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Posts Tagged ‘Jim Clayton’

Dare’s 3 Point Plan for Manufactured Housing Industry Recovery

June 29th, 2016 No comments

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-With apologies to MH Industry legend Randy Rowe and his 5 Point Plan for Industry Recovery – which is insightful and important reading – let me

suggest that what the Industry needs is a foundation that’s built upon a simple three point plan – which is really a 1 point plan – and everything else is a subset to that basic necessity.

Ready?

Education, Education, Education

James McGee and Chet Murphree said it very well on a video, its all about education. That’s sounds so simple, but they were correct, and its so true.

What keeps more lenders from entering the manufactured housing market? Education.

What does and has Triad Financial done so successfully for years to bring more lenders into the manufactured housing space? In a phrase, they’ve educated bankers and credit unions to the realities of modern manufactured homes.

The Three Forms of Education needed for MH Industry Recovery are these:

1) Public Education

Consumers must be exposed – educated – about the product.

This can happen at events, online, at a retail center, community, factory, visiting a friend’s manufactured home, etc. The more the public is educated, the better they understand our product and the more they will buy it.

The secret sauce for manufactured housing success is to attract and sell more credit worthy buyers, which in turn will cause the stigma to subside. As more millionaires and the mid-to-upper middle class buyers purchase a new manufactured or modular home, the more success the industry will enjoy in selling the entry level market that no one but manufactured housing can successfully serve without serious public subsidies.

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Editor’s note – All images on this page, save Titus’ photo, are provided by MHProNews.com as illustrations for his message, and were not sent by the author.

2) Outside MH Professional Education

Want More Lenders? Be it the GSEs, or others, education – not a sales job, education is at the heart of what’s needed. Educate them on how the existing industry lenders do it successfully. Do what Don Glisson’s team has done, or what I’ve been a part of doing in MH for many years.

Some 80% of HUD Code MH sales make appraisal, so 20% of potential sales don’t meet appraisal.

Want more appraisers to give better appraisals on manufactured homes? Then, you better help them get their arms around the nuances between the upper end homes and the entry level homes, underscoring the point that they are all built to the HUD Code and are safe, durable and energy efficient. Educate them!

Want more public officials to say yes to manufactured housing? Educating the public, and creating their demand for the product – while also educating local, state and national officials – educating each of those groups are essential. Each must be educated uniquely, but each form of outreach should take place at the same time.

Want more developers, Realtors ® and other housing professionals to embrace manufactured homes? Isn’t that also about education?

Make no mistake about it – the industry has to reach out to a myriad of other groups and professionals if it is to achieve its potential. But the rewards will be worth the effort.

Inside MH Professional Education

To sell more of the upscale buyers, and to convince more public officials, mainstream media etc. – all of those are educational efforts, that requires better motivated, informed and yes – educated industry professionals.

Some in the industry are truly forward looking. Others are hoping for a return to Conseco and Greentree days. The later won’t happen and wouldn’t work for long if it did.

For the Industry to attract new capital, we must prove we are educated enough ourselves to be thinking about ways so that everyone in the mix will benefit and win.

The win-lose days are over.

Further, you don’t usually sell a millionaire the same way you do that customer who can just barely qualify for the least expensive entry level house. You have to approach every prospect based upon their unique needs, wants, world view and expectations.

All of that and more are a matter of training, of education.

What Won’t Work

What’s clear is that manufactured housing endured over a decade of downturn, followed by a modest roughly 6 years of recovery.

We may have the best product ever, but what attracted those new lenders in the past and what attracted developers and other housing professionals to MH before was what appeared to be the opportunity to do volume and to do it in a profitable way.

MH was once one out of every 4 new homes hooked up to electrical service in the U.S. Today, its a fraction of that total.

We can’t tilt at windmills, we can’t cry over split milk, but we can learn our lessons. That learning…is education! So we can begin to educate our way back to success.

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In case you missed it, click the link above to see Titus’ original column on MHProNews.

Every step of what it takes to be successful in lending, which is critical for the advancement of this or any other big ticket industry, must be connected to those 4S I mentioned in my first column.

The news is breaking as I’m writing this today that YES! Communities is being pursued on a 2 billion dollar potential buyout. Whatever happens on that deal, we know that several billions in MHC transactions have already taken place in the last year. That tells us what we already know.

