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Posts Tagged ‘land lease community’

Measure V is Bad Public Policy, should be Rejected

October 4th, 2016 No comments

Park owners in Humboldt County have been addressing the issue of alleged “excessive” rent for well over a year.

Most Park owners offer long-term leases that address and stabilize any legitimate concern about rent increases.

A rent increase that reflects an increase in property taxes simply reflects the costs of doing business. Not one penny of such increases go to the park owner. Rather, such funds go the county for roads as well as police and fire services.

Rent control, by its nature, does not include any logical safeguards, such as income qualification. Rather, such ordinances are premised on the idea that park owners are “taking advantage” of homeowners because a mobile home cannot be easily moved.

rentcontrolmanufacturedhomecommunitiesakamobilehomeparks-billdahlinmhpronews

For our recent story on Measure V, please click the image above. An updated Measure V report will be coming soon to the Daily Business News, on MHProNews.

However, the reality is that rents in Humboldt County are not excessive. Indeed, rents in Humboldt County mobilehome parks are exceptionally low. Do the research.

Measure V is bad for Humboldt County, bad for Tenants, and bad for Park owners.

This type of legislation creates and fosters adversarial relationships and leads to expensive and time-consuming litigation. Again, do the research.

Ask what the city of Carson has paid for its rent control. Or the city of Escondido.

The taxpayers of Humboldt County will pay for this legislation [not the park residents] advanced by a small minority of persons who reside in mobilehome parks.

Measure V is bad policy.

Measure V should be rejected. # #
c-william-bill-dahlin-hartkinglaw-postedmanufacturedhousingindustryvoicesmhpronewsC. William Dahlin
Hart | King
4 Hutton Centre Drive, Suite 900
Santa Ana, CA 92707

(Editor’s Note: this comment came in response to MHProNews coverage related to Measure V, please see the link here.  Other industry commentary on this or other manufactured, modular and prefab housing related topics issue are welcome. Submit all letters to the editor/Op-Ed columns to: iReportMHNewsTips@mhmsm.com with the words Industry Voices Commentary in the subject line.)

A home built in a factory can be a home just like a site built?

November 11th, 2014 No comments

A recent court decision – linked below – has me scratching my head in bewilderment?

http://www.mhpronews.com/blogs/daily-business-news/jdsupra-spotlights-the-6th-circuit-ruling-in-bennett-v-cmh-homes-are-manufactured-homes-a-consumer-product/

  • Senator Moss stated in 1974, that a house would not be a “consumer product” because it is not “tangible personal property.” The Sixth Circuit, expanding on that understanding, held that the Bennett’s’ manufactured home was not a house-trailer or a mobile home designed to be moved; rather, it remained permanently on the land and was taxed as real property.
  • Further, because the triple sectional was as large and looked like a “regular house,” dictionaries for the words “consumer” or “consumer goods” described products that were expendable or replaced, quite different from a dwelling.
  • Judge Stranch dissented, taking issue with the majority’s distinction between “manufactured homes” and “mobile homes.” Stranch said so-called “mobile homes” are not built to be actually mobile, opining that the factory built home industry coined the term “manufactured home” to replace “mobile home” in response to negative stigma against “mobile homes.”

We were always lead to believe a mobile home or manufactured home is never permanent, it is a consumer goods or personal property. It has been a long held belief. The banks do not lend on it due in part to this one definition.

After many years, just when you think it is; it turns out it just ain’t so.

The mobile aspect came about because it is built in one place and transporting it to another location where it will reside. Many years ago these homes were much smaller and could be towed by a car or truck, a “Trailer.” I do not like it here, I am moving, give notice hitch it up and leave.

That image is still with us today even though it has no truth to it.

The homes today require semi-trucks to hitch it, to move it, after the demolition of the accessories and the home’s preparatory work needed to get it to be transported. The money to move it is expensive.

Where are these old mobile homes going anyway when a homeowner wants to leave a community?

Most Land Lease Community (LLC) owners do not want old mobile homes coming into their community so they are refused. They do not even have the distinction of being “Cool”or “Classics” as a desired retro home by the public.

I do not know about you but I have seen many a mobile home sitting for years in an LLC community never leaving its lot location. The term most used by LLC owners is, “Sell it in Place.” It is practice encouraged by management. It makes me think they are permanent because of selling it in place!

The LLC community owners are adamant it stay not wanting it to leave. The LLC owners do not want empty spaces due to the impression of blight and lack of interest in their community. They always hope that Dealer down the street will replace it sometime. It is a better belief to keep the light “On” and stay in place than having an empty lot.

used-mobile-homes=credit-steve-lefler-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews-com-4

The future for manufactured homes with this court decision could be the very change that impacts the old time popular belief and could change the image and acceptance of this home product. The idea of a consumer product nameplate placed upon someone’s home coupled this common-sense decision often effect old time beliefs to change. ##

Steven-Lefler-Vice-President-Modular-Lifestyles-posted-on-mhpronews-comSteven Lefler, Vice President, Modular Lifestyles, Inc.(888) 437-4587.

Interview with Marty Lavin, JD

April 3rd, 2013 1 comment

Marty, before we get into the meaty topics that will follow, let's establish your credentials for readers who may not know you and your background.

  • 1) MHProNews: Please tell us about your years involved in manufactured housing, including legal, as a community owner, expert on financing and any other. Include a sense of your MHC, financing and other business interests.

marty-lavin-50-posted-mhpronews-com-industry-voices-blog Marty Lavin:

I’m now 70 years old and I look back to 1972, when as a summer intern I entered the mobile home business. I was a junior in law school and was working at Ray’s Homes, who operated owned and franchised lots up and down the east coast, from New Brunswick to Florida.

For you youngsters, 1972 and then 1973 following it were the absolute pinnacle of the mobile home industry, reaching almost 580,000 shipments both years. At today’s shipments level, that is about eleven years of shipments, in each year, back to back. Those were giddy times, and predictions of 1,000,000 annual mobile home production seemed heady, but few seriously doubted it could happen, there seemed no barriers.

There were factories building homes all the way from some constructing them in their garage to the industry giants, Champion and Fleetwood or their compatriots. Time dims my full memory of 1972 and ’73, but not the excitement of those incredible times.

What it does not dim is that our sales organization was a national scope powerhouse, selling over 5,000 new homes in 1973. Think of that, almost 1% of all national sales, in one small outfit run by 3 people! I was proud of that then and still am.

What I remember most about 1972 is a time I was asked to go to a local land lease community owned by our organization. The community had about 214 homes in it, as I remember, a very large community in our small State of Vermont.

I was to field resident complaints. As I recall, a modest rent increase had just gone in and there was an uprising. I was to go up and quell the unrest.

