburban housing are not sustainable.” Agenda 21 is all about environmental control. It seeks to ration natural resources in the same way that Obamacare will ration healthcare. Energy will be rationed based on the assumption that our government owns all resources including food, water and land. Local Agenda 21 initiatives will mandate certain appliances and outlaw others based on energy consumption, and your energy consumption will be monitored so that you don’t “go over your limit.” Homes and buildings will have to be built or rebuilt to meet new “green” building codes or else face hefty fines. It seeks to transition citizens away from rural areas and into cities. It wants to “wean” people off private vehicles (because of “dirty” fossil fuels) and have them start using public transportation like high-speed rail. Outdoor recreational activities will be restricted because those practices are not “sustainable.”
“Social justice” means the abolition of private property. Here’s an excerpt from a report published at the U.N.’s Habitat I Conference in 1976:
“Land…cannot be treated as an ordinary asset, controlled by individuals and subject to the pressures and inefficiencies of the market. Private land ownership is also a principal instrument of accumulation and concentration of wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice; if unchecked, it may become a major obstacle in the planning and implementation of development schemes. The provision of decent dwellings and healthy conditions for the people can only be achieved if land is used in the interest of society as a whole.”
It’s not fair that individuals own land or property. What will make it fair is if it is collectively owned. The United Nations wants to mandate global communism. They just don’t call it that. They call it “social justice.” And they’re going to execute “social justice” through “sustainable development.”
These things are already happening in our own country. Over 600 cities and counties across the U.S. have become members of ICLEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives), “an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations who have made a commitment to sustainable development.” Check here to see if your town, city or county is a member.
Participating in a UN advocated planning process would very likely bring out many of the conspiracy-fixated groups and individuals in our society…This segment of our society who fear ‘one-world government’ and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedom would be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined ‘the conspiracy’ by undertaking LA21. So we call our process something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management or smart growth.
In 1993, a year after Bush Sr. signed the Agenda 21 protocol, President Clinton issued an executive order that created the PCSD (President’s Council on Sustainable Development). This group made Agenda 21 public policy and sought to implement its goals at the local level through ICLEI. J. Gary Lawrence was an adviser to this council. He advised that people should not know about Agenda 21 because if they knew about it, they would be opposed to it:
And this is why we don’t ever hear about it. They control the language in media. Their agenda is shrouded in vague terms that could mean anything, and people are naive enough to give them the benefit of the doubt. Since the creation of Clinton’s PCSD, Obama has issued executive orders creating similar and more expansive “councils” that work to further the U.N.’s agenda.
Tom Madrecki is a spokesman for Smart Growth America, another one of those Agenda 21 type organizations. He doesn’t like the fact that Agenda 21 is in the new Republican platform. He said, “The fact that it’s in the platform gives credence to something that just shouldn’t get any.” He’s concerned that such a mainstream position opposing Agenda 21 will only serve to stir dissent and will “continue halting beneficial conversations about community planning.” There’s another one of those buzz phrases…”community planning.”
It’s great that the Republican Party has officially taken a stand against the United Nations and its global communist agenda. I hope it stays in their platform, and I hope Romney and other elected Republicans will work tirelessly to expose the U.N. for what they really are and to extricate the U.S. from the organization itself, thus restoring our national sovereignty."
To its credit, the Republican party has finally seen the errors of its ways and has formally opposed Agenda 21 in its party platform adopted at the party convention in Tampa. Let's hope they are unified in that opposition and maintain it as they go forward. ##
Doug Gorman is president Home Mart, the industry's most award winning retail center, located n Tulsa OK. He is also a recent inductee into the RV/MH Hall of Fame.
When we think of poverty, we think homelessness, food banks and welfare.
Chronic poverty was once compared to catching a grasshopper in a jar when we were kids.The jar had a lid with holes poked in it.For a while the grasshopper jumped up and kept hitting his head against the lid.Then he would only jump high enough to try to cling to the glass and finally he would just stay on the bottom of the jar and gave up all hope of getting out.
