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Posts Tagged ‘MHProNews’

Letter to the Princeton University WordNet Team about Manufactured Homes

April 10th, 2013 1 comment

(Editor's Note: This letter is reprinted with permission, and was sent in response to this blog post.)

Word Net Team,

Along with others involved in the manufactured housing industry, I have noticed that an incorrect definition for the term “manufactured home” has been published on the Internet and that the definition originated with your group.

Official, legal, definitions are available on many state and national government websites and I request that you update your own definition using one of these.  Most of these definitions established by Congress or the various state legislatures are similar to one another but if you need to combine some verbiage to accurately inform a national audience I’m sure you will be able to produce such a definition.  I encourage you to take action on this simple “fix” as soon as possible to avoid creating further confusion and misinformation among consumers on the most affordable and tightly regulated housing option in America.

Thank you,

Jody Anderson
President, Timberland Mobile Housing, LLC
1600 N. Timberland Drive
Lufkin, Texas  75901
936-632-4481

(Editor's Note: The email address for the WordNet team is: wordnet@princeton.edu  please consider sending them a message of your own, or use a variation on the one Jody Anderson sent above or that Tony Kovach sent linked again here.)

The 2013 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show was Fantastic!

March 31st, 2013 No comments

What a fantastic turnout for the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show! The optimism of lenders, manufacturers, suppliers, community managers, retailers and association leaders was evident. There was much “buzz” over new innovations in the homes AND the participation of a couple of new retail and wholesale lenders.

I was very impressed by the attendance at the seminars. I overheard a couple of gentlemen discussing how they had been to all of the seminars and gained valuable and useful information that would benefit their respective businesses.

It also seems that manufactured home community management involvement has increased since last year’s show – wonderful news!!!

As the economy continues to slowly recover, consumers will become more aware of the affordable housing options. This shift will help every facet of the industry. More importantly – it will increase consumer awareness and (hopefully) education about the product.

I had the privilege of discussing my dissertation topic with a few fellow Tunica Show attendees. The commonality between the conversations was the need to improve the perception of manufactured housing to accurately reflect the high quality and extreme value the product offers.

Everyone seemed to agree that the biggest challenge was changing the way the general public viewed manufactured homes. While there is no magic cure that will solve issues, having conversations about benefits and challenges can lead to grassroots efforts that spur change. Movement of any kind in the right direction will have a positive impact. After all, our current President achieved his first election through grassroots movements and social media. If seemingly small changes can result in a sea-change of that magnitude, imagine what similar grass roots forward momentum in the manufactured housing industry can do…

One thing I like about the Tunica Show is that you never know who you will run into! I was able to meet “Uncle” Si Robertson from the hit show Duck Dynasty as he was touring the CMH displays. Later that evening (thanks to the awesome folks at CMH), I was able to meet Phil and Miss Kay Robertson AND listen to Phil’s testimony at the CMH Award Banquet & Celebration.

Phil shared that he had toured a manufacturing facility and witnessed outstanding work ethic. Not only did he recognize the value of the product, he appreciated the hard work of every person in the industry.

Talk about a great opportunity to change the consumer perception of manufactured housing! The stars of the most popular television show recognize, understand, and appreciate the product – how about THAT for validation and perception change!

There are lots of positive things happening in the manufactured housing industry. Whether in the developmental phases or getting ready for implementation, there are abundant opportunities for involvement and participation. ##

Lisa Tyler
Walden University
(Editor's Note: Lisa Tyler is a veteran of manufactured housing retail and is currently doing her dissertation en route to her PhD on a topic focused on Manufactured Housing)

(Photo credit: Lisa Tyler (right) with Uncle Si Robertson – left – from Duck Dynasty)

Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee 2012 Meeting Report

November 9th, 2012 No comments

The MHCC Holds First Meeting in 2012

Lois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory AffairsThe Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) held its first and only meeting of 2012 on October 22nd – 25th to consider a number of recommendations for changes to the Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Program. HUD intended to have two meetings in 2012 but problems with the approval of a new contract for the Administering Organization, the National Fire Protection Association, resulted in a hastily arranged fall meeting in Arlington, VA. All but three of the 21 members were in attendance. Representatives from HUD included the Deputy Administrator of the HUD Manufactured Housing Program, the HUD engineering staff, and a representative from HUD’s office of General Council.