I arrived at 5:30 PM, alone, at the community ballpark, and I met with 200+ very angry folks, and since they had been playing softball there were lots of baseball bats in the hands of the angry. Lesson: never attend a resident meeting alone with 200 angry people with baseball bats in hand. Actually a number of lessons came from that incident, which later served me well in both the MH Community and the apartment business. After all, the folks who inhabit apartments and MH Communities are not so different.

I came back after law school graduation and spent the next five years managing the legal affairs of sales lots, calling on banks for our service company, doing other legal work, and giving zoning presentations for MH Communities and strip shopping centers. Let’s say that the strip center zoning was easy compared with zoning MH Communities in most eastern states, as it was a serious challenge, even in the 1970’s. Always the endeavor was contentious, costly and endless, not a good business model.

By 1977 I became a General Motors dealer, selling Chevys for 4 years, then Oldsmobile and Cadillac for another 5 years. Sad to say, as much as I liked selling cars, I could not succeed financially although my sales were excellent, but profits, not sales volume sets the business paradigm, in cars or MH, and I fell short there. At the time the U.S. auto business was under serious pressure from the foreigns, and GM was already a doomed giant.

Back I went to real estate and the MH business.

From 1985 until 1995 I ran fast and hard buying communities in several states. As I remember at one point I was in George Allen’s top 75 list or thereabouts of community owners. These were communities I owned mostly on my own, few partners, just bank and seller debt. And of course, whether it is equity money from public subscription or money partners, or purchase money debt, they can all be harsh masters, and the vicious real estate depression of the 1989-1993 and the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation) had us all in workouts. Most of my friends and partners declared bankruptcy. I thought that foolish, as it seemed unnecessary. Lots of talking and court appearances, but I got through it in spite of $55 million in debt, in 1989 dollars.

Rather than bankruptcy, my own course was entirely different. I chose to be prickly, but reasonable. Prickly, in that I could not be easily rolled by the creditor, and reasonable in that sometimes a property is not working, and it needs to go to someone with greater resources.

By 1988 I had formed an MH chattel loan service company, representing a large number of northeast area banks in originating loans, for home only, going primarily into communities. The general downturn of 1989-1993, with a steep decline in MH sales and lots of repossessions, stopped the service company’s climb to the big loan numbers. But they ultimately did come. In 1998, our company, Mortgage Services, Inc. (MSI) originated over 6,500 loans, totaling $188 million in originations. Those are big numbers in chattel loans by a broker. But as proud as we are of our volume, our record of clean paper without games, is a greater source of pride.

We originated loans for Vanderbilt, Chemical/Chase Bank, The Associates, CIT Group and many others. As one lender said to me a couple years after they left the industry and was running off the portfolio, “If every loan we bought were like yours, Marty, we’d still be in the business.” Satisfying words, indeed, in an industry enshrined in the Lending World Hall of Shame for Fraud.

We hung on with ever-smaller loan volume throughout most of the 2000’s, finally calling it quits after 2008, when we could no longer make money and my eyes glazed over trying to reinvent myself.

In 1999 or thereabouts, I was elected Vice Chair of the Financial Services Division of MHI, a two year assignment, which then leads to a two year assigned as the chairman of the Division. But, the industry was cratering so quickly, that the then chairman’s company exited MH lending, dropped out of MHI, and my term of almost 4 years as Financial Services Division Chairman began quickly.

In spite of an industry decline of frightening proportions, for many the reality had not yet sunk in. Mid-2000s shipments ranging from 125,000 to 150,000 homes, only with the grace of God who sent hurricanes and the industry built homes to house the dispossessed. But for anyone who could put it together, it was obvious: things in the industry were unraveling very quickly with scant hope of recovery.

For almost ten years I wrote a monthly newsletter, “Marty’s News and Notes,” commenting on the scene in Trailerville. What was obvious to me seemed less obvious to many. The industry was putting itself in an ever-shrinking situation and was not lifting a finger to try to save itself. The MH Image Campaign was endlessly pondered, but in the end, powerful industry forces that would profit by a weak industry joined hands with industry nabobs who to this day contend that our present situation is just an industry pullback, to kill the image campaign. Today, the industry has no ability to do any general industry promoting being too small to raise the money.

The highlight emotionally of this fading late 2000’s era was my dis-invitation from a community owner’s conference I was accepted to attend. My ideas of the industry decline, its causes, potential cures, and likely outcome were too radical. “Lenders could make money, they just got scared,” they said. They’d be back. I reasoned with even “good” MH chattel portfolios into land lease communities suffering over 30% lifetime defaults, lenders were unlikely to return, and so they haven’t. My one satisfaction since is that those who dis-invited me to the conference have of late finally grasped what I was saying over 5 years ago. Welcome to the party, even if belatedly so.

I very much enjoyed my assignment with Fannie Mae from 2003-2009 as their factory built housing consultant. I tried, as did Fannie, to bring some useful and survivable lending programs to the industry, but essentially they were rebuffed. To the end, the industry wanted to shuck and jive lenders to take losses in their behalf. I found the people at Fannie to be very intelligent and knowledgeable. They knew how to research a subject.

In many regards industry performance and industry attitude have never meshed. One would think an industry which had shrunk by 80% would go into bodies they were soliciting for help with hat-in-hand. Instead, bolstered by the industry shibboleth of “America’s Most Affordable Housing Form,” demands were more common than requests. That operating form continues to this day! I call it Pit Bull lobbying.

My proudest moment was in October, 2004, when my peers at the MHI Financial Services Division awarded me the Totaro Award of outstandinglifetime achievement to the division and industry. An award of this type makes one feel that all those meetings, flights, conferences and commuters, time consuming and personally expensive as they are, did not go unnoticed.

              

2) MHProNews: Tell us what you think the outlook is for us on the legislative or lobbying fronts on initiatives to modify regulations with the CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) in Washington DC and why.

Marty Lavin:

One must look at the world as it is, not as one wishes it to be. Since the enactment of the Patriot Act in this nation, government found that they could pass very onerous and controlling laws, with relatively muted public outcry. In fact, the general public mood was that we wanted to be regulated. “Me, I’m ok and can be trusted, but that guy over there, let’s put him in regulatory shackles,” seemed to be the prevailing attitude.

An onslaught of rules and regulation ensued (Osama, you won, pal!). Many of them came as a response to the 2008 financial crisis, leading to an endless array of rules, regulations and laws. Nothing was left to chance. Endless government employees were hired to man all fronts. People not wanting to sit around in their government office with nothing to do, wrote their hearts out with rules and regulations. This necessitated a whole new group of people to enforce the laws, to make sure knuckles were broken for transgressors. Dodd-Frank and the Alphabet Laws ensued, and who knows what else (ObamaCare).