Manufactured housing has demand, because affordable housing has demand.

What did Frank Rolfe say on that video? People hate their apartments. Rolfe and his associates are growing because they understand a key aspect of affordable housing. Price and payment sells!

Exaggerating to make the Point

In truth, education, education, education is a key.

But there are subsets to that, where experts in lending, in developing, in production of HUD Code and modular homes, in proper installations, in safe transit, insuring, supplying, associations, legal minds and other experts all play a role. So I’m exaggerating education a bit to make the point.

Over the years, at educational events I was part of to promote manufactured housing lending and manufactured housing as the ideal source for affordable housing for potentially millions of people, I had the opportunity to meet all sorts of Industry pros.

I’ve mentioned Don Glisson Jr. and Rick Rand, but there was also the Claytons, Dan Rolfes, Lad Dawson, Marty Lavin, Dick Ernst, Phil Surles, Joe Stegemeyer and so many others I could fill this page with their names. Each one brought certain qualities to the table.

That’s what must happen again – bring together the best minds, to educate – and education is the best form of promotion that manufactured housing could possible offer for the future.

Is there more to do than educate?

You bet, and with Tony okay to publish it, I’ll gladly share that in a future column too. Let’s note that Tony and his team and sponsors have already started this educational ball rolling on MHLivingNews – educating the public and public officials, and on MHProNews by sharing the insights, interviews, comments, news and opinions that so many have on these pages over the years.

End the Fear, and the Growth Will Follow

One piece of the advancement puzzle is ending fear. Education overcomes the paralysis of fear, or the no that fears cause. State or national associations clearly have many potential roles to play.

Come on in the water is fine” won’t work when trying to get the FHFA, GSEs or anyone else to come to the manufactured housing table on doing long term chattle-style (home only) mortgage lending.

As a career banker and a true believer that MH can, and will, solve our housing crisis in America, I ask each member of this great industry to pull together and refocus the efforts of the industry on education, education, education for the next 3 to 5 years. I believe the results for the MH industry and all those involved will be astounding. ##

(Editor’s note – the headline was written by MHProNews, the contents of this message were sent to us by the author; we note that so that readers don’t get the impression that Titus Dare named himself in the headline! 😉

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-By Titus Dare
Senior Vice-President
EagleOne Financial, Inc.

A Deeper Look at why the GSEs say no to Securitizing Chattel Loans

May 24th, 2016 1 comment

TOPIC

The Duty to Serve (DTS) question for the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac regarding originating Chattel (home only, personal property) loans on HUD Code Manufactured Housing has been a topic of discussion for years.

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Logos are for editorial illustration purposes only, and are the properties of their respective organizations. Composite image credit, BeforeItsNews.

BACKGROUND

To understand why I say what I do about DTS, the GSEs, MHI and manufactured housing (MH) below, some history will be useful. My experience with MH Affordable Housing and Duty-to-Serve spans nearly 35 years.

Upon entering the mortgage banking business, I worked in the mortgage division for Fleet Bank in St. Louis, Missouri. I made my first HUD Code MH land/home loan back in 1982.

At that time, HUD Regional Offices had to approve each subdivision and the homes that were being constructed within that community. HUD reviewed, approved and retained documentation and complete control of the Architectural & Engineering process.

The Regional HUD Office was located in St. Louis and Chaired by Joy Miller. Fleet was chosen by HUD because of its strong government lending (FHA & VA) platform, national presence with the ability to replicate the program. Fleet provided financing for the consumer’s purchasing HUD Code, single-sectional and multi-sectional, Redman Homes on short wall foundations in a subdivision in House Springs, Missouri. This was a new MH “beta test” community development project. It was one of the first HUD Code MH subdivisions outside of California. It was cutting edge and an exciting step for me right out of college.

At the time, I had no idea that my future in banking would be focused around Affordable Housing. From that point forward, I continued down the path of Affordable Housing which is truly a key for the to Duty-to-Serve.

In my follow-up assignment, I worked extensively at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri making over 600 VA loans in two years to accommodate relocating veterans and civil service personnel in the initial phases of the US Military Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) program. Specifically, on the Ft. Belvoir, Virginia relocation of 2400 families to Ft. Leonard Wood over six years. Brick & mortar site built homes were selling for $35,000-$65,000.