MHI was surprised and disappointed that higher ranking officials who oversee the program from the Department’s Office of Regulatory Affairs were not in attendance at any time during the meeting.

The Committee worked over two days to conclude work on all outstanding items before the Committee and to consider several new issues. This is despite the frustration voiced by MHCC members and MHI over HUD’s failure to implement dozens of recommendations of the MHCC over the last four years or more.

Highlights of the Committee Recommendations

Southern Yellow Pine Design Standards – By a 15-2 vote, the MHCC recommended that HUD delay implementation of the National Design Specification (NDS) for Wood for 2×2 and 2×4 southern pine lumber, effective January 1, 2013, until such time that it presents the MHCC with a proposal for changes to the existing standards as required by law, or until such time that HUD issues an emergency rule under Section 604(b)(5) of the Manufactured Housing Improvements Act of 2000. This is consistent with MHI’s petition to HUD earlier this year, and with MHI’s testimony before the committee.

Hinged Roof Assemblies – The MHCC voted 15-2 to recommend that HUD withdraw requirements for Alternative Construction Letters for certain types of hinged roofs designed for Wind Zone I until HUD clarifies current regulations regarding the on-site installation of hinged roof assemblies known as “double hinged” and “ridge box or peak cap” assemblies. The industry argued that such hinged roof assemblies do not need AC letters because they are constructed in the factory and are part of the “close–up” requirements under the installation standards, 3285,801(f). Members argued that methods for completing the installation of such homes are much less complicated than many multi-section home “close-ups.” These types of assemblies are common practice in the industry, and installers are trained and certified to complete these types of installations.

Wind Design Standards – The MHCC voted 17-0 to recommend that the reference standards of the American Society of Engineers (ASCE 7) wind design standards be updated to the 2005 version from the 1995 version, and the existing wind speed design requirements in the HUD Code be adjusted accordingly. However, the committee did not recommend any code changes regarding design requirements for wind pressure. It voted to maintain the current three wind zones as opposed to four. The new wind safety recommendations are the result of many hours of work by an industry led task force that included HUD and members of the ASCE-7 committee, who concluded that any new requirements beyond what the MHCC recommended would not be cost beneficial.

Indoor Air Quality – The MHCC concluded action on pending recommendations debated over the last four years, to improve ventilation and indoor quality in manufactured homes. In a unanimous vote, the MHCC recommended that the HUD Code provide for the voluntary use of ASHRAE 62.2, Ventilation and Acceptable Indoor Air Quality in Low-Rise Residential Buildings. In a change supported by MHI, the Committee voted to amend existing regulations to provide more flexibility in the types and size of ventilation systems that may be utilized to ensure adequate ventilation. (In a related issue, see information below on the GAO report).

Other MHCC Actions

In other actions, the Committee added new testing and certification requirements for certain types of vinyl siding; provided a new reference standard for Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF); updated and clarified language regarding construction methods; tabled a proposal regarding alternative foundation designs; rejected a site drainage proposal; rejected updated testing and certification requirements for windows and sliding doors; and referred new issues to MHCC subcommittees regarding water heaters.

Highlights of HUD (Designated Federal Officer) Report and Comments to MHCC

Status of MHCC recommendations pending at HUD

• Final Rules for the proposed 2nd set of updates to the standards, changes to roof truss testing, and changes to 3282, Subpart I, are in Departmental Clearance.

• A final rule for On-Site Completion of Construction is still being developed by HUD staff.

• HUD is still working to develop a proposed rule on a proposal developed by MHI regarding ground anchor testing. HUD is also working on changes to the regulations regarding Primary Inspection Agencies.

MHCC recommendations need a cost benefit analysis

HUD's Designated Federal Officer (DFO), Henry Czauski, reported that the MHCC/DFO must present to the committee its recommendations with an economic cost/benefit analysis. The recommendations must be in a format consistent with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA) regarding proposed rules and should include a preamble.