And what industries were targeted?

Well, all those mortgage lenders who had caused or appeared to cause the 2008 fracas. One would think the manner in which our industry had responded to being entangled by the regulation was that was they had “clean hands.” The industry acted as though they had not caused any of the lending problems which brought the regulations. Forget that from 1999 until 2005 or thereabouts, millions of MH homeowners lost their homes to the depredations of our sellers and industry lenders and the highly flawed portfolios they originated. “But we gave them a chance for home ownership,” was the industry refrain. Some chance, when portfolios were originated with well over 50% defaults.

This led to many problems for the lenders, but the primary losers for those bad portfolios were the homeowners, and the investors who bought the portfolios, just as occurred in the 2008 mortgage disaster. In the MH 1999-2005 loan meltdown the plight of homeowners with lost homes, lost jobs, divorces, financial problems, moves for other housing and the emotional distress it caused seemed unreported and without concern by anyone. But did it escape the gaze of the regulators?

When these things occurred in the real estate lending meltdown of 2008, the scope was so great and consequences so extreme, that homeowner plight did not go unnoticed. To the contrary, many undeserving homeowners were given breaks they did not deserve. Little of that occurred in the MH debacle.

The CFPB arose from that wellspring; Chattel loan shenanigans led to homeowner/borrower consequences essentially identical to the mortgage mess, so why treat them differently? To say nothing of the industry reputation for loan fraud, and dealing with many financially fragile people who were not viewed as able to protect themselves.

Don’t misunderstand my drift; I’m simply reporting what I see as the motivation for the formation of the CFPB, and by extension, the prospects for any serious changes in their rules and regulations.

Were I sitting across the table from industry lobbyists, in the back of my mind is the knowledge that exempting the MH industry from these rules is loosening the grip on an industry who hasn’t acted as though their past lending was fair to the consumer.

Yes, as the industry claims, a few more homes might be sold if rules were relaxed, but the CFPB rules and regs do not by themselves stop a 580 FICO buyer from getting financed. That’s a self-sustaining process by industry lenders for the moment. But it might protect the 660 on up FICO MH buyer from some of the known operating defects from which the industry has suffered. That’s the thinking the industry faces in seeking changes.

So, what do I think the industry lobbying efforts will gain as to the CFPB? I seriously doubt that any meaningful loosening of regulations will occur as making the case for it is not easy. At best, a few more homes could be sold and financed to responsible buyers, but regulators do not see loosening regulations which simply allow people at the bottom to “buy” more MH, and suffer a high loss of homes. And that is what the industry seeks, at its heart. My advice, onerous as the regulations are, learn to live with them and take advantage of a new competitive factor introduced by CFPB. Master the requirements and get a leg up on those who will not, of whom there appears to be many.

3) MHProNews: What is your impression of the working relationship between various industry associations, HUD and the DOE?

Down through the years I have known both sides of the continuing lobbying drama. The industry wants this and that, most of which conflicts with the regulators desire to control the industry and protect the consumer. We now have a history of going at this since the late 1970’s, without any magical results for the industry. It has recently become a highly regulated industry which heretofore, though the industry viewed itself as highly regulated, it was not. That changed. Welcome to the new America where regulation of all stripes holds sway.

Of the major industry associations, MHI (Manufactured Housing Institute) has been the compromising industry element. While individual members have been combative, the association has tried to be firm, but compromise has not been unknown.

The other group, MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform), has catered to the industry segments which feel we can go toe-to-toe with industry regulators and have our way with them.

I think if we took a long and serious look at the actual achievements of both associations, the record reveals little success by the pit bull faction, and some, though limited success from the compromisers. But what would we expect from an industry whose main claim is that it is America’s most affordable housing, when government now finds non-profits or developer-required low-income housing as the better vehicle to deliver affordable housing, not the MH industry. The industry has become suspect, and that is at the heart of the regulations, just as it was with the mortgage industry which brought on their highly increased regulatory burden.

I’ve written at some length in this publication in the past on this very matter of the associations, and a view of that might shed even more light on the subject as to my thoughts on our associations and their operating style and effectiveness.

I do not want to leave this matter of lobbying without speaking to the state associations.

All during my 40+ years in Trailerville, I’ve dealt with them. They have many very talented people involved and members can really get involved without the major time and money cost of national association meeting attendance. Some belong to both, but at my speeches at various state associations I met many I never saw in Washington, who obviously were very involved in state matters. Their record of storming the state capitols to seek redress shows how effective close relationships can be. We see an effectiveness locally we simply do not see on the national stage.

Locally we may represent a strong voice listened to. Nationally, even when we had a fairly strong PAC $$$$, we were a minor player in most regards and were treated as such. Today with our PAC having the same money as the allowance for an 18 year-old, we don’t get too much respect or time.

In most states, with strong associations, getting into the halls of power and talking with a regulator or politician who is a personal friend of yours yields excellent results. Would it be this action was transferable to DC. But in DC relationships seem to hinge on $$$$$.

4) MHProNews: What do you think would help the industry's working relationship with regulators?

Marty Lavin:

The industry needs friends. It has few if any in government, and none I know of in the non-profit world, which takes an ever greater share of attention within government. As we’ve seen repeatedly, at all levels of government, a few loud critics, especially from non-profits, have enormous sway over board and regulators. Meanwhile, everything we say is questioned and mostly disbelieved.

Long have I encouraged MHI to join folks like AARP, who is a serious critic of the industry, in trying to resolve issues between us.

Is the water too poisoned to join with various non-profits? Perhaps, but if we can work with them on specific issues, powerful forces could be unleashed on our behalf, which would greatly enhance our clout with government. Against us they seem to be prevailing. But we must get past the ingrained industry belief that we do no wrong and do not need to change or compromise.

By ourselves, in an essentially buggy whip industry (fading), I do not see the regulators doing anything we request, save at the margin. And any slide back from regulations will quickly be rescinded as soon as industry infractions occur once more. History tells us that will happen quickly. Just look at the number of industry people trying to slide around the numerous lending regulations now hung around our necks.

5) MHProNews: What do you think would be useful in having a positive impact on our lobbying efforts for modifications in Dodd-Frank with Capitol Hill?

Marty Lavin:
I fail to come up with any positive, easy solutions to our problems, heaven knows I tried. The industry reputation of “bad-actor,” who treats consumers unfairly, who closes communities to sell 150 families out so a Wal-Mart can be built, who champion chattel lending where very financial fragile people have high default rates in communities, who raise rents endlessly, have led to not only Dodd-Frank, but to highly restrictive zoning laws, rent control laws, and a myriad of lending and non-lending regulations. These have help squeeze the life from the industry.