Next stop was in 1995 when I was invited to join an exclusive group of high profile mortgage bankers who focused on Affordable Housing nationally. I had no idea when I was chosen that I was chosen for my HUD Code MH housing experience. The group of 30 members from around the country formed the Underwriting Barriers Outreach Group (UnBOG), lead by Rick Coffman and Matt Miller of Freddie Mac in Washington, DC.

The task force was formed to bring mortgage bankers together to discuss how to create loan programs to provide financing for the underserved, economically or geographically challenged consumers. These borrowers were credit worthy, but did not have down payment of 10% or 20% plus closing costs. Or they could not meet the debt-to-income ratios of 28/36. They needed expanded guideline programs. As a member of that task force, I helped craft the 97% LTV Alt-A, Section 8 Voucher-to-Own, Lease-Purchase and the 105% LTV loan programs.

During that time period, our government leaders on Capitol Hill put mandates on the GSE’s to produce and deliver Affordable Housing programs to the marketplace. The new mandates were tremendously difficult to meet. They were tied to creating and driving home ownership in the United States. The new mandates required that 1 out of every 2 mortgages purchased by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac had to meet strict affordable underwriting criteria to be considered affordable.

The reason for the formation of the UnBOG group and the push to new loan programs as outlined above to expand homeownership, thus simultaneously answering the DTS mandate at the same time. It was from the UnBOG platform I learned how to write loan programs and how they were developed to serve a diverse and unique new classification of purchasers referred to in those days as “low-mod” borrowers.

In essence, our leaders on Capitol Hill were enforcing the Duty-to-Serve component which had been the focus of the creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from their inception. Nothing new, just a way to measure and enforce the GSE’s mission of Duty-to-Serve and expand homeownership.

FAST FORWARD

My invitation to UnBOG was to provide insight into the Manufactured Housing space. Specifically, how to create and deliver the MH product from construction loan through permanent end out loan on a product built in an off-site factory versus the traditional on-site method.

By this time, I had already successfully been making construction-to-perm loans on MH for 13 years. The GSE’s felt that a look into the MH industry, what I was doing and how I was doing it, could help them achieve these lofty Duty-to-Serve Affordable Housing goals now being enforced from Capitol Hill.

This point is that Duty-to-Serve is nothing new. It truly is the reason Fannie and Freddie were created.

For the first couple of years, we focused on Fee Simple loans known in the industry as Land/Home loans. Many of the programs coming through the development pipeline at the GSE’s were inclusive of MH Land/Home financing. Land/Home was sort of a no brainer, but subject to several gaps that needed to be closed with regard to title insurance, retiring titles, mortgage insurance, production and travel insurance, method of attachment and the creation of a true real property package upon completion and conversation to the permanent-end-out mortgage. Those topics we can save for another article.

In 1998, while working for First Tennessee Banks mortgage banking division, which would later become First Horizon Mortgage, I received a call from Freddie Mac asking me if I was interested in working on a new loan program crafted by a captain of the MH land lease community at MHI, a gentleman named Rick Rand. Rick had worked with program development guru Ginger Walters and Freddie Mac attorney Judith Agard to craft a program to serve as the Chattel Loan look-a-like.

The program was designed around a 35-year land lease, which created the real property entity necessary and required by the GSE’s to make a 30 year fixed rate loans on MH HUD Coded homes sited in MHC’s.

It was a brilliant piece of work by all parties, but there wasn’t anyone in the mortgage or banking space interested in the $300MM beta test “pilot program” that 99.99% of bankers had no clue about. It just so happened that I had extensive leasehold estate background from years gone by.

So when I received the call from Rick Coffman from Freddie Mac, my UnBOG colleague, I understood the program immediately.

Needless to saym it was exactly what the GSE’s needed to kill two birds with one stone. First and foremost, it met the Affordable Housing criteria right out of the box for Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) credit. Which meant it could be counted towards the GSE’s requirement to expand homeownership. Second, it answered the DTS question that had been long on the lips of all MHI leaders, pushing for rates and terms more readily associated with brick & mortar housing.

For me, it was just another niche market program that I was going to have to run up the flagpole with my boss, his boss, his boss and so on until I got to the banks president who just happened to understand the program.

