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Posts Tagged ‘Datacomp’

Unintended Consequences Can be a Good Thing

August 15th, 2012 No comments

Dan Rinzema posted in MHProNewsAs 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. ##

Dan Rinzema posted in MHProNewspost submitted by
Dan Rinzema
CEO, MHVillage and DataComp

Update on “FEMA In-Community Housing Relief”

June 10th, 2011 No comments

Editor’s Note: Spencer Roane is keeping us updated on the task force behind using manufactured homes as a part of post-tornado solutions to housing.

Tony and Catherine,

Here’s a note which we sent to FEMA, GEMA (Georgia counterpart), and various others with whom we hope to work on the idea of using vacant land lease community sites for disaster relief. It may also serve as an update for your readers.

From the time of David Roden’s first report here on May 7 – Manufactured Homes Could Be Part of Post-Tornado Solution in Georgia – our task force has continued to pursue the use of manufactured housing as an option in disaster situations. We are currently working to schedule a meeting of the Georgia Disaster Housing Task Force to explore issues of common interest. In the meantime, allow me to identify the players in this effort at this juncture:

The Georgia Manufactured Housing Association (GMHA) represents the interests of all segments of manufactured housing in Georgia, including manufacturers, transporters, retailers, communities, lenders and suppliers. Jay Hamilton is our executive director. He is new to the position, but has extensive experience in the industry. His office phone is 770-955-4522. David Roden is a community owner (CO) and active member of GMHA. Steve Case and Spencer Roane are also community owners who serve as community representatives on the GMHA board.

Our national organization is Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) in Washington, DC. Thayer Long is president. MHI formed a task force to work with FEMA on the design of MHs for disaster relief and to advance the concept of placing disaster relief homes in land lease communities (LLCs, aka mobile home parks). Lois Starkey is the primary contact at MHI for this program. Spencer serves as one of several community owners on the MHI task force. Several members of that task force attended the “Industry Day” Seminar with FEMA personnel in Washington DC on June 7. We will learn more about that meeting next week.

David volunteered in the cleanup effort after the April tornadoes struck Georgia and Alabama and subsequently proposed that MHs be located on vacant lots in LLCs for use by disaster victims. Since then he and Spencer have been exploring that concept with MHI, GMHA, FEMA, GEMA, and community owners across the country. Several relatively recent developments in our industry have come together to make this more feasible than ever:

• Most LLCs have 5-15% vacancy rates, mainly as a result of the economic slowdown and the same finance meltdown that affected conventional housing. “Best guess” at this point is that there are about 200,000 vacant LLC lots across the country.
• As COs have sought to fill vacant lots with new MHs, many manufacturers have begun building “Community Series” homes (CSHs). George Allen and Don Westphal have worked closely with Business Development Managers (BDMs) with most manufacturers to develop this concept. These are generally lower priced, single-section, usually 16’ wide by 70-80’ long, 3 Br 2 Ba, vinyl sided, shingle roof, with attractive exterior and interior features. INSERT PHOTOS OF TWO CSH HOMES. The cost of these attractive, functional homes is about $25,000, delivered to the LLC. Setup, utility connections, A/C, skirting, and decks add about $10,000 more to the cost.

 

Community Series Home 1

 

Community Series Home 2

 

• To provide quick and efficient support to disaster victims, a database of available home sites which are in close proximity to a disaster is a necessity. Several alternatives exist in Georgia and elsewhere:
• The Community Attributes System (CAS) was developed as a joint effort between MHI and Datacomp, which also owns the Internet marketing site “MH Village.” Dan Rinzema is president of Datacomp. Although the database contains approximately 40,000 land lease communities (LLCs) across the country, much of the information is outdated. The website is www.mhicas.org.
• We just learned of another database which serves Georgia and 29 other states. The Georgia service is Georgia Housing Search.Org.  We understand that it currently contains about 170,000 rental listings, including manufactured homes, LLC lots, site-built houses, and apartments, and experiences 8,000 – 9,000 searches per day for available rentals. The parent non-profit organization is www.socialserve.com. The services are apparently funded by state or federal agencies and are free to landlords and prospective tenants. We’re still collecting information on both.
• Some real estate brokers and agents who specialize in LLCs have surveyed many LLCs in states in which they broker properties. Max Baker, a GMHA member and agent with Marcus & Millichap, recently compiled a database of about 900 LLCs in Georgia ranging in size from a few lots to about 500. We know there are others elsewhere with similar LLC data who are willing to participate in this disaster housing relief effort.

Since CSH homes are compatible with other homes in LLCs, COs would be glad to have them moved into their LLCs for disaster relief, provided the CO screens the new resident as he/she would any other resident. Also, since COs want homes to remain in the LLC, they would be willing to purchase the MH after FEMA/GEMA use. This would seem to be an efficient, cost-effective “exit strategy” for FEMA since the homes would not have to be moved to a storage facility, rehabbed, and stored for the next emergency.

We welcome the opportunity to work with GEMA, FEMA and others to implement this program. We are planning a meeting of about 100 COs in the Atlanta area in mid-October and would be glad to have someone from GEMA and/or FEMA discuss this program at that meeting. We also encourage FEMA to contact George Allen who holds an annual meeting (Roundtable) of COs across the country in mid-September. This year’s meeting will be in San Antonio, Texas. It would be an excellent means of publicizing this program on a national basis. # #

David Roden, davidroden@yahoo.com, 423-760-4819
Spencer Roane, spencer@roane.com, cell ph. 678-428-0212