But let’s confront the real culprit for the fall from 580,000 homes in 1973 to the 50,000 range today, even as population has increased by 50% since 1973.

Listen intently here, Junior, it ain’t the regulations which plague us.

It is this simple fact, like it or not: Chattel lending to the average customer drawn to our product is not sustainable because of high default rates and the attendant high loss upon resale of defaulted collateral.

I needn’t remind you this is a complex, intractable problem at least for now, and solutions are extremely elusive. If lenders lend only to those customers likely to default at less than 20% lifetime rates, then this is a small industry, as we now see. If lenders follow the lending regimen of 1960-2003, then defaults will lead to huge lender losses, even as sales soar, for a while anyway.

Since the ABS MH meltdown of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, lenders are aware of this fact. Sad to say, after innumerable industry meetings, I note only our lenders seem to appreciate this fact. The rest of the industry seems unconvinced, not wanting to be confused by the facts.

Thus the present extreme caution in lending, as even six months of lending error will likely bring an enterprise down, results from the reported facts of the ABS era. MH Lenders have decided that it will not be them who subsidize the industry through loan losses.

The GSE’s were probed to take over that role and even though they did so with real estate mortgages with disastrous ramifications, they refused to do so with MH.

HUD/FHA through its lending programs has always been probed to have them assume that role. Once the 50 year lender subsidy of the industry was withdrawn, reality set in as to the real size of the industry. Not the 1975 to 1999 trend line of 250,000 homes annually, but a mere 50,000 home shipments per year, was the real size.

And even if the hurricanes run wild again, will government turn to us again for homes?

That leaves only government-subsidized loan losses in order for the industry to be able to return to those golden 250,000 annual home shipments. So far every government agency has refused to do so, especially after the losses suffered in the Title I, Chattel Loan program, which the GAO report demonstrated was a serious loser. No one wants to be our bitch.

I dare say that the loan losses and its connection to industry size were well recognized by some by the late 1990’s, when I heard a senior GSE official say that only with government subsidies could the industry succeed once lenders retreated. That hasn’t happened. I was gape-jawed at the time, but how right they were!

So going to Capitol Hill on Dodd-Frank almost seems like deck chair moving. Let’s suppose all Dodd-Frank and other new lending license requirements were repealed, does selling self-financed used homes to 580 FICO borrowers save the industry?

I think not and clearly stated as such years ago when an industry scribe was waxing eloquent about the potential for self-finance to save the industry. It is not going to happen for a variety of reasons, and I told him so as well. It may help some individual organizations, but the entire industry? Yeah, right.

6) MHProNews: What closing thoughts would you like to leave with industry readers today?

Marty Lavin:

Tony, in those dozens of “Marty’s News and Notes” I wrote in the 2000’s I proposed many changes in the industry operating model I thought would help. Of course, most all of them were unenforceable, were likely to be violated by many, and some were deemed to make industry action more difficult, as though if not enacted the industry would get better and easier.

The Image Campaign was an excellent example. After Roper Associates polled the public on industry public perception, their report to the industry said that in their 30+ years of polling, no industry had been so poorly perceived by the public and their customers. This was strong incentive indeed for an industry seeking to refurbish itself. We did nothing. So they don’t like us? Who gives a rat’s azz?

Regulators deal in the real world. They read the newspaper account of another tenant revolt in a community after a rent increase. The photos of another community closing with pathetic people having to move a worthless 40 year old home to another elsewhere and not having the resources to do so can’t help but move the public.

Not our problem you say? Perhaps, but our regulators and critics wield their dictatorial power against us, even as the industry seems oblivious to it. And like the drip of the Chinese water torture, little by little our operating style has gone out of style. Yeah, but dick-head, we are moving to create green homes! That will help.

In spite of everything I’ve said in here, let’s zero in on the most important fact I can remind you of today.

Like the stock market which is a market of individual stocks, this is not an industry, but an accumulation of individual opportunities, all revolving around a factory built home.

There are plenty of players surviving, even flourishing in their own endeavors.

It would be nice to have a strongly growing industry to help business, but the industry has shrunk enough, shedding many enterprises, as it seeks its new level. Some elements, like the communities, will likely continue shrinking as the cornfields which became mobile home parks courtesy of crazy lending, revert to cornfields.

You know that from those endless real estate broker-sent emails asking for offers on troubled properties, with 50% occupancy, almost all of which are owner financed homes. Mercy, Jesus…

Don’t plan your business around Dodd-Frank, or SAFE or CFPB being modified or overturned. The chances of that are slim. Pay attention to your own unique niche. Follow the rules, stay out of trouble, and meld business needs with empathy for your buyer or community resident. Become the “good guy” in a sea of others.

Hard as it is, do the things required by law if necessary to succeed. If the laws are overturned or modified, you can quickly revert, but you are wasting time trying to battle what is in place now.

Know that GreenTree Financial is not returning and the industry lenders, few as they are, will not become GreenTree. Don’t worry about that rumored 580 FICO industry chattel lender coming to the sales lot close to you. It isn’t happening. And if it does, keep those bottom right drawer loans denied by everyone else flowing to it quickly, as the life expectancy is about three years.

Nothing is likely to change. Partner with your local hometown bank(s), protect them, and reap the rewards that can flow from that association. Make your plans based on increasing regulations, not less. Your ability to operate easily in that regulatory environment will be the key in the future.

Finally, the hot button of this moment; titling what has historically been personal property as real estate, that is the home-only, even in land lease communities.

I first bumped into this around 2004 at a meeting of land lease residents and non-profit employees who ran the communities. This was described as the new panacea, after all, we know how secure real estate secured mortgages can be, especially with sub-prime lenders and borrowers. This change in titling protocols would fix everything for the homeowner.

Then about 5-6 years ago a law professor from the University of Minnesota contacted me to discuss the concept. She was writing a law review article on the matter, as I remember, and had liberally quoted a lot of my written work. Very complimentary. I will tell you the same thing about titling personal property homes as real estate by fiat as I told her. You can do it by law if you chose to but to what end?

Presumably, doing this well-intended move is a desire to remediate the whole purchase, default, repo resale process. That process entails two issues: first the incidence of loan defaults, or what percentage will default, and severity, or how much money will be lost on the repossession and resale of the home. With broadly expansive chattel lending, these two have plagued the industry since the very first, and by extension, plagued the homeowner.

Of course, if by fiat one can entirely change the character of an item, I am all for it. I would start by declaring Martin V. Lavin as a young, handsome, vital man instead of an old, ugly, tired man. Well, of course logic tells us that in both the home and the man, the declaration by fiat of something it isn’t is doomed to failure.