Why, you ask did the president of a large bank like First Tennessee get it?

Well, because it just so happened our largest client on the books at the bank was this fellow name Jim Clayton, and his company was called Clayton Homes. You know  – the gent who sold his manufacturing, retailing and MHC communities to the “Oracle of Omaha”, aka Warren Buffet.

There was a program which we launch at First Horizon where we worked out the kinks in origination, processing, underwriting, closing, funding and servicing and – oh, yes – securitization too. Because Fannie and Freddie had their securitization platforms built out years before this “real property” leasehold estate program arrived on the scene.

By the way…pricing was about a ½% above the then 30 year fixed rate pricing.

The program was strong and grew legs. We even added a One-Time-Close (OTC) Construction Loan to the menu as First Horizon was developing Construction-To-Permanent (CTP) and OTC loans at that time.

We then moved it to First Bank where it died on the vine, as it became tainted by those who thought we could utilize this program the same way the other Chattel programs were being used in the marketplace in that GreenSeco era of “No Income, No Asset, No Job, No Money,” no problem loans. The GSEs wanted none of the headaches that came from the mindset that spawned GreenTree, Conseco and the other related chattel lending meltdowns of the late 1990s, and the early 2000s.

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The MHI logo is used here for illustrative purposes only, and is the property of that trade association.

WHAT’S THE POINT?

For years MHI has been attacking the DTS issue in hopes of pushing through some sort of chattel lending conduit for as long as I can remember. The Duty to Serve has been on the books since the inception of both GSEs.

The DTS guideline for both GSEs – Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – in their view is clearly stated to be for real estate secured properties. Chattel loans by definition are not real estate, and most folks in the MH world don’t understand the cost to build the securitization process.

The roots of the issue from the GSE vantage point are several key components.

First, understand that neither of the GSEs have the platform to securitize and deliver chattel product into the market place. There is already a pipeline to buy/deliver loans on conventional housing, but there is nothing like that for the personal property lending space that manufactured housing operates in.

If the GSEs were to spend the millions and millions of dollars to build that secondary market, there was in the past insufficient product flow to support the expense.

Another prime example is that the major purchasers of GSE securities paper are not interested in buying chattel (home only, personal property) loan production.

Those investors, such as Goldman, BlackRock and Raymond James among a host of other institutional buyers of mortgage paper do not have a DTS requirement. They are a behind-the -scenes cause for the “Just say No” by the GSEs on MH chattle lending, not the GSE’s themselves.

The GSEs only buy what they can securitize and layoff out their back door to their institutional buyers. If the institutional players don’t want the paper, who else is there to purchase those MH chattel loans in volume?

It is MHI’s lack of understanding of the function the GSEs have in providing paper to their core secondary lenders, such as Wells Fargo, Bank of America (BOA) and U.S. Bank.

What causes a great part of this problem is the MH industry’s failure to create a program that delivers a standardized product. For example, when the GSE’s buy a loan from Wells or BOA, the home created is attached to the land through a standardized “method of attachment.” That’s commonly called a “foundation.”

The house is built for a slab or a stem wall foundation that attaches a given residence to the dirt creating a single package of “real estate.” Home, foundation (which again is standardized) are connected to the land, thus creating a single package of real property. That standardization allows the title insurance companies and private mortgage insurance companies to stand behind those loan products too.

Chattel loans on manufactured homes are seen by the GSEs as a hodgepodge of various foundation systems. Mock block in their view is nothing more than a faux exterior wall that doesn’t attach the home to the ground. They see MH as concrete blocks on plastic pads, tied down with cork screw anchors, metal straps and then commonly enclosed by using vinyl skirting.

In the eyes of the folks that buy all the securities from the GSEs, those aren’t true foundations, they don’t believe they’ll stand the test of time, i.e. the 30-year term of a mortgage. Thus, the home – and loan – in their view won’t perform.

This is in spite of the fact that there are thousands upon thousands of successful examples of manufactured homes that have stood the test of time on these foundations.

In a phrase, this is a perceptual issue that calls for insights and education.