Manufacturers need to adhere to regulations regarding Alternative Construction

During discussion of hinged roof designs and Alternative Construction (AC) letters Mr. Czauski noted that there have been numerous instances where manufacturers are not following the regulations under 3282.14 regarding Alternative Construction. If the industry members demand a timely response it is imperative that complete information is provided and regulations regarding inspections, labeling and reporting be followed.

DOE has not communicated on energy efficiency proposals

In response to a question by a committee member, HUD reported that it has had no recent conversations with the Department of Energy regarding energy efficiency standards, although the law requires it, and a recent Congressional directive, sought by MHI, directs DOE to also consult with the MHCC.

Highlights of MHI’s Public Remarks to MHCC

MHI staff provided the following public testimony during each of the three public comment periods:

• Recommended that the MHCC consider HUD’s inappropriate action regarding enforcement of the new design standards for southern pine lumber.

• Urged the committee to review and comment, if necessary, on the recent and pending changes to the NDS standard for southern pine lumber.

• Recommended that the MHCC review HUD’s guidelines for quality assurance under the procedural and enforcement regulations and codify the guidelines.

• Expressed concern about lack of transparency and timely action by HUD and the MHCC on MHCC recommendations.

• Thanked HUD for recent actions regarding preemption and the City of Richland, Mississippi.

• Announced that MHI is working on an industry-based energy efficiency standard and hopes to bring it before the MHCC early in 2013.

GAO Report Published on Indoor Air Quality to Coincide with MHCC Meeting

Coincidently, related to MHCC’s recommendation on indoor air quality, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled “Manufactured Housing Standards – Testing and Performance Evaluation Could Better Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality” (available at www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-52.) The report was requested by several members of Congress last year to examine indoor air quality standards for manufactured housing.

The report's key findings conclude that some provisions of the HUD Code provide a lower margin of safety against a carbon monoxide exposure incident than those for site-built homes. The report concluded that the primary reason for the differences in ventilation standards for manufactured homes and site-built homes is that the HUD Code has not been updated and has not kept pace with standards tied to ventilation and air quality for site-built homes. This is despite recommendations by the MHCC in 2009 and 2010 to update various ventilation standards and carbon monoxide requirements. The GAO report is consistent with MHI’s position that the HUD Code, to remain viable, must be updated.  

Lois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory AffairsLois Starkey, Vice President, Regulatory Affairs, Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

Emily Goode vs City of Richland, Mississippi

October 12th, 2012 No comments

jennifer-hall-mississippi-manufactured-housing-association-executive-director-posted-mhpronews.com-75x75pxl-The Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA) was very encouraged when HUD sent the City of Richland a letter regarding their requirement to home owners to update their manufactured homes to the current HUD code standard. MMHA had requested such letter in April of 2012 and received a response in August of 2012. Below is a summary of the case.

Mrs. Goode owns a 1984 HUD Code certified manufactured home located in the city of Richland, MS. In late September of 2010, she contacted the city to have her water turned off because she would not be staying at her home for some time due to family and work related issues, and did not want to risk her water pipes rupturing due to freezing weather while she was gone.

While Goode was gone, her utilities remained connected and she continued to receive mail to her home. She would periodically check on her home since all of her belongs were still located in her home.

In March of 2011, Mrs. Goode contacted the City to have her water reconnected, but the City informed her that her water would not be reconnected because the City claimed that the property had been abandoned for over 90 days in violation of the City Ordinance 2007-1 and had not been maintained according to the standards set forth in this Ordinance. She tried several attempts in vain to explain her situation to the City. The new Ordinance required that the home had to be updated to current HUD standards. On August 17, 2011, the Richland Municipal Court found Mrs. Goode guilty of violating City Ordinance 2007-1. Her attorney, Robin Hood, contacted MMHA for assistance.

The MMHA Board decided to have our attorney assist with this case. Mrs. Goode then asked MMHA to assist her in appealing her case to Rankin County Court.