A lot of modular home builders feel that way about selling homes in this tough market.They have been trying to get out of that jar since the housing crisis hit and now that the lid has been removed they simply don’t have the strength or the knowledge to jump back into profitability.
Poverty by definition is a“deficiency in amount.”Modular home builders sure fit the criteria.So what are these deficiencies that face modular builders?
Marketing poverty.This is a problem because most builders have neither the resources nor the training to mount an effective marketing program.Modular home factories sales reps have not been taught how to help builders get the message out to the home buying public and the factories themselves don’t market their product.A page on Facebook and a good website are just the tip of the iceberg.What is needed to fight the poverty of marketing is someone; either a modular factory group or an individual; to step up and begin developing individual marketing plans for modular home builders.
Knowledge poverty.How many builders effectively communicate the advantages offered by a home buyer choosing a modular home?Surprisingly few!Many builders have limited knowledge of the green, sustainable or energy conservation methods used by the modular housing industry.The sales reps are supposed to be knowledgeable about these things but they are also facing the same poverty of knowledge.This is an area that needs to be given special attention by the factory.There are only a handful of factories that hold builder meetings or offer training directly associated with these topics.Take a look at your jobsite… do you have a sign on it with all your contact info and your website and email address?
Language poverty.There are thousands of books and articles written about how to sell new homes, get referrals and retain customers.What is missing from most of these articles is that an average new home builder only uses 400-600 words when they try to sell their homes.The builder has become very succinct in the selling phase of the process. They have developed canned speeches that are used in just about every sales presentation.Unfortunately, buyers have been reading everything they can about new building techniques, architecture and sustainability and want a longer, more in-depth conversations with the builder.The solution is easy.Read a book a week and an article a day about the building industry.Learn the language of the buyer.
Financing poverty.This is first year of fairly decent new home sales since the housing crisis started and a majority of modular home builders are still not part of their buyer’s mortgage adventure.Builders still think that after they give the buyer their house quote, the buyer is somehow inherently knowledgeable enough to go forth and acquire one. Fat chance! Builders not only have to know how to build a modular home, they have to become a partner with the buyer throughout the mortgage process. In order to do that, a builder must learn what the buyer will be going through when they apply and help them over the pitfalls and speed bumps imposed on buyers today. This is as easy as sitting down with a couple of lenders and asking what they need from the builder and how best to help the buyer. How many builders still view the lender as a necessary evil instead of a necessary partner?
Stop being the grasshopper on the bottom of the jar and begin taking marketing seriously.Then learn what your factory is doing to improve the buyer’s lifestyle and actually talk to them as an expert in modular housing.Then work with the buyer and their lender closely to make the buyer’s dream into a reality which will keep you and your family out of real poverty.
Post submitted by Gary Fleisher
Modular Home Coach
The latest track shows Hurricane Isaac to be a Category 1 storm that will track through the New Orleans area then N, NW all the way through northern LA. This will likely affect our clients in Hammond, Gonzales, Alexandria, Denham Springs, Houma, Prairieville, Alexandria, Opelousas, Morgan City, Monroe, LA and South and Eastern Mississippi.
Here's Ten key recommendations for those in the path of the storm.
1) Single section homes not lot set should have the air let out of the tires;
2) Homes should be moved closer to wind breaks if possible – but should avoid being set next to large trees;
3) Unsecured property should be moved inside or secured. Dead or untrimmed trees should be trimmed/removed;
4) Management should know the cell phone numbers of all employees. Land lines may be down and texting may be the best way to communicate;
5) If the main location loses power or has a catastrophic hit, there should be second location designated for a meeting place for all able-bodied employees;
6) Write the direct contact information down for your insurance company(s). Claims reported first tend to be adjusted first. Mobile Insurance’s claims number is 800-458-4320;
7) Know the contact information for all key utility (electric, phone, data, water, computer service…) and other suppliers (fire, police,..);
8) Systematically power down and disconnect computer systems to prevent them being damaged by power surges;
9) Place a note on your website outlining what clients should do in the event you are shut down; and
10) Take a video of your property as it exists right now / pre –storm. Be sure to include all real property improvements, home inventory, as well as building contents.