But have you ever sat across the table from six “black box” investment bankers and actuaries from Goldman Sachs or Pieper Jaffery and tried to explain to PhD. so-and-so from Harvard, and Phd. so and so from MIT or Yale and argue such topics? Doubtful. But I have. And I must tell you it is exhausting and has often seemed to be wasted time.

One such academic who actually had a hand in creating the securitization business called me aside halfway through one such meeting and said “Titus, let me give you a bit of information from our perspective.” “Yes, sir” I said, all ears. “If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck guess what? It’s a duck” …meeting adjourned.

In addition to the manufactured home foundation issue – right or wrong – the security buyers still view these homes as ones that can be moved to another location in the middle of the night.

The MH industry fails time and again to realize the GSEs are a conduit to the secondary market buyers.

The GSEs create “real property” securities that are sold into the marketplace. The GSEs don’t even have to service loans. They have four major servicers behind the curtain that can service loans, if necessary, on behalf of the folks who purchase the securities.

The Triad Financial Services and Clayton/Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance chattel models are different yet similar, as they finance chattel loans that are either held in portfolio or sold at a discount to a note rate buyer looking for yield spread.

The Clayton/VMF model is successful because Mr. Buffet has deep pockets and likes the yield spread. Not to mention Jim Clayton had the brains and financial support to create it. And at their company owned retail centers, VMF only finances paper from Clayton dealers. Plus, Mr. Buffet owns Clayton manufacturing and many of its suppliers as well as its dealer base. He is thus able to finance low credit with higher down payments or he can finance 5% down for consumers with truly good credit scores.

Triad focuses on AAA grade paper from reputable dealers that have a strong track record with Triad’s independent MH retail base. They portfolio and service their loans in house. Don Glisson, Jr. and his team have done a terrific job of navigating the chattel waters for over 30 – sometimes tumultuous – years. Triad’s book of business is the testimony to Don’s success.

If the MH Chattel industry would produce a standardized product model, with a more traditional method of attachment, and pushed the model without deviation through a beta channel and proved that compliance, not circumvention is the new MH mantra, then they would have a secondary market delivery strategy.

Armed with such data, you can then approach the investment banking crowd with proof of your models success. But instead, every time there is a lack of lenders or funding in the MH market, MHI cycles back to the GSE’s and DTS.

But there are powers that be in the good ole boy MH world who won’t learn and/or capitulate to those realities. As was noted in the Masthead blog linked here, the GSEs – as well as FHFA and most importantly our U.S. Congress – will not budge on this issue.

By the way, some of those House and Senate members will upon retirement want to go to work for the GSEs, or with the institutional actors such as Goldman Sachs or BlackRock. So they aren’t going to do much if anything in defense of chattel lending if it causes heartburn for those they may go to work for later in life.

4S=SafeSoundSanitarySustainable-postedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-

The answer…is easy…follow in the footsteps of Jim Clayton, Don Glisson, Jr., and Warren Buffet and create a standardized program that delivers a product that can stand the test of time and contain the 4 S’s: Safe, Sound, Sanitary and Sustainable.

But the MH industry, year after year after year, fails to produce anything that the true secondary market is likely to hang their hats on. ##

TitusDareSVPEagleOneFinancial-PostedIndustryVoicesMHProNews-com-Titus Dare
Senior Vice-President
EagleOne Financial, Inc.

 

 

Editor’s Note: Other well reasoned letters to the edtior Op-Ed style viewpoints are encouraged on this or other MH topics.

Why Retailers and Community Operators should go to Tunica!

March 19th, 2014 No comments

As I read the digital 2014 Tunica Show brochure and business building and profit protecting seminar line up, it became crystal clear why Retailers and Community Owner/Operators ought to be in Tunica next Wednesday morning through Friday at noon (March 26-28)!

Retailers and Communities can get free:

  • Networking with your peers,
  • Compare Manufacturers side by side, over 80 homes will be on display!
  • Compare products and services needed by your business side by side,
  • Get the latest on Manufactured Home Lending available TODAY, from all the major lenders all under one roof.
  • Get expert guidance on Commercial Lending on MH Communities,
  • Get marketing and sales tips in the Dominate Your Local Market 2.0 Seminar, featuring manufactured housing marketing and sales veteran, L. A. “Tony” Kovach.
  • Compare CRM products in a free panel discussion with Scott Stroud and myself, and learn why they are a key to growing your sales in 2014 and beyond.
  • Get success tips on MH Communities (MHCs) from pros with successful firms who know!