The appeal was heard in County Court on April 9, 2012. During the trial it became apparent that the City was attempting to use City Ordinance 2007-1 to require Goode to maintain her 1984 manufactured home according to the most current version of the HUD Code. We were able to get Mrs. Goode’s case dismissed because of the evidence that the city attempted to use to show that Goode’s home had not been maintained in accordance with the current HUD Code was not obtained by the City until after the June 6, 2011 issuance to the citation summons charging Goode with violating the ordinance 2007-1.

The court entered an order dismissing the City’s case against Goode on May 2, 2012. On April 17, 2012 we petitioned HUD to write a letter to the City regarding their ordinance requiring homeowners that their manufactured homes had to be updated to the current HUD standard. After the trail, we learned that the City had adopted yet another manufactured housing ordinance which requires an inspection of a long list of items for manufactured homes to be located or relocated within the city.

When we received the copy of HUD’s letter to the City of Richland, we met with their attorneys to discuss the matter further. We reviewed the inspection list and discussed which items on the list applied to Mrs. Goode’s case. The City of Richland replied back to HUD that they would comply with HUD’s letter.

After months of going through this legal maze, on October 4, 2012, MMHA assisted Mrs. Goode in obtaining the appropriate permits to begin the process of getting her home prepared for her to move back into. MMHA will be present when the city inspector inspects Mrs. Goode’s home to make sure only the items pertaining to Mrs. Goode are inspected. Hopefully the next report will be that Mrs. Goode is living “happily ever after” in her manufactured home. ##

HUD Letter on Preemption in Response to Richland, MS Zoning issue, August 2012.

jennifer-hall-mississippi-manufactured-housing-association-executive-director-posted-mhpronews.com-75x75pxl-Jennifer Hall
Executive Director
MMHA

MHARR Presidential Initiative – Status Report

September 28th, 2012 No comments

by Danny D. Ghorbani

As announced last week, MHARR, on September 18, 2012, sent an identical package to both President Obama and Governor Romney.The Association’s communication appealed to them to help revitalize the manufactured housing industry by eliminating discriminatory federal policies and incorporating affordable manufactured housing as a core component of the nation’s housing opportunity and home financing programs, with the objective of challenging the next administration to elevate the status of manufactured housing to that of a co-equal with all other segments of the housing industry.

These communications, which dovetail with ongoing efforts in the U.S. Congress, represent the initial phase of a broader presidential initiative discussed at the MHARR 2012 Spring Meeting.They express in broad terms the prime policy agenda that the Association will pursue to advance the cause of manufactured housing and its consumers in the nation’s capital after the November 2012 election, regardless of which candidate is ultimately elected president.

In order to achieve maximum national exposure for this initiative, MHARR contracted for national distribution of these materials, and the initial response has been quite gratifying.Within the first week after this effort was launched, it had been picked-up by more than 1,000 sources across the United States and was also the subject of several independent news stories.

Furthermore, the success of this effort in generating national interest in the future wellbeing of the manufactured housing industry and its consumers, and the availability of manufactured housing as a resource for affordable home ownership, has been reflected in the number of calls and inquiries that MHARR has received regarding this matter – all of which are being addressed, as appropriate, by MHARR.

With this initiative now successfully launched, the MHARR Board will be in a position to further address the elements of this national policy agenda at its November 2012 meeting, by which time one of these candidates will have been elected the next President of the United States.

This activity also interacts with the launch of a parallel MHARR legal initiative onSeptember 25, 2012,details of which will be provided to you next week.

MHARR Appeals to Obama And Romney For Action

Danny Ghorbani, President, Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

Free Market vs. Big Government

September 26th, 2012 64 comments

by Pat Curran

Nothing says it all, but this says a lot. Manufactured housing pros, take notice.

free-market-vs-big-government-posted on MHProNews

So who makes the most sense for the next 4 years? ##

pc-pat-curran-precision-financial-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management-mhpronews.com-75x75pxlPat Curran

Precision Financial

pat@precisionfinancial.net

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.

Housing Starts Climbing – Now is the Time to Begin Major Marketing Efforts

September 24th, 2012 No comments

gary-fleisher-modular-home-coach-posted-mhpronews.com-industry-voices-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management- (1)Reports coming out of Washington state that housing is beginning actually see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a another train headed our way.