Don’t let that hold you back. Perception is reality. Remember, put a tooth under the pillow and the good fairy comes.

The refrain always is; it works in New Hampshire, why not elsewhere?

This is a refrain that can only come out of a mouth of someone who hasn’t been in a three year old home which has gone into default, the home has been owned by uncaring people, the rugs stained, the appliances and furniture taken with the former owners, and during the repo period, neighborhood kids stoned all the windows and took a dump on the floor in the bathroom. They missed the hopper.

I’ve been in those homes, often located in a community with very substantial home vacancy and the owner just loves those substantial, frequent rent increases. So why does it all work in New Hampshire and a few other states as well even without real estate titling? The key to low frequency and severity hinge, on several factors:

  • High home values in conventional housing in the area
  • A relatively tight area housing market
  • A home placed in a community with low vacancy
  • Landlords/community owners who exercise rent increase restraint or rent control
  • Low numbers, if any, of community-owned homes

New Hampshire has most of these factors. Take away the vaunted “real estate” designation and do you think the MH market in New Hampshire would noticeably change. I think not.

Alternately, go to rural Alabama or Mississippi and go into some of the typical communities there, which do not share the factors above enumerated and do you think that real estate titling will change anything? “Hot damn, my trailer just became a mansion by the new law passed,” said Johnny Hayweed. All I can say, is if passing a law which says that chattel is real estate is all that is needed to correct frequency and severity, bring it on! Do you really think that is the answer?

From the recollection I have of dealing in New Hampshire financing years ago, the process was more onerous than a simple chattel loan for whatever that means. On the positive side real estate financing brings with it a number of borrower protections that pure chattel transaction have not always enjoyed. I’m not sure that with all the Alphabet Laws plus Dodd-Frank that protections on pure chattel transactions are now lacking.

But again, it doesn’t really matter whether this move has any particular merit or not, get your throat ready for the shove-down, its coming. And who is pushing it? Why the aforementioned non-profits, especially the Ford Foundation and its many allies. You know, the people the industry has failed to engage and who are now calling the tunes. Wake me when it’s over.

For the record, I still own a manufactured home community, remain comfortably retired, but keenly interested in the manufactured housing industry. And I still get an occasional consulting and expert witness assignment. ##

(Photo Credits: Supplied by Marty Lavin)

(Editor's Note: As with all of our Industry Voices guest articles and other featured articles, the opinions expressed are those of the the writer, or in this case, of Marty Lavin, JD, who thoughtfully and candidly replied to each of our questions. A careful look at Marty Lavin's thoughts will reveal that this is not pure 'doom and gloom,' as he points out exceptions to the rules that he has witnessed. We at MHProNews.com welcome posted comments or reply columns on this article and encourage similar or differing points of view. You may submit a guest column with the usual editorial guidelines to us by email. Use the words Letter to the Editor or Industry Voices Guest Column in the subject line to: iReportMHNewsTips@MHMSM.com or latonyk@gmail.com Be sure to ask for a message confirming your submission, thank you.)

Communities Themes Point to Rebound and Revitalization

September 25th, 2012 No comments

by Richard “Dick” Jennison

richard-dick-jennison-ceo-mhi-1-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews.com-mhmarketing-sales-management-75pxl-75pxl-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-dick-jennison-ceo-mhi-1-posted-industry-voices-mhpronews.com-mhmarketing-sales-management-75pxl-75pxl-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.

What is the the future of independent Manufactured Home Communities?

October 22nd, 2011 1 comment

A question brought up by an individual at a real estate investment group meeting in  Tacoma, WA did not get answered at that time so thought I would attempt to put my perspective on it and then get feedback as to other people’s opinion.

The question:   Where do you think the MHP industry (a.k.a. Manufactured Home Park, Manufactured Home Community, Land Lease Community) is headed?

To start, I will explain some of the chatter on the internet on this subject.

Many are under the impression that within 5-7 years the MHPs will fade into history. Manufacturers are not listening to MHP Owners and are not building the types of manufactured homes needed to fill the lots available in the older MHPs.

The MH Retailers have such a high markup from the factory price that the end users cannot afford their homes.

Banks & Mortgage Companies are not interested in financing a “mobile home” that is not attached to land.

So MHP Owners have had to step in and do the financing for the individuals looking to buy. Politicians are trying to over-regulate the industry by passing new laws dealing with financing, rent control, maintenance issues. Their interference with the free market is killing the industry overall.

On paper in WA (lip service?) some politicians have made efforts to extended benefits to help Owners maintain and develop MHPs as the last form of affordable housing. Yet they did not provide funding to support their magnanimous ruling on paper.

On top of all this the taxes keep going up – calculated as a commercial operation according to the Pierce County Assessor’s Office instead of as multifamily residential. That is where it stands. In order to bring some relief to the overall picture all parties need to get together and work out a solution.

There are numerous summits and all of the above are represented, except there are no representatives from Mobile Home Park Owners that count. The ones who have 500 -1000 units are there, but they do not represent the ‘mom and pop’ MHP Owners as a whole.  Community Owners need to get their input into these meetings in some way.

Another problem that will arise is that many Owners are from out of state and depend on a mismanagement company to run their operations. They do not have an office on site – their office is 5-10 miles down the road or more. These MHPs fall into a state of disrepair and then the city officials step in and close them down.

The tax base from the personal property taxes are not very much. By closing the MHPs down, then they can build a new car dealership or motel that brings in more taxes for the city. Watch over the next 3-7 years to see how many MHPs are closed by city officials and not a developer Buyer.

As for the smaller operations – business will continue as usual. A home is abandoned – take it over, rehab it or have a Lonnie Dealer do it for you with you providing concessions for them. Sell the homes and finance it with a note. Same with those that are selling their homes: Buy it at a discount, rehab it, sell it on a note – never RENT a MH. If repo homes come available in another MHP – the Owner of that MHP should jump on the opportunity of keeping the home in their MHP. If they do not and it is available, you need to buy it, relocate it to your MHP and get it occupied.

Several of the trainers for the Washington State Mobile Home Community Owners Association have provided classes explaining to all in attendance that for each home that comes into your MHP you increase the overall value of your MHP.

For example if lot rent is $400/month and you bring in a home to fill a vacancy. The rent for one year is increased by $4800 (12 X $400). Dividing this by 0.10 (10 CAP) the value of your MHP just increased by $48,000.00. As long as you have the frame in your MHP, the mobile home can be rebuilt and your income stream will continue to flow in.

