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Moblehome, not Mobile Home

July 9th, 2014 5 comments

Does it not roll off your lips? Moblehome. It has a certain rhythm and melody to it. You can say it as one syllable, and not sound like an idiot.

Moblehome, as in a noble home, not a mobile home.

At one time HUD code homes were the only manufactured homes. Not any more.

Man-u-fac-tured-hous-ing, does not roll of your lips. In fact, it is quite laborious to say, with six syllables and no rhythm nor melody. It’s antiseptic. Moblehome is poetic.

Mobile Home is 100% all-American.

I know it’s crazy and against the grain, but I was in it long enough to spout off about it.

Mobile Home should not be a four letter word anymore.

I started in the mobile home finance business working for GECC in Dallas, in 1971, directly for Harry Gilmore, who worked for Fred Wiesenberger, who worked for Scott Conroy, my maternal uncle. Sometime prior to that, Uncle Scott had convinced General Electric to create a “Special Products” division of General Electric Credit Corporation, now GE Capital Corporation, for the sole purpose of offering wholesale and retail financing for mobile home retailers on a national basis.

At the time there were few national lenders, all full recourse, and limited to 84 month retail installment contracts.

I was a mobile home account manager handling about 1500 owners. I managed anything and everything to do with the financed home (primarily collections) from point of sale to completion of contract or repossession, by phone or in person at the residence.

Anyone who was in the business in 1971 knows exactly what kinds of mobile homes were offered to the public. It was not pretty, and in some cases, downright scary.

We all see, on a regular basis, unless you live completely in an urban environment, the vestiges and remnants of the sales heydays of the early 70’s.

There are hundreds of thousands of trailer houses and mobile homes across this country, from coast-to-coast and border-to-border, still in use, well after their intended life span, all pre-HUD, half of them currently uninhabitable by today’s standards, a fourth of them uninhabitable upon leaving the factory, and a fourth of them, like Rollohome, built exceeding the HUD code before there was a HUD code.

The HUD code created a new nomenclature, which has been described by Allen Wallis of

the Natural History Magazine as having four phases;

  • from 1928 – 1940 the travel trailer period;
  • from 1941 – 1954, the house trailer period;
  • from 1955 – June 14, 1976, the mobile home period; and
  • from June 15, 1976 to now, manufactured housing.

Since 1976, we, as an industry, without exception, no matter what sector of the industry one is involved with, as a group, were on a single mission; trying to eradicate all previous terms when describing manufactured housing built to HUD code specifications. It is a valiant and endless chore, perpetually trying to reach the general population, and primarily, our regulators and legislators.

Yet here we are, in 2014, and I still hear on local broadcasting; “trailer,” “trailer house” or “house trailer” and “mobile home,” rarely “manufactured home.”

On national broadcasting, one hears mobile home, an occasional trailer house or trailer park, and rarely, manufactured home.

I see National, State, and County elected officials being interviewed, saying trailer house and mobile home, never manufactured home. Sometimes they will call a HUD home a modular.

I cannot count the times an RV has been referred to as a mobile home, whether it’s a trailer or a motorhome. Motorhome, mobilehome, what’s the difference? Ignoramuses! Are the FEMA trailers ever called anything but the FEMA trailers, even though half of them are HUD code homes and not travel trailers. I doubt you will ever hear, “FEMA manufactured homes.”

I am not saying we have failed, but we sure seem to have a long way to go, after already working on it for 40 years. I have called and emailed I don’t know how many TV stations and networks complaining about their cavalier use of “trailer house” for the last 30 years, although I haven’t called lately. I don’t work in the business any longer, but I do follow it and I do try to educate morons from time to time.

The fact is, the general public has not embraced the term manufactured housing and probably never will. HUD Code manufactured homes are called about everything but manufactured homes by the general public and public officials.

Not mobile home, moblehome, or if you’re nutty about spelling, mobilehome, but one word and when we say it, we are not talking about your grand dad’s mobile home, we are talking about a state of the art, preferred single family residence, blah, blah, blah. I’m not saying give totally up on trying to get the general population to say

manufactured housing, but it’s a slow boat to China. I personally like to say moblehome and I make it perfectly clear I am not talking about a trailer, although the steel is always there, so technically, it’s a trailer with a house on it that trails behind a tow vehicle at some point in its life.

At least we are not called come alongs. ##

ken-haynes-jr-new-mexico-manufactured-housing-association-past-president-manufactured-housing-living-news-com75x75-Ken Haynes, Jr. Please see his commentary on the literally historic and very relevant today document attached to Drawn Quarters – Then and Now.

 

 

(Editor's Note: MHProNews strongly believes that accurate terminology matters, so the thoughts and statements made above are solely those of the writer.