Let me give you a quick snapshot of the last bullet point above, which will provide the reasons you need to grab your business cards, and have your photo ID so you can enter the Tunica Show, free!

In the last decade, as the numbers of retailers and shipments declined, manufactured home communities (MHC) have of necessity become on-site-home leasing and selling operations.

Communities have always had to do the types of services and duties that developers and multi-family operations have provided in the conventional housing world.

Tunica has become a magnet in recent years, attracting more communities as well as more retailers than in prior years.

Here is the line up of on the panel for MHC Lessons Learned, to be held Thursday, 10:00 AM – 10:55 AM on March 27th.

Success Tips from Manufactured Home Community Owners & Executives!

For anyone in or thinking about getting into the land-lease community business, this panel discussion is for you! Hear practical tips from community operators that can help you operate your community more professionally and profitably.

jenny-hodge-national-coummunities-council-ncc-industry-voices-manufactured-housing-pro-news

Jenny Hodge, Vice President of the National Communities Council (NCC), will be your panel moderator.

You can learn more about Jenny in this month's MHProNews exclusive interview A Cup of Coffee with…Jenny Hodge.

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Among those on the three person MHC panel is Tammy Fonk, an Associate with the CBRE MH/RV National Group. Tammy was born and raised in the MH industry with two family owned communities. She operated the family owned company's sales and marketing business as well as having an active role in day to day community operations and resident relations. As a member of the MHRV Team, Tammy now works closely with public and private investors on building business relations and opportunities to enhance the Manufactured Housing Industry as well as the RV Resort and Marina properties in North America. Tammy works with owners and buyers of small, medium and larger communities in addition to representing large portfolio owners.

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Maria Horton is a regional manager with West Coast powerhouse, Newport Pacific. Maria's bio is linked here, but having met her, let me tell you what her resume doesn't say. This is a warm, delightful engaging professional! You will love to hear here insights and experiences on this panel discussion.

rick-rand-great-value-homes-l-sam-zell-equity-lifestyle-properties-els-chair ... layton-clayton-bank-chairman-industry-voices-manufactured-home-pro-news

Rick Rand (l), Sam Zell (c), Jim Clayton (r)

Last and not least, is Rick Rand, who made quite a stir recently with this guest column. Rick was the subject of another MHProNews.com interview, A Cup of Coffee with…Rick Rand.

If online registration for the Tunica Show is closed by the time you read this, don't worry! You can bring your business card and a photo ID, retailers, communities, builder-developers, realtors and installers will be able to sign up at the door, free with those credentials!

Let me close with a tip of the hat to L. A. Tony Kovach. Dennis Hill recently gave Tony quite the well deserved public shout-out, for his key role in the come back of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show.

Community Operations executive Ted Gross, with Continental Communities praised his session as being the best marketing presentation he had seen since coming into the MHC business.

We've worked with Tony about 90 days now, and let me tell you from first hand experience his deep passion for the MH Industry.

Tony cares about the success of people, operations and loves to see happy consumers enjoying our product.

I don't personally know of anyone who gives more time away for the benefit of the industry.

Tony's consulting and banner ads have helped our company's growth and presence in MH significantly! On MHProNews, he brings out the articles, experts and tackles the topics others shy away from, and is a friendly, peace loving professional and family man.

When you think about it, Tony's efforts to inspire our industry to do more and grow at shows like Louisville and Tunica are part of the rising tide of sales in our industry. You may or may not know it yet, but he makes you money just by being here and spreading the good word about our industry on sites like ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com and here on MHProNews.com.

These are among the reasons why I'll be voting for him as MHI Supplier of the Year, and I hope others that read this will consider doing the same.

We will be at booth 13H in Harrah's Convention Hall. Change your plans! Make your travel arrangements! Fly, drive or hitch a ride, but we hope to see you in Tunica for the 2014 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show! ##

brad-nelms-coo-manufactured-homes-com-posted-mhpronews-comBrad Nelms
COO
ManufacturedHomes.com

Whew! What a Whirlwind 44 Hours

October 20th, 2013 No comments

That is the NCC Fall Leadership Forum: “Building a Vision For The Future” held this past week in Chicago. First and foremost, kudos to my very good friend Jenny Hodge. Jenny is Vice President of MHI’s National Communities Council (NCC) and responsible for organizing and bringing forth this exceptional event. David Lentz is to be commended for his leadership and vision for the NCC.