One MHP can be considered a pretty decent retirement plan. Most people who get involved in the industry are not satisfied with just one and may have more. Just be careful not to get overextended. Why?  The scuttlebutt on the internet is that the commercial loans will have the same problems as the residential loans. One cause is that loans are not being made. The financial institutions are saving their funds for when interest rates climb to 11-12%. (A rumor was started that this was supposed to happen in November 2009). The main cause will be that the banks and mortgage companies will be sticking their noses up in the air and looking down on financing or refinancing of MHPs. Many MHP Owners have 3-5-7 or 10 year balloons that will be coming due soon.

Last year at the convention I brought this up and one of the instructors stated that one of his clients was in this type of predicament. One solution is for the use of Private Money to bail out fellow MHP Owners. The elimination of the banks and mortgage companies would be a great relief to many. Yet, who has deep enough pockets to take them out of the picture?

Email me your thoughts as to where you see the MHP industry going in the future. The above is my own personal observation of where things are going.   # #

Dale Osborn
Owner of 1 MHP in CO and 2 in WA.
dale_w_osborn@msn.com

Into the Great Green North

January 25th, 2011 1 comment

A Conversation with Kathleen Maynard, CMHI

CMHI logoUnlike the manufactured housing industry in the United States, the market for manufactured homes in Canada remains rather prosperous by comparison. A Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute (CMHI) report for the 3rd quarter of 2010 shows some 3,608 factory-built single-family homes were started in the third quarter, representing a 17 percent improvement over the same period in 2009; and that factory-built units have started to improve as a share of total single- family housing starts. In raw numbers, that may not immediately impress, but consider the population variation. The population of Canada is approximately 33,700,000, compared to some 307,000,000 in the U.S.

The healthy market has attracted a number of U.S. companies to become certified to do business in Canada where communities are being updated and renovated. There are also important distinctions in the market that some credit with the success of the industry in our northern neighbor.

The third-quarter report also showed a surge in imports of manufactured buildings, and weak exports resulted in Canada registering a trade deficit of manufactured buildings, its first since the fourth quarter of 2008. The report indicates that although the U.S. still accounts for the majority of exports of manufactured buildings, demand should continue to waver as the housing market in the U.S. remains depressed.

Kathleen Maynard, Executive Director and CEO of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute, spoke with MHMSM.com about some of the differences between the market and regulatory environment in the U.S. and Canada.

A major difference, and one that has kept the market strong and attracted U.S. companies, is the fact that chattel loan financing is for the most part readily available in Canada.

Maynard explains the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation provides chattel loan insurance for manufactured homes when land is not involved.

“If you’re putting a home into a land-lease community without purchasing the land, then they provide the insurance to facilitate those sales,” Maynard says. “It’s required you need to get mortgage insurance with less than 25 percent down payment. CMHI provides that.”

A five percent down payment requirement is typical in Canada. The maximum amortization period on chattel loans is 25 years. Effective March 18, the maximum period is 30 years for other mortgage loans. Maynard says other features of the two types of loans are consistent. Default rates on chattel loans are not available.

Perhaps most notable is that Maynard says there is typically appreciation on homes purchased with chattel loans in Canada.

“There would be a comparison made of recent purchase prices of similar homes in the area, and factors such as improvements and retrofits made would be taken into account,” she says.

While manufactured homes in the United States are somewhat distinct from other forms of both factory-built and site-built housing because they follow federal manufacturing and safety standards, Maynard explains there is no equivalent to the HUD Code in Canada.

“There’s no across-the-board federal standard,” Maynard explains. “Anything produced in the factory has to meet the same requirements.” In some ways, she says, it may be easier to have factory-built housing installed in Canada. All factory-built housing must meet standards set by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA).

That’s not to say local building officials aren’t able to at times restrict the placement of manufactured housing. Local building officials do have the authority over technical requirements.

For example, Maynard says some local jurisdictions don’t approve homes built to something known as the Z240 standard, which she says is the closest thing Canada has to the HUD Code.

“If it’s just built to CSA Z240, they may not approve it,” she says, explaining that that standard has recently been updated to mirror the national building code, which is voluntarily adopted by Canada’s provinces.

Zoning issues can also prevent placement of manufactured homes in Canada, but that, she says, is largely due to issues surrounding terminology and outdated regulations. These issues are particularly acute in the province of Alberta.

This is not to suggest the grass is always greener across the northern border. The industry has had its ups and downs in recent years. Maynard says while 2008 was generally a very good year for the industry, 2009 was terrible, and while 2010 started off strong, there was a bit of a decrease in the second half.

“Most economists are projecting deceleration for 2011, but not a complete collapse or anything; just a downturn in keeping with demographic requirements,” Maynard says. “Prior to economic meltdown, we were producing at levels above what was projected by demographic requirements. Particular markets were very hot. What they’re saying now is a return to normal. 2009 was below normal. 2010 and 2011 are stabilizing.

Regionally, Maynard says Quebec and Ontario did better in 2010 than 2009 and activity in British Columbia is on the rise, but Alberta is “not as hot as it used to be.”

“There was a huge boom in Alberta and Saskatchewan in ’06, ’07 and ’08,” Maynard says. “It’s not as hot as it was, but still good there. No market is experiencing a huge boom.”

Maynard says “the landlease community option has been more attractive to first-time buyers looking for lower cost, or seniors who want to free-up equity and spend half the year in Florida. Typically the industry has looked to those consumer segments.”

While manufactured housing typically makes up ten percent of single-family housing starts in Canada, Maynard says, as for over-all starts, multi-family is accelerating faster than single-family.

“It could be due to housing costs, aging population, all sorts of things,” she says.

While the hottest industry topics in the United States seem to center around financing and regulation, the most talked about issues in Canada are an aging population and how that affects the number of sales and type of units and how design might be affected, a shortage of skilled labor and the use of social media.

“The shortage of labor is in a way a result of aging population,” Maynard says. “The average age of a brick layer is something like 68. There are a range of federal and provincial programs trying to deal with that.” For example, she says the ideas of additional apprenticeship certifications and allowing apprentices to move across provinces are being explored.

Maynard says the aging population is resulting in more multi-generational households, so demand for homes with two master suites, as an example, is on the rise.

The biggest difference, Maynard says, between the industries in Canada and the United States is the distinction made between manufactured and factory-built housing in the U.S. That distinction isn’t made in Canada and may be the reason why what is called manufactured housing doesn’t have much of a stigma across the northern border.

“There has been a lot of positive press (in Canada) with improvements in design and green technology and with manufactured housing being an environmental choice,” Maynard says. “There’s interest in the architect and design community. Developers and planners are seeing it as a good green choice.

