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Cup of Coffee1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at Precision, any group or association roles, etc.)

My role at Precision Capital Funding is varied, depending on what part of the business I am focused on. The role I am most passionate about is educating those in the industry who don't understand, of the importance that properly executed owner-funded lending is to the industry. I truly believe the industry will not survive unless community owners and retailers alike accept the fact that outside finance is helpful only with high-grade credit customers.

I don't mean to negate what outside lenders are doing, but the stark reality is they are only financing about 6% of the potential customer base that should be financed, and that is not their fault. They have to dance to the tune their money sources play, and that tune is not going to change much in the next ten years. Even if Title I finally emerges in the next couple of years, the two or three lenders that will possibly participate will only double what they are doing now, leaving a substantial potential customer base un-financeable.

The secondary role I am passionate about is educating those who are already involved in owner-funded lending that they need to be doing it correctly, and the great majority are not. This is almost more challenging than convincing others to get into the business, because there are huge egos at play, and a lot of fear. Most of them know they aren't doing it right, but they hate to admit it.

The downside for the industry is, the owner-funded lending they are doing is not as effective as it should be. Many of them are unable to understand how they can finance new homes complete with 20 or 25-year terms safely. As a result, much of this effort is spent on rehabbed repossessions rather than funding new manufacturing efforts which does little to help the industry as a whole.

The second industry downside is, someone is going to get caught with the implementation of the SAFE Act with no regulatory licenses, unenforceable contracts, and a slew of compliance violations. They could very well end up bankrupt and in prison. Unfortunately, their personal tragedy could expose the widespread problems in our industry regarding owner-funded lending, and we could see the media clamoring for government regulation and oversight that will make the SAFE Act look like a cakewalk.

Right now, there is an effort underway by a number of very large community owners trying to get the government involved in the purchase of owner-funded loan portfolios. They wisely decided at the MHI meeting in San Diego to limit the participants because they did not want people in government to be looking at what most of the industry is doing. If the problems were exposed, I would bet it would kill any of the hopes they have for government monies.

I should also tell you, I am in a very fortunate position to take all of this on because I have two very capable partners who take care of everything else. Pat Curran and Diane Howell are highly experienced professionals I can always count on to make sure everything else is getting done and getting done correctly. Without their very capable efforts, I could not devote nearly as much time as I do to these issues.

2) Background

Like most males of my generation, I found myself getting a higher education and dealing with the reality of military service in Viet Nam. While that is relevant to a point, I am a very big believer in learning through experience. Some of the most successful people I know, or have known, in this industry never even attended college, let alone graduated. I also know that others in this industry agree with me. One of the most successful people in this industry is both an attorney and a MBA and I have never seen either mentioned in a single bio of him.

Here are some things I do value. My family was in several businesses, one of them banking. I value the lessons I learned about the importance of character in making lending decisions. I was taught that people who don't take care of what they have, won't take care of whatever they buy with money they want you to loan them. That has paid dividends many times, but I never saw that in a business school textbook. I learned that whenever someone seeks an easy answer to problems they will normally end up regretting it. Luck is important, but it is not a substitute for hard work. The term genius is often bandied about, but real genius is the ability to make time count by doing it right the first time. If you can't make up your mind in 10 minutes, you are trying to reach a decision on something you are not qualified to make a decision on. None of these did I learn after tacking a degree to my name.

3) When and How:

I was doing some consulting work for one of the early large community groups in the mid 1970s and discovered the money that could be made in developing and owning communities. That led me to switch gears and get into the park business, which brought me into this industry. Over the years, I served on two state association boards, the Lender's Council at MHI, and worked with one of the large retail lenders helping them in their efforts to grow to a large presence in our industry.

Like others in our industry, I have had other business interests concurrent with my roles in manufactured housing. One of the things that allowed me to do that is to always have good partners who I know I can count on to take of the things I wouldn't have time for otherwise. My participation in the creation of a new GM dealership in the mid 1980s was a perfect example of this.

In early part of the decade, I had majority control of three rural telephone companies, a strong role in a company developing a wireless VPN network to serve rural banks, a finance company not related to manufactured housing, and a political consulting company. I also served the industry through Precision Financial Corp and in putting together the Illinois Manufactured Housing Quality Assurance Board after being appointed by the Governor of Illinois to that position.