While on the train from Milwaukee to Chicago I reviewed the agenda just to be certain I was up for the show which began in earnest Thursday morning. There was no doubt in mind that we were in for a very intense Thursday and Friday morning!

Wednesday evening’s reception was a very nicely arranged meet and greet with appetizers and an open bar. It has certainly been some time since we've seen MHI in a position to host such an event.

The real work began Thursday morning. The fact is that there was something to learn for everyone involved in the Manufactured Housing Community industry (MHC) whether you attended one session or attended all of the sessions.

The attendees were made up of a mix from the community business. When there was a show of hands early Thursday morning it appeared that there was a fairly even split of community owners present. One third were smaller owner with less than five communities, one third with less than 10 communities and one third owners or more than 15 communities.

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Rick Rand, Great Value Homes (l) Sam Zell, Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) Chairman (c),
Jim Clayton, founder Clayton Homes and Chairman of Clayton Bank (r)

In addition, in attendance were lenders specializing in community financing, manufactures who are interested in serving the community owners needs to provide homes for vacant sites, Real Estate Brokers who market and sell communities along home lenders and other firms providing resources to community owners.

As is not uncommon at events like this, networking opportunities were abundant. I am more than certain that new relationships were forged, deals discussed and ideas exchanged. That is part of what makes these interactive events such great opportunities for all segments of the industry.

For those who focused on the Build A Vision For the Future agenda, they were rewarded with session after session of individuals both from within the industry and from other industries sharing their knowledge and experience. Topics relating to marketing, selling, community relations and all the important component of customer service which forward thinkers in the MH Industry are working to accomplish. Not only did the presenters share their knowledge and experience, they also made time for provocative interaction and dialog amongst all of us in attendance. ##

(Editor's Note: Read more of Rick's commentary – plus photos – on the NCC Fall Leadership forum at this link here.

You can see NCC dinner cruise and event photos at this link here.)

 

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-.pngRichard J. Rand
President
Great Value Homes, Inc.
9458 N. Fairway Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321
414-352-3855
414-870-9000 (cell)
RickRand@gvhinc.net

Perceptions

June 12th, 2011 No comments

I was getting ready to catch a flight today, and someone shared an article that was in “The Journal” about the 2011 MHI Congress and Expo.  Written by Frank Rolfe, he stated among other things that ”he didn’t see anything remotely resembling optimism at the event.”  He also went on to state that “the plumbing fixtures show – which attracts 40,000 that same week in Vegas – is free;” “change the event to spanning a weekend, not on weekdays.  An event that’s Saturday and Sunday would allow more people from outside to attend” and “I think everyone at the show was carrying an AARP card.”

The title of the article is “Were We All at the Same Show in Vegas?”, and I was wondering the same thing after I read his article.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but what was different about our opinions and experiences is that I spent a lot of time listening – OK, maybe even eavesdropping – and videotaped over three hours of interviews and presentations made during the show.  What I captured on film are people’s perceptions of Expo and the industry.  After viewing and reviewing what I saw, heard and have witnessed since, I’d like to share my perception of Expo and our industry.

1.  Quality not Quantity.  I’ve been attending and speaking at the MHI Congress and Expo since the 90’s.  Is the show as big as it was then, and are as many people attending?  No.  But what is different now is the quality of the participants and the exhibitors.  Where else, in two or three days can you have conversations with the leaders and CEO’s of almost every top 10 manufacturer as well as the smaller but innovative leaders in our industry?  I like the intimate size that Congress is right now, but I know it’s not always going to stay this small and I’m taking advantage of the opportunity to get to have conversations with people that I might have never met before.

One of my favorite experiences this year was getting to chat with Jim Clayton about his book.  I got the copy when he was a keynote speaker at Congress last year, and it made me love him and Clayton Homes even more.  For me, that was a priceless, very special experience.