Further, there are points in this commentary that are broad statements that could be construed as technically inaccurate, and should not be taken literally, eg; “half of them currently uninhabitable by today’s standards,” should be read as hyperbole to make the author's point, rather than taken as fact.

As on an issue of industry relevance, MHProNews accepts submissions of articles that may represent other viewpoints. Subject line, “Letter to the Editor” or “OpEd for Industry Voices blog” can be sent to latonyk@gmail.com.) 

Georgia Manufactured Housing Association’s Executive Director Sounds off on Princeton WordNet’s “Definition” of Manufactured Homes

April 12th, 2013 No comments

(Editor's Note: As with the MH Retailer's letteror the MHC Community manager's letters, linked as shown, this letter below was sent to Princeton's WordNet in response to their flawed definition of manufactured homes as found online and reported in this blog post.)

Princeton WordNet

Good Afternoon,
I have always appreciated the consistency and accuracy of www.wordnet.com but recently I read an industry article concerning your definition of Manufactured Housing. A recent industry article informed me that your definition of "Manufactured Home" is as follows:  "Mobile home: a large house trailer that can be connected to utilities and can be parked in one place and used as permanent housing."

I would certainly like to think someone with the IQ, life experiences, and test scores required to be accepted as a student at Princeton or to gain employment on the prestigious Princeton Faculty could certainly come up with a more comprehensive term for Factory Built Housing or Manufactured Housing. As a matter of fact, I am 100% convinced people of your intelligence can certainly challenge themselves to a higher level of vocabulary development than what you have demonstrated thus far. People like me that have committed their entire adult lives to the success of this industry would be so appreciative.

I will leave you with a few facts. In Georgia where I am located 43% of our residents live in Manufactured Housing. All of our homes are built to the Federal HUD Code, the International Building Code (IBC) or the International Residential Code (IRC). The latter two codes are accepted worldwide. Over 70% of our homes are installed on a permanent foundation and never moved again for the life of the homes. The National Home Builders Association recognizes that our housing has recently been rated by an independent engineering and architectural firm as having an average lifespan of 53 years. That we build homes on a daily basis that exceed 2500 square feet.

Thank you for your consideration,

Jay HamiltonC. Jay Hamilton
Executive Director
Georgia Manufactured Housing Association
199 East Main Street
Forsyth, Georgia 31029
Phone 478-994-0006
Cell 478 394 5114

(Editor's Note: The email address for the WordNet team is: wordnet@princeton.edu please take a few moments and email them, asking them to update their definition of manufactured housing. You can use the example above, the one by Retailer Jody Anderson or by Community Manager James Cook, all of which bring a flavor and punch not found in the original sent by Tony Kovach linked here. Whatever you do, email  wordnet@princeton.edu something you like, to encourage they update their outdated and flawed “definition.“

Another letter to Princeton’s WordNet Team about their Flawed Definition of a “Manufactured Home“

April 11th, 2013 No comments

(Editor's Note: As with the Jody Anderson letter, linked here, this letter from a MH Community Manager is reprinted with permission, and was sent in response to this blog post.)

Princeton WordNet Team.

To whom it may concern,
Far be it from me to take issue with a definition published by such an esteemed institution as yours, I still must.

A recent industry article informed me that your definition of "Manufactured Home" is as follows:

"Mobile home: a large house trailer that can be connected to utilities and can be parked in one place and used as permanent housing."

I am sorry, but referring to modern manufactured homes as a "trailer" or "mobile home" is akin to calling a 2013 Lexus sedan a "horseless carriage" or Princeton as a "school."

It is a disservice to our proud industry who serves as housing for 8% of Americans including the poor, lower-middle class, and even millionaires (at least one in my community).  

The definition belies how far our industry has come in the areas of quality and craftsmanship and subjugates us to the level of redneck/hillbilly shacks.

Thank you for your consideration on this matter.

Respectfully Yours:

james-cook-mhc-manager-ma-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews.comJames Cook,
MHC Property Manager.
Ph (401) 402-0373
Fax (815) 572-5255

(Editor's Note: this is how Princeton's WordNet “definition” appears online in Google:

The email address for the WordNet team is: wordnet@princeton.edu 

Please take a few moments and send them a message of your own, or use a variation on the one MH Retailer Jody Anderson sent, or like the fine one above from MHC manager James Cook, both of which we deem better than the one Tony Kovach sent, linked again here.)

Other messages besides these have been sent to WordNet, but we need more from You and Your MH Circle until Princeton U 'gets the message' and changes their terribly erroneous, so-called definition of a manufactured home. So take a moment now and please send a message to wordnet@princeton.edu. CC latonyk@gmail.com in your message to Wordnet, Thank you! )