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Posts Tagged ‘Modular Lifestyles’

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.

What is it that we Manufactured Housing Professionals want?

September 3rd, 2014 No comments

The industry's politics are what they are. When you get past the politics, what we find is a broad consensus. I do not think that should come as a surprise to anyone! What is it that we manufactured housing professionals want? We want to make a good living, to provide a product/service that is appreciated by our customers and to be respected in the community.

If you took the words 'manufactured housing' out of our discussions, think about the fact that we sell homes for less than conventional builders can. Doesn't that suggest we ought to be able to outsell them? If they are going to do 1 million new single and multi-family starts this year, and we can offer home and site for lower cost monthly, shouldn't we be able to outsell them?

I'm looking at the manufactured housing professional's calendar for 2014. Two industry events were well promoted. Both of those grew in attendance. Two industry events that are coming up have had limited promotion. Word has it those two will be declining a bit or maybe roughly the same. Isn't that a reflection of MH in a microcosm?

Steve Lefler and Modular Lifestyles is doing something different, they are promoting it. And guess what; they are getting results with an upscale product in land lease communities that may have lots of older units in them.

Scott Roberts has invested in improving a once failed location in TX, Brian Fannon is doing the same in MI. Scott's community improvement plan has been around long enough for both he and his customers to see the good results.

Bob Vasholtz puts a finger on one issue in his Dueling Factions. Some individuals are more interested in getting credit than they are in advancing the actual solutions. It is in the solutions where we should all be sharing in the glory and the profits.

We obviously have to invest in our own businesses and locations. Beyond that, as an industry we are very small in size compared to the rest of the housing industry. I believe it would be wise for us to spend more time thinking about ways that we can team up with others via our state associations and move the ball ahead in our individual markets.

My apologies to those who have called or emailed about my previously advanced idea for a collaborative 'solutions' and 'business development' style meeting. It was well received, Tony Kovach tells me it was widely read and some large players raised their hands privately to say we should do this. Perhaps we can organize that event to take place the day before the Louisville Show. That would provide for a one low cost trip to an already well attended meeting. A trans-corporate, trans-associational meeting designed to drive more business and get to the heart of the issues that are holding us back.

In years gone by, I was a leader in some large organizations; these days I'm a modest sized independent that continues to grow. My point is that I can relate to those who are big, small or in between. Let's forget the finger pointing, let's move past the chains that hold us back. In a trillion dollar per year housing market, we can and should do better than we are today.

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution. ##

By Rick Rand, president of Great Value Homes, has been and still is actively involved in small and large scale MHC operations. You can contact him at:

rick-rand-great-value-homes-manufactured-home-pro-news-industry-voices-guest-blog-Richard J. Rand, President,
Great Value Homes, Inc..
9458 N. Fairway Drive,
Milwaukee, WI 53217-1321,

414-352-3855
414-352-3631(fax)
414-870-9000(cell),
RickRand@gvhinc.net

(Editor's Note: While Rick Rand is on the WHA board and serves as MHI PAC Chairman, he is sharing his own opinions, which may or may not reflect that of any given association. Other perspectives are welcome, send letters to the editor or OpEds to: latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com.) 

“What’s Happened to the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry?”

July 9th, 2014 No comments

Many years ago, a famous Movie Cowboy, Mayor of Beverly Hills, Editor of the Saturday Evening Post and Entertainer, Will Rodgers said, “If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?”

Manufactured housing has seen its media image perpetuated and the public perception remains consistently tarnished for quite some time. The HUD Code manufactured home (MH) appears too often to be viewed by government, Realtors  ® and the public as not being desirable. The MH Industry has seen its home production decline and new MH Communities (MHCs) have declined as well. Many of these existing communities are tired with no “Innovation” or “Cool” factor for prospects.

On this date in 2014, along comes the “Tiny House,” a version of the factories “RV Park model.”

The “Tiny House” is less than 400 square feet. It sits on a trailer frame; it has wheels and a hitch. It appears to be of the same type of construction as a RV Park Model or a small HUD Code manufactured home. Media professionals like “Tiny Houses” for stories and about those who live in them. See example below.

tiny-houses-steven-lefer-industry-voices-posted-mhpronews-com

Wow, the media’s attention is so positive to the “Tiny House” that it far exceeds that of the old and tired HUD Trailer/Mobile Home industry. TV shows with Bob Vila endorse it and A+E TV Network will begin showing “Tiny House Nation” July 9, 2014 at 10 ET/11PT on their home product.