Late in 2006, I had divested myself of almost all of my active business interests with the thought of retiring to Hawaii. A realization that the manufactured housing industry was about to encounter the roughest times it had ever experienced caused me to rethink that retirement, and Precision Capital Funding was born out of a joint commitment by Pat, Diane, and me.

4) What are your personal interests or hobbies? How do you like to spend non-work time?

Mostly, my hobbies are on a back burner until more progress is made with getting the industry on board with owner-funded lending. If I had the time, water sports like skiing, swimming, and scuba diving would take up part of my time. I used to surf, but I think I am getting a little old for that. I also used to hunt dangerous game as anyone who has ever been in my home knows, but I have lost my taste for killing. I am also a life-long horseman who also used to compete in cowboy mounted shooting, and am a charter member of the Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and a life member of the Single Action Shooting Society. I am also very interested in Habitat for Humanity and Food Banks, helping to start and fund the first regional food bank in Illinois back in the early 1980s. I also play the guitar for relaxation.

5) I found it interesting that you liked Sun Tzu's book, The Art of War. Please tell us why you like The Art of War, please? What significance do you think it has for a professional? And I mean a non-military professional!

It is a textbook for running a company that teaches the value of strategic long-term thinking. Any military training is valuable, and officer's training even more so for developing thinking processes that directly translate to the business world. Sun Tzu was one of the truly great military strategic thinkers of all time, so why not learn from him?

6) What do you consider the largest challenges facing the industry today?

The diversity of the ownership makes it difficult to speak and act with a common voice and goal. Change is often difficult when many of the voices were wildly successful for years and are now aging and less ambitious. Their natural inclination is to maintain the status quo rather than examine the changed circumstances and react according. At the same time, we have mixed messages coming at everyone from a number of different sources, and it is hard from those willing to adjust to determine which messages and which advice is worth following.

As an industry, we are taking medications to lower our cholesterol. We know we need to exercise, but only a few of us are doing so, while the rest cower in fear and confusion. We are having occasional chest pains that some of us are trying to ignore and others are worried about. We are about a year away before the ambulance arrives to take us the hospital. If we have done the right things, we might survive.

7) Okay, you are on record as being in favor of advancing financing options, notably 'captive finance.' What other issues to you see as big challenges to community operators?

The challenges will vary with the operator. Some face refinance crisis and that has to be their biggest problem. If they can't refinance when the loan comes due, they are out of the ballgame.

If, the retail finance problem is solved, then advertising, marketing, and sales becomes a huge issue for many. While a notable few have these problems under control, most range from mediocre to just plain horrible at addressing these issues. In some areas, there are independent retailers who could help, but usually neither side understands how to work with the other side and with a few very bright exceptions, those types of efforts often fail.

Recovering from the infill problems will require a combination of available outside finance and owner-funded finance first, with a follow up punch of advertising, marketing, and a sales effort that actually delivers results. Without proper infill, refinance of communities will get more and more difficult.

8) How would you like to see the industry respond to these and other challenges?

First, industry associations have to get both relevant and solvent. Without representation in both the national and state capitals, our industry will develop even more problems. One of the long-time problems of associations is the difficulty of defining and balancing leadership roles. I have been active in state associations where the hired execs ran the place like their own personal fiefdom, and others where the execs did exactly what the most powerful member told them. Neither model is healthy. A few actually have found the balance and while no association is rolling in funds or members, they are healthier than the troubled ones. We need associations to survive, but we also need a good balance of sensible leadership so our dues and contributions are not squandered.

Some association execs are very good at using smoke and mirrors to preserve their jobs, but we need them to stop worrying about keeping their jobs and focus on doing the job they were brought in to do. Other execs are doing a terrific job with very limited funds and they need and deserve the financial support they should be getting.

While the rules on PACs have just changed dramatically, there is no question that all of the PACs are almost a joke in terms of the money they have available. There should be far more industry effort to make sure the PACs have the money they need to compete and achieve the industry's legislative goals.

I would like to see industry meetings of representative leaders of all factions of the industry sitting down and hammering out a common addendum for state and national associations to follow. This could be through MHI, but I would suspect it would have to be outside of their aegis in order to get some of the important players to the table.

9) What do you think the broader industry can do to improve the climate for Manufactured/