Take these steps and you will limit your exposure. ##
Sincerely, Kurt D. Kelley
As I read Lance Inderman's, Tyler Craddock's and DJ Pendleton's recent articles, a number of things came to my mind. One of them was The Law of Unintended Consequences. The Law of Unintended Consequences states that any purposeful action will produce some unintended, unanticipated, and unwanted consequences. A corollary states that the unintended consequences can turn out to be even more significant than the intended action.
Except for the “unwanted” part, that is in many ways what’s happened with MHVillage since 2004, when my partners and I decided to invest substantial amounts of Datacomp’s money and employee time into it’s creation. I'll recap another time some of the good unintended consequences of MHVillage, but for the moment let me focus on something that could bring rapid, immediate value to an issue that was raised by Lance Inderman, Ronnie Richards and others here on MHProNews.com.
Some months back, MHProNews ran a story that featured a lengthy video interview of Kevin Clayton. In it, Kevin Clayton expressed what Warren Buffett told him one day. “Kevin, it seems to me that the problem of your industry is resale.”
Resale or a remarketing path is in part what makes conventional housing and real estate perform better.
Conventional home builders don't have to tell a customer what their potential exit strategy is. The home buyer knows they can sell it themselves (FSBO or For Sale By Owner) or they can use a Realtor to sell their home. But what do we have in manufactured housing that works the same?
While there has been discussion back and forth about possible resale mechanisms, or using a recent Supreme Court ruling to list and facilitate the resale of more manufactured homes, the reality is that all of those approaches have time and cost challenges. The only resource that is up and running right now today is MHVillage and our MLX system.
The MLX or Multiple Listing Exchange is a rapid, low cost way that the industry at large could be tapping into the potential revenue and enhanced resale value that arguably must be part of the future to manufactured housing success. That is important for lenders, who may need to sell a repossession, and would rather do it without moving the home. It is also important for homebuilders, community owner/operators, and retailers as well as those 9+ million manufactured and mobile home owners.
Lance Inderman is correct. We have a great product in manufactured housing. Beyond his points, what keeps more well qualified potential home buyers from pulling the trigger? A 750 credit score or cash buyer customer will ask or think the following question. “What is my exit strategy when it comes time for me to sell this manufactured home?”
When you as a manufactured homebuilder, community owner/operator, or retailer can look that 750 credit score or cash buyer in the eyes and say, well, “We have a large and active Internet marketplace called MHVillage where you can either list through a broker or sell your home yourself,” that makes sense to that strong prospective customer.
Frankly, it was beyond our expectations that MHVillage would become what it is today, where 45,000 visitors – about 85% of whom are retail home consumers – visit daily to buy, rent, and/or use other services that all drive dollars for the manufactured home businesses involved. That was a good unintended consequence for us and others – one that I hope to cover in a future article here on MHProNews.com. But beyond MHVillage, there are other efforts that make sense for manufactured housing that can get or keep us in front of good customers interested in buying a home.
For example, we see value to efforts like Tony Kovach's new consumer focused MHLivingNews.com website, which promotes the positive aspects of the manufactured home lifestyle. We plan to support, engage in and encourage that effort, including but not limited to, providing content for them. MHLivingNews.comcan help over time improve the industry's image, which Lance's article discussed.
We see value to this MHProNews site, which has become the most robust platform of its kind. Articles on best practices, news, issues and discussions of problems and solutions must take place in our Industry in order for us to move beyond survive to thrive.
There are also efforts being put in place from state and national associations to drive the industry past the regulatory and other challenges that we face. I'm sure there are other private and planned efforts beyond those mentioned here.
The point is that when we learn to work together using the resources that we have, unintended consequences will happen and can be turned in our Industry's favor. That won't happen by itself. It will only happen as more savvy associations, businesses, professionals and pro-industry trade media platforms pull together to make it happen.
We tend to think of unintended consequences as bad. But some can be good, especially when we recognize the forces at play and make them work in our favor. It all starts with simple steps, often simply making use of resources that are already available today. ##