“We talk more about factory-based construction,” she says. “That’s been a way to address the stigma. That was a concern for many years. There’s more of a recognition that with certification and quality control, waste-management and protection from the weather, the benefits are more recognized.”

President Obama’s Regulatory Executive Order Puts HUD Regulators on the Spot

January 20th, 2011 No comments

MHARR LogoAttached for your information and review is a copy of a Executive Order regarding federal regulation just issued by the White House on January 18, 2011. The Order, released in conjunction with a companion Wall Street Journal article by the President on over-regulation, marks a major policy shift by the Administration that has implications for manufactured housing as a federally-regulated industry.

In fact, it appears this Order almost could have been written with the HUD Code manufactured housing industry in mind. Its focus is on promoting the type of fair, reasonable and open regulatory environment that the HUD Code industry needs to thrive while serving consumers of affordable housing. Among other things, it states, as Administration policy, that the federal regulatory system, while protecting health and safety, must also advance “economic growth, innovation, competitiveness and job creation” through an “open exchange of information” that includes “affected stakeholders” – exactly the opposite of what is happening today in the HUD program.

Consequently, after carefully examining the Order overnight, MHARR, on January 19, 2011, acted to press HUD officials to fully comply with this Order as it relates to all aspects of the federal manufactured housing program including, most importantly, its ongoing rapid expansion of in-plant regulation. This expansion, which began innocuously as a program of “voluntary cooperation,” is now being transformed into a full-blown de facto regulation that will needlessly increase regulatory compliance costs passed to consumers by manufacturers and retailers, as the ongoing expansion now appears to target both. Details of the latest phase of this expansion, developed entirely behind closed doors, are emerging piece-by-piece, having been adopted without any official procedures.

All of this is addressed in detail in the attached copy of MHARR’s self-explanatory January 19, 2011 MHARR letter to HUD Assistant Secretary-Federal Housing Commissioner, David Stevens, a copy of which is attached for your information and review. This letter addresses the ways that the President’s January 18, 2011 Order applies to – and must alter – the practices of both the HUD regulatory program and HUD’s consumer financing programs, specifically including the FHA Title I manufactured housing program, which has been subject to severe limitations which thwart competition and market growth.

We urge you to carefully review this package, as it provides details of the latest phase of HUD’s ongoing expansion of regulation – mandatory three-day audits and costly enhanced Subpart I involvement by third-party inspectors – that are on-course to be imposed on manufacturers and retailers, because the industry establishment in Washington, D.C. refused to join forces with MHARR in order to force HUD to comply with the law by going through consensus committee and rulemaking procedures. Now, as shown by the attached letter, the industry has a major task on its hands to try to stop this.

MHARR, therefore, in an effort to curb and reverse the course of this runaway expansion of in-plant regulation, will now include and use the President’s Order and its January 19, 2011 letter to HUD in its overall ongoing activities with the 112th Congress, to demonstrate how HUD is violating the Administration’s own policy.

We will continue to keep you apprised as new developments on these issues unfold.

Danny D. Ghorbani, President
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004
Phone: 202/783-4087
Fax: 202/783-4075
Email: mharrdg@aol.com

Why is Louisville so Important?

December 14th, 2010 No comments

Until only in recent years, the heartland of America has been the center of the market for low and moderate income families who have a special fondness for manufactured housing as a viable alternative to less affordable site-built housing.

Photo from Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

From the Northern reaches of America’s breadbasket in the Dakotas, Wisconsin and Minnesota to the south-central states of Kentucky and Tennessee, with strong central Midwestern states representation by Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, manufactured housing has appealed to both urban and rural home buyers; this in spite of the many myths about wind safety aspects of factory built homes. Some of our finest retirement communities have been built around many Midwestern urban areas, such as Chicago, Detroit and Michiana. So-called modular homes built to the wide-ranging, ill-defined state codes, hasn’t had the impact here as they have in Northeastern, New England and Mid-Atlantic States.

Is it the affordability? Is it the prices? Is it the home designs? Or is it just the relative ease with which so many Mid-American families find manufactured housing a good value? I guess only an expensive survey will tell, but who cares?

Photo from Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

For many years running, the most successful of showcases for our uniquely American form of housing in mid-Western markets has been the Louisville Show. Coordinated by Showays’ Dennis Hill, it has a reputation for not only putting on a great physical display of the latest in home designs by top manufacturers, but it also provides the many attendees with a wide range of products and services that support these unique homes, ranging from the latest in home financing options and home insurance, to new innovative products for safely installing homes, accessories to supplement the homes, and the latest in insurance, wholesale and retail financing programs.

The show is popular not only with retailers and developers, but with their staffs, installers, salespersons, and suppliers. The introduction of many new innovative concepts in HUD code and Modular homes have started trends in the industry that are prevalent today. A highlight of the show is the many seminars and industry speakers bringing timely subjects to the industry.

January’s 2011 show will also offer insightful seminars that can help you grow your business or address specific needs. In addition to the many homes and booths, the conference speakers will share their decades of experience for those who attend.

  • George Allen will be presenting his “Ah Ha! Oh, No” formula for calculating the ideal pricing of homes and site for long term success.
  • Ken Rishel will be presenting a must-attend topic for many who are looking for new sources for chattel financing. He should call it, “Yes, you can!” with captive finance. But whatever the title, it is good material that every community owner needs to hear, and many retailers should listen to as well.
  • Don Westphal has become the go-to guy on the topic of Community Series Homes as well as being the stand-out man when it comes to development or redevelopment of a community.
  • Bob Stovall and L.A. ‘Tony’ Kovach of MHMSM.com fame will be presenting their marketing magic ideas for driving traffic to your retail or community locations. Check out their “Dominate Your Local Market!” presentation. I saw Tony’s talk on a similar theme in Phoenix, and gave him a 10 out of 10.
  • Finally, I will be presenting an intro on site and an off-site presentation on how you can get manufactured housing community financing or refinancing – yes, even in today’s more challenging lending environment. ‘Tony’ Kovach will act as moderator for this off-site event, with Bedford Lending being present to help with a little-known, but very valuable FHA 207m private lender loan guarantee program. Learn more or sign up for that seminar at this link. This important seminar is to be held for from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. the afternoon of Thursday Jan 13th at the nearby Louisville Crown Plaza hotel, which is adjacent to the Exposition Grounds, and is easily accessed by car or the shows’ internal transportation system.
Photo from Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

More than ever before, the MH industry needs to gather up our resources, spruce up our thinking and light up our resolve to bring new life to a waiting American public. With all our Nation’s problems associated with high unemployment and large numbers of foreclosures, manufactured housing homes look even better than before as a real, viable alternative to more expensive site-built homes. New financing programs like the FHA Title I program, existing programs like the FHA 207m community financing program, and green home building options being offered by some manufacturers are concrete proof of our commitment to the general public in bringing safe, affordable, functional housing to Americans. There is an energy and opportunities aplenty to learn at a manufactured housing show that you simply can’t get any other way.