2.  Optimism. I not only saw and heard optimism, I saw enthusiasm about our future.  And this wasn’t just “talk.”  Look at how Cavco has grown, and they are profitable while doing it!  I’ve visited the Champion Homes of Texas and SE of Texas plants recently, and the proof that things are getting better is that the plants are open, busy, and there are homes consistently coming down the lines.  I’ve also heard that we are running out of existing inventory homes – a great problem to have.

3.  Age of Life, Stage of Life.  I’ve always preached it’s not how old you are, but how old you feel.  One of my favorite experiences was getting to reach in and draw the winner of the iPad drawing sponsored by iCafe.  The winner may have had an AARP card, but I have a feeling he could dance me under the table any night.  He understood technology, Skyped with his grandkids, and was attending with his son who is also in the business.  I noticed that during the NCC seminars, almost everyone in my row had an iPhone, Smart Phone and/ or an iPad.  I thought (and the photos back me up) that this year’s Congress had a much younger crowd, something I’m really excited about.  We have some really exciting changes coming, and some great talent coming up through the ranks.

 

 

A company that I’m really excited about is Basic Components (BCI Inc).  They just celebrated their 25th anniversary.  Russ Chappell is sharing the reins of the company with his two sons, and I am blown away with the direction they are heading in and the products they are offering.  You need to ask them if you want to know anything more 🙂  Another great example is Thayer Long – Executive Vice President of MHI.  I’d never ask his age, but to me he’s a “youngster” that has really turned MHI around, and is changing people’s perceptions of MHI and the Factory Built Housing industry.  A great example is that after attending and exhibiting at Congress, Champion has re-joined MHI.  I doubt they’d be a part of an organization they didn’t believe in and see value in.

 

 

4.  Other Conventions.  I attend a lot of conventions and conferences, and had the opportunity to attend the plumbing fixtures show (actually KBIS – Kitchen Bath Industry Show) that Mr. Rolfe referenced in his article.  It was a ghost town, and what usually takes me at least two days to go thru, took me only three hours.  Kitchen & Bath Design News stated in a Feb. 2011 article that at that time, they had 5,867 registered attendees and 457 exhibitors as opposed to 44,154 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors in 2007 – the last year the show was held in Vegas.  I was the Lifestylist® for the New American Home – the official show home for the International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando this year, and their attendance was around 1/2 of what it had been in the past.  Mr. Rolfe also stated that admission to KBIS is free – not necessarily true.  You can visit the exhibits for free, but full registration including the seminars is comparable to Congress.  The same is true at IBS: visiting the exhibit floor is free, but the rest costs about the same (except for the $5.00 coffee and $4.00 water at IBS).  Making it free to visit the exhibits is fine, but will it bring customers or just lookers?  With all that Congress offers, you really can’t compare it to the other shows because including the awards and luncheon, keynote, seminars, and all of the wonderful meals they feed us truly sets it apart.

I am on the Design Council for Thermador Appliances, and they have stopped exhibiting at KBIS and IBS because they have chosen to focus on their customers and potential customers in a more intimate setting, where they can give them their undivided attention.  To me, this is exactly what Congress offers – instead of 1,000’s of people looking for free pens and bottle openers, you get the decision makers who are truly interested in what you do, and you are afforded the time to have a real discussion with them.  Plus, one of the things that Congress offers that I think is brilliant is offering food and drinks in the exhibit area.   Food is expensive in Vegas, and having the opportunity to enjoy some great food while spending time with others in my industry is a great service.  I discovered some great products and services I wasn’t aware of at this year’s Expo, and I plan on doing business with them.

 

 

Lastly, I think Thayer Long, Ann Parman and the other tireless members of the MHI team should be congratulated for putting on a first class event.  It’s an event I won’t miss, and some of my favorite times and stories have happened in Vegas.  But you know what they say – What Happens in Vegas Stays in Vegas…  unless you ask.  I would love to share my experiences – you can view some of my interviews at: www.lifestylist.tv and on my YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/lifestylist.  Because business has been so good, I’ve been too busy to get all of them up – there will be more to come.  If you have a positive story about the industry, please share it with me at: answers@lifestylist.com – let’s share why “Now’s The Time To Buy” a new factory built home!

Photos by Lisa Stewart – Lisa Stewart Photography # #

Suzanne Felber, Lifestylist®, 214-941-8341, or email answers@lifestylist.com