If you are a new home builder or factory owner/management, now is the time to implement that Marketing Plan so that Spring 2013 will see more orders. Marketing first…Sales next.  Without a marketing strategy your sales will probably be no better than they are right now.

good-news-every-one-posted-in-mhpronews

New-home construction in the U.S. probably rose in August to the highest level in almost four years, showing residential real estate is sustaining a recovery even as the broader economy sputters, economists said before a report today.

Builders broke ground on homes at the annual rate of 767,000, up from 746,000 in July and the most since October 2008, according to the median estimate of 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Another report may show sales of existing homes advanced for a second month.

We expect housing to be a bright spot,” said Yelena Shulyatyeva, a U.S.economist at BNP Paribas in New York. Nonetheless, “there’s still foreclosures, there’s still delinquencies, people are still cutting on mortgage debt.” ##

gary-fleisher-modular-home-coach-posted-mhpronews.com-industry-voices-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management- (1)Post submitted by
Gary Fleisher
Modular Home Coach
modcoach@gmail.com

No God, Jerusalem or Manufactured Housing?

September 16th, 2012 14 comments

by Michael Barnabas

You don't have to be Jewish to feel deep concern about what took place at the Democratic National Convention (DNC). Responding to political pressure to put the word "God" back in their platform as well as to once again name Jerusalem as Israel's national capital, DNC delegates where asked to pass the motion by a 2/3 vote. The video I've asked to be posted below tells the tale. For those who question the commitment by Democrats to fair elections, please watch this CSPAN video and share it with others.

Once you've watched this objectively, everything else is spin and commentary.

Among the emails that come into me are from a White House 'group.' Some months back, there was an outreach by that White House group to the business community. The president, it was said, wants to help ease burdensome regulations, to make it easier on small businesses.

Excuse me?

How can we take such an election year outreach to small businesses seriously, by those who executed Dodd-Frank and ObamaCare?

Talk to an independent manufactured home builder. Ask them, with consumer complaints at new lows, why is HUD pushing more and more 'voluntary' – and other – regulations? Why don't we have the Duty to Serve implemented by the GSEs/FHFA?

The energy sector creates demand for factory-built housing, in places such as North Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and other states. The current administration's policies, up until election year, were favoring gas prices of $8 to $9 a gallon for gas, as this video clip of testimony by Energy Secretary Steven Chu demonstrates.

While this next video clip has been pieced together, it reflects in President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's own words, a path designed to foil coal fired energy production in the United States.

Without belaboring the point, some believe that anti-domestic energy policies such as these were a path to promote green energy by making conventional domestic energy sources harder to come by. Such policies directly harm domestic energy firms. But they indirectly harm our industry, which often provides housing for those workers, especially when they are in areas with high demand for housing.

We scarcely hear about enhanced pre-emption for HUD Code Homes these days. Why not? Wasn't it part of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000?

Community operators created some 10 billion worth of paper to finance manufactured homes in their land lease locations. This was a free enterprise solution designed to fill the gaps created when lenders who vaporized – such as Conseco – went good-bye. But SAFE, Dodd-Frank and a plethora of other laws and regulations have so squeezed this 'captive finance' free enterprise solution in MHCs, that now community owner/operators are turning to rental homes in their properties instead.

Rentals?

Rentals in once all owner occupied communities?! The entire business model of community operators is being changed by the Regulators and their political allies who passed and fund those regulations. Shame on us if we let the party of Regulation be rewarded.

I'm appalled that some still want to believe in "hope and change," when we are heading "forward" towards a new fiscal cliff and a new recession in 2013. Some commentators already believe we are already back in recession.

How could we move "forward" by following the advice of those who gladly took Fannie and Freddie's PAC money? Politicians such as Congressman Barney Frank and then Senator Barack Obama? ACORN, community organizer Barack Obama and the Clinton Administration worked together to force lenders to issue loans to those who were not credit qualified. No doubt there were Republicans who colluded. Shame on all involved.

But it is gutless by Republicans to let the Democrats dish it out and not respond to such fables, blaming Bush II for the mortgage/housing meltdown when Democrats had a firm hand in the cookie jar that caused that whole fiasco.