And it will all start in 2011 with the Louisville Show. I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there too!

Editor’s Note: Photos of the 2006 Louisville Show by Edward ‘Eddie’ Hicks

##

By Eddie Hicks
Consultants Resource Group
Lic. RE Broker, Lic. Mortgage Broker
(813) 661-5901 Office
(888) 264-6472 Toll Free
www.mobilehomepark.com/
www.factorybuilthome.com/
www.Interlokhome.com/

FHA207(m) Loans for M/H Land Lease Communities Seminar

Why Go to the Louisville MH Show?

December 8th, 2010 1 comment

As a 39 year industry veteran, I have always been a sucker for industry shows. I hear arguments that with the industry shipments down that we should cancel the shows and focus on survival. While I have significant experience focusing on survival, I believe industry shows are a way to send the message out that we will not be beaten down.

My career in the industry began in Georgia in 1971 where I remained until moving to Texas in 1983, followed by a move to Oklahoma in 1988. For many of those years in Georgia, a high point of the year was making the journey to Louisville, in horrible January weather, to go to the Louisville Show. Why was that trip important to me despite the cold weather and taking time away from my own business? The opportunity to see new innovations as they were being introduced, instead of months later; the chance to visit with industry friends that have come in from vast distances across the country; the potential of finding a new product line before my competitor saw it, and the benefit of being able to learn and grow at the industry seminars that were always a part of the event.

My last trip to Louisville was in January 2008, which happened to be the 50th anniversary for the show. I can again say that I enjoyed the trip and even picked up a new product line while I was there. I can’t say that for absolutely sure I will make it to the 2011 Louisville show. I can confirm that I will do my best to do so.

I have had the pleasure of serving as chairman of The Great Southwest Home Show for the third year running. Like Louisville, The Great Southwest Home Show is held in an indoor facility (The Quick Trip Center). No rain problems during set-up, show days or tear-down. No generator rentals or air conditioning expenses for the manufacturer exhibitors. The Tulsa show is located at almost the geographic center of the United States and is serviced by several major airlines including Southwest. The 10.5 acre Quick Trip Center is also configured in such a manner to provide adequate security to allow for several days of Public Days following the retail period of the show. Supplier exhibit booths are conveniently located in and amongst the area where the homes are displayed.

Retailers, especially in the states contiguous to Oklahoma should not miss the opportunity to travel a very short distance to experience the thrill of seeing a huge display of exciting homes all located under one roof at one time. The educational seminars are a bonus. A bonus we got as an industry last year was that HUD brought its staff to Tulsa and held the meeting of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) in Tulsa in conjunction with The Great Southwest Home Show and Oklahoma’s state convention for the Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO). The show and convention were enthusiastically received by both HUD staff and by MHCC members and the newly appointed Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary of HUD, Teresa Payne was the keynote speaker at the MHAO convention. The opening remarks by Teresa Payne at the next MHCC meeting held in Washington DC were to express thanks for having had the opportunity to hold the meetings in conjunction with the industry events in Oklahoma.

I believe we should support all of the industry shows that we can possibly attend. In addition to attending The Great Southwest Home Show last year, I took the time and the travel requirements to attend the Tunica Show and I enjoyed every minute of it. I will do my best to do so again in 2011, just as I said I would for Louisville. As industry members, I believe we should support and attend all the shows that are within reasonable travel access.

##

Doug Gorman, President, Home-Mart, Inc.
Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee Member (MHCC)
Manufactured Housing Education Institute (MHEI) board member and past chairman
Manufactured Housing Association of Oklahoma (MHAO) board member and past president
Award-winning retailer in Tulsa, OK

Going to the 2011 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

December 5th, 2010 1 comment

It’s great news that the Louisville Show is returning in 2011. It demonstrates that producers of factory built homes and services are positive about the future of our industry. It would be so easy not to be positive. We seem to find new impediments affecting our business every day. However, leaders are able to see further down the road. The bad laws will either be amended somewhat, or the industry will adapt. For those of you around in 1974, that was supposed to be the end of the industry because the federal government was taking over the supervision of the industry’s building code. We’ve had many such declarations of doom since the beginning of our industry. Some people just don’t believe it and figure out a way to proceed. When the Louisville Show didn’t go forward earlier this year, most people didn’t figure it would ever return. They were wrong. Thanks to forward thinking, it is back!

Let’s think about how remarkable this quick comeback really is. Many producers have found it easier and less costly just to have a show for their own retailers at company-owned factories. In that fashion, you don’t have your retailers looking over other homes at a larger setting like the Louisville MH Show. Business is difficult now. If you have a strong retailer, it might be easier to use this method, hoping the retailer won’t go to anyone else’s show.

But, on the other hand, if you’re part of a large show, then you might attract other retailers. As a company, you need to have confidence in your product. What better way to find out if your new model works than to show it off to as many retailers as possible.

In addition to the industry confidence displayed by this decision of bringing the show back, there are other benefits in having the show. For retailers and community owners, having a show of this magnitude is an excellent opportunity to visit with a large number of industry personnel and experts. Studies have shown that much of our learning experience comes from incidental learning. Going to a show, like the Louisville MH Show, gives one plenty of exposure to having informal conversations with other attendees and with experts on a wide array of topics. Formal learning is also important. The 2011 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show will have seminars on topics important to all segments of the industry.

Finally, there is just something special in being part of a large scene like the Louisville Show. When you get that many people together, there is an energy created that can’t be replicated at your office or factory. That’s why most executive directors enjoy our annual meetings. Sure, we find plenty of things to worry about: will that speaker I hired really do a good job… will the food be o.k., etc.?

What we enjoy is seeing our members come together, get excited about things, and create an energy that can propel some advancements.

That’s what the Louisville Show is all about. Even though Iowa is not a cosponsoring state, many Iowa retailers buy homes from producers who will be showing homes, products and services in Louisville. I know that Iowa retailers, as well as retailers and community owners and all industry personnel from throughout the trade area of the show, will be looking forward to attending the show in January.

Congratulations are in order for those who have brought this great show back into existence! Now it’s our turn to demonstrate the same confidence in the industry by attending and engaging ourselves in the 2011 Louisville Show, January 12-14th.

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Joe Kelly
Executive Vice President of the Iowa Manufactured Housing Association (IMHA), a 63-year-old trade association located in Des Moines, Iowa.