The articles point to how “Cute” and functional this small single wide home is; and how they even have a “Cool,” “Hip” factor with “NO” negative publicity. It's astonishing. These homeowners and their tiny houses brag about the size and in some cases folks live in 120 square feet, which is no bigger than a backyard shed. A woman in the article below left a MHPark to live one, ouch!

I understand “Four Lights Tiny House Company” will be attempting to build a “Village” for people to live in a community of them. What? How? Is this not an RV Community? If you are part of the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry, I am sure you are not aware of this image change nor have the leaders of the industry addressed or invited these competing folks to their convention. Are they part of the HUD Industry or do they prefer NOT to be? It sure makes me wonder?

credit-tiny-house-nation-series-graphic-Wednesday-july-9-10et-11pt-

Image credit FYI.TV

Here are three links for you to ponder!

http://www.deadline.com/2014/02/ae-lifestyle-network-fyi-sets-first-slate-launch-date/

http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2013/12/31/2857011/bette-presley-arroyo-grande-house.html

http://www.bobvila.com/articles/tiny-house-village/

Where and what happened to the HUD Code Manufactured Home Industry? ##

steve-leflervicepresident-modular-lifestyles-industry-voices-mhpronews-com75x75-Steven Lefler
Vice President
Modular Lifestyles, Inc.
(888) 437-4587
Dual DRE and HCD Salesperson
Advanced Green Building Professional
CEC Solar Wind Retailer/Installer

http://www.modularlifestyles.com

(First image supplied by Steve Lefler)

(Editor's Note: MHProNews strongly believes that accurate terminology matters, and as was noted with Ken Haynes' Industry Voices guest column today, the thoughts and statements made above are solely those of the writer.

Further, there are points in this commentary that are broad statements that could be construed as technically inaccurate, was used as hyperbole and thus depending on the context, should not be taken literally. Steve Lefler well knows about the recent positive press from CBS News or the Boston Globe, among others, touting the value of today's manufactured home.

Those who know Lefler's noteworthy work in net-zero and near-off-the-grid factory built homes makes him a pioneer, and that has lead him to a level of what might politely be described as frustration with the industry-at-large and its leaders for not promoting our factory-built home product, as his column above suggests.

As a recent Masthead blog post – Manufactured Housing's Declaration of Independence – underscored, market facts tell us our industry ought to be booming.

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

The IBISWorld Controversy and the Manufactured Housing Industry

April 13th, 2011 3 comments

Exclusive MHMSM.com Industry In Focus Report

The March 2011 IBISWorld report that cited manufactured home dealers as a ‘dying industry’ has made news inside and outside of the manufactured housing industry. MHMSM.com has contacted a variety of Industry leaders and personalities from coast to coast to get their comments. On-the-record comments have included national association leaders, as well as professionals in factory-built housing from the manufacturing, retail, communities and lending sectors.

Messages, comments and calls to MHMSM.com from manufactured home industry professionals dribbled in at first, and then gained in volume as publications such as The Atlantic and Business Insider covered the IBISWorld report. As an example of mainstream media coverage, a TV station in Houston reportedly called a regional firm to interview them about the developing IBISWorld story.

Derek Thompson, associate editor at The Atlantic, penned a commentary that included these words:

“At the center of a perfect storm of boomer burnout, a brutal recession,
and a rapidly changing industry, the mobile home retail market
could be the worst industry in America. Here’s why.”

Photo from The Atlantic
Photo from The Atlantic

“If I asked you to name America’s least fortunate industry, your mind might go to record stores, obliterated by on-demand apps; or photofinishers, left in the cold as digital cameras turn Americans into our own photo editors; or fabric makers, where business is booming … in Shenzhen, China.

“But when it comes to unlucky industries, it’s manufactured home (aka mobile home) retailers who really hit the trifecta. First they missed out on the housing boom. Then they felt the gut-punch of the recession. Now they might yet miss out on the recovery. That makes them America’s fastest dying industry, according to a new report from IBISWorld.”

Paul Bradley with Resident Owned Communities USA (ROC USA) was one of the first in the manufactured housing world’s leadership to publicly respond to this IBISWorld report. Bradley wrote a feature article for MHMSM.com that analyzed the IBISWorld report. Quoting from Bradley’s analysis:

“The (IBISWorld) report states ‘demand is dwindling’ and ‘sales are stagnant because the industry is not innovating, and that sales are likely to continue falling in the coming years.’ They go on to say, ‘Manufacturers have made cosmetics changes to manufactured homes, but they have not been significant enough to alter their life cycle stage.’ The report puts MH retailers in the ‘Industry stagnation’ category of declining industries.