They should call it the mortgage/financial services industry's version of Russian roulette.

When government interferes so massively in the free market, of course there will be unintended consequences.

But to falsely blame supply side economics for the mortgage/housing collapse is a creative lie or brutal ignorance. Neither the option of lie or ignorance are worthy of credence or support.

We don't hear much in Manufactured housing circles about how the run-up to the mortgage meltdown harmed our Industry. But it did! Easy qualifying, liar loans and the like created a false opportunity for hundreds of thousands of conventional housing buyers. A percentage of those buyers were or normally would have been manufactured home owners. As some manufactured home lenders about those owners who walked away from their HUD Code homes to get conventional houses during the run up to the mortgage/housing bust.

That put pressure on MH lenders and the MH market in general. As MHs where being left behind, of course values dropped, just as they have more recently in conventional housing neighborhoods plagued by foreclosures.

So federal policy harmed our industry in the early 00s, as thousands of our home owners left what become over-leveraged HUDs for what turned out to be over-leveraged conventional houses.

You can thank those politicians who made that happen to us then and more recently.

But let's not thank them by rewarding them with our support or our votes. That is like rewarding the thief by putting him in charge of law enforcement.

When politicians plunder the public treasury to fund with borrowed and tax payer money programs contrary to the Constitution and the public interest, it is time to end such madness.

Research I've seen indicates that some 44-47% of voters will vote for President Obama no matter what he says or does. That means the rest of us who are capable of a critical analysis and independent thought better show up at the polls and cast ballots wisely.

While applauding columns like the one on Voter Fraud, I was frankly disappointed when MHProNews published an interview with Congressman Joe Donnelly. Donnelly may be a co-sponsor of HR 3849, but he also voted for HERA 2008, which gave us the SAFE Act. Donnelly voted for Dodd-Frank. So while I understand the desire for 'balance,' I question the timing or "political correctness" of publishing the Donnelly interview during campaign season.

What we need when the industry is already in the lifeboats and are looking at possible new waves looming on the horizon is enhanced clarity, not confusion.

When even Time Magazine, Newsweek and the New York Times Magazine are publishing stories and OpEds that call into question or openly attack the Obama Presidency, MH trade publications need to be coming out loud, clear and strongly in favor of less government, lower taxes/regulations, a sane pro-domestic energy program and more free enterprise leadership.

The first pair of drafts of this article I was asked to edit and tone down. So this is the toned down version. I was also told that the editor would add a disclaimer and an invitation for responses. So be it.

Back to the top. Sham votes matter. They speak volumes.

Election year political posturing, via asking independent business owners and executives how to reduce the burdens or regulations matters too. It is the age old trick of seduction at work. We are being divided and conquered.

We are watching borrowed money and our tax dollars being turned against us to destroy the greatest economic system and the most free society in world history.

9/11 and U.S. Embassies ablaze reminds us why Jerusalem and God matters to America, and why that Democratic sham of a platform vote matters.

Manufactured housing matters too. President Obama stood in Elkhart, IN – an area where so many manufactured housing plants and suppliers are – talking jobs. Are there connections between all that is being covered in this column? Yes. They are just different corners of the same bolt of American political cloth.

If we sweep the current left wing crop of Democrats and RINO Republicans aside in favor of more free market oriented leaders, manufactured housing can blossom and grow again. All we need is a level playing field.

Some speculate that Ben Bernanke may have decided on QE3 – de facto printing money – to boost stock prices short term to help Team Obama win re-election. Whatever his motivation, the credit down grade cited below reminds us that the Bernanke/FED/QE3 policy is misguided. It will harm the middle class and seniors. Economic history reminds us that you earn, not print, your way to success.

“Ratings firm Egan-Jones cut its credit rating on the U.S. government to "AA-"

from "AA," citing its opinion that quantitative easing from the

Federal Reserve would hurt the

U.S. economy and the country's credit quality.” – CNBC

If we have supply-side Republicans in charge of the House and Senate, but fail to sweep out Architect Obama – the leader of our changed and hopeless society – we have not done enough.