“Are you kidding me? These are ‘deeply researched answers’?

“First, the headline clearly comes from their marketing division as a means of grabbing headlines. The research is not about a dying industry but a declining industry segment – one of two long-standing distribution channels in the business.

“With MH shipments in 2010 at 50,000 or 20 percent of 2000 levels, it’s not news that retailer revenues over that period declined. On that data, I’m surprised establishments are not down more than 56 percent. It suggests that the segment has excess capacity and additional closings are likely.

“Most surprising to me is laying the blame at the feet of manufacturers on the issue of design! From a ground-level market vantage point, that’s misplaced.

“The industry’s great declines came about as a result of, first, an industry-created chattel collapse where the seeds were sown in run-up to the 373,000 shipments in 1998. The collapse, and the repossession overhang which followed, began the decline like a skilled boxer’s well-placed left jab.

“The right overhand came next in the form of aggressive sub-prime and predatory lenders in the site-built market. In that run-up, traditional MH buyers – who were harder to finance for MH as a result of the chattel collapse – were lost to site-built housing in an eerily familiar boom market.

“Dazed by the right hand blow to our collective heads, the left to the body that has people reeling now is the regulatory reaction – the SAFE act, etc. – to the clearly consumer-eating lending practices of the last decade.

“The results of this three punch combination are declines of the magnitude widely reported and felt, and like a good whack, the pain lasts a while.

“Innovation in housing design, however, is not the industry’s chief failing.

“For those of us in the community market segment, in fact, innovation in new homes is a small issue – not a non-issue but a mere shadow of the aforementioned home financing issue. In fact, we are seeing demand for replacement and in-fill homes but only where we are able to arrange decent home financing. People want more efficient homes and the cost savings with new EnergyStar homes can be dramatic based on buyers with whom I’ve spoken.”

(Editor’s Note: The complete analysis by Paul Bradley can be found at this link.)

Other commentary in the form of articles proposed for publication, private and public comments followed. Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute issued this email as part of his response:

“State Execs & MHI Board:

“A very well articulated response to the IBIS report from last week by Paul Bradley which was just posted on www.MHMSM.com.

“I’d also just add that the sentiment at the Tunica Show, the Louisville Show, and the expected strong turnout at the Congress & Expo and the Tulsa Show and York Show later this month certainly don’t indicate this industry is going anywhere.

“Tony/Paul – I hope you don’t mind me sharing. We’ll see you in Las Vegas. Thanks for your support.

“Thanks-

“Thayer”

MHMSM.com spoke with Danny Ghorbani at the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) and to Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute.

Danny Ghorbani stated in a telephone interview that his comments were not the official position of MHARR, but represented his own views on the IBISWorld report and related.

Ghorbani stressed that the IBISWorld report represented the “failure” of “the post-production sector of the Industry” [meaning, MHI] in “serving that segment of its membership.”

The MHARR official then referenced two previously published documents that do represent MHARR’s official position, which were previously published on MHMSM.com in August and October 2010. These MHARR Viewpoint articles called for ‘the post-production segments’ of the manufactured housing industry to form their own national association; a thinly veiled vote of no-confidence from MHARR towards MHI.

MHMSM.com spoke extensively with Thayer Long at the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI). The typically soft-spoken Long was quick to respond.

Long was at times tongue-in-cheek, at other points direct in his comments about the IBISWorld report and Ghorbani’s often pointed comments on the matter. It should be stressed that Long’s comments, which follow, should be viewed as his own, and not necessarily reflective of the official view of MHI.

In an exclusive interview with MHMSM.com, Long shared the following thoughts:

Thayer Long:
“If it is a dying industry, then ok, then I guess I quit! And if Danny wants to blame it on us [MHI], okay, what else is new? … I am still struggling to figure out what he (Danny Ghorbani) is doing right now. Name one thing that he has accomplished … in the past three years? What has he accomplished…? I would love for you to think about that and get back to me. What has he accomplished? We [MHI] win and lose some battles. But at least we try. We have accomplished some things. Except, except, except… [MHARR]…nothing….

READ THE FULL INDUSTRY IN FOCUS REPORT