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

― Theodore Roosevelt

26th President of the United States

For anyone who votes to re-elect the man who wants to move us 'forward' off the looming fiscal cliff, such a person could qualify as unpatriotic by Roosevelt's definition.

Don't let that happen. Half measures won't be enough. ##

(Editor's Note: All Industry Voices and other opinion columns, including the Masthead blog, et al, represent the views of those who write them. They do not necessarily represent the views of MHProNews.com or our sponsors. It has been our long standing policy to invite guest columns from people with opposing perspectives. You can send your own letter to the editor or OpEd column on a subject connected to factory built housing to the email address linked here, with Industry Voices in the subject line. Thank you.)

Post submitted by
Michael Barnabas

Poverty of the Modular Home Builder

September 4th, 2012 No comments

gary-fleisher-modular-home-coach-posted-mhpronews.com-industry-voices-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management- (1)When we think of poverty, we think homelessness, food banks and welfare.

Chronic poverty was once compared to catching a grasshopper in a jar when we were kids.The jar had a lid with holes poked in it.For a while the grasshopper jumped up and kept hitting his head against the lid.Then he would only jump high enough to try to cling to the glass and finally he would just stay on the bottom of the jar and gave up all hope of getting out.

A lot of modular home builders feel that way about selling homes in this tough market.They have been trying to get out of that jar since the housing crisis hit and now that the lid has been removed they simply don’t have the strength or the knowledge to jump back into profitability.

Poverty by definition is a“deficiency in amount.”Modular home builders sure fit the criteria.So what are these deficiencies that face modular builders?

Marketing poverty.This is a problem because most builders have neither the resources nor the training to mount an effective marketing program.Modular home factories sales reps have not been taught how to help builders get the message out to the home buying public and the factories themselves don’t market their product.A page on Facebook and a good website are just the tip of the iceberg.What is needed to fight the poverty of marketing is someone; either a modular factory group or an individual; to step up and begin developing individual marketing plans for modular home builders.

Knowledge poverty.How many builders effectively communicate the advantages offered by a home buyer choosing a modular home?Surprisingly few!Many builders have limited knowledge of the green, sustainable or energy conservation methods used by the modular housing industry.The sales reps are supposed to be knowledgeable about these things but they are also facing the same poverty of knowledge.This is an area that needs to be given special attention by the factory.There are only a handful of factories that hold builder meetings or offer training directly associated with these topics.Take a look at your jobsite… do you have a sign on it with all your contact info and your website and email address?

Language poverty.There are thousands of books and articles written about how to sell new homes, get referrals and retain customers.What is missing from most of these articles is that an average new home builder only uses 400-600 words when they try to sell their homes.The builder has become very succinct in the selling phase of the process. They have developed canned speeches that are used in just about every sales presentation.Unfortunately, buyers have been reading everything they can about new building techniques, architecture and sustainability and want a longer, more in-depth conversations with the builder.The solution is easy.Read a book a week and an article a day about the building industry.Learn the language of the buyer.

Financing poverty.This is first year of fairly decent new home sales since the housing crisis started and a majority of modular home builders are still not part of their buyer’s mortgage adventure.Builders still think that after they give the buyer their house quote, the buyer is somehow inherently knowledgeable enough to go forth and acquire one. Fat chance! Builders not only have to know how to build a modular home, they have to become a partner with the buyer throughout the mortgage process. In order to do that, a builder must learn what the buyer will be going through when they apply and help them over the pitfalls and speed bumps imposed on buyers today. This is as easy as sitting down with a couple of lenders and asking what they need from the builder and how best to help the buyer. How many builders still view the lender as a necessary evil instead of a necessary partner?

Stop being the grasshopper on the bottom of the jar and begin taking marketing seriously.Then learn what your factory is doing to improve the buyer’s lifestyle and actually talk to them as an expert in modular housing.Then work with the buyer and their lender closely to make the buyer’s dream into a reality which will keep you and your family out of real poverty.

gary-fleisher-modular-home-coach-posted-mhpronews.com-industry-voices-manufactured-home-marketing-sales-management- (1)Post submitted by
Gary Fleisher
Modular Home Coach

modcoach@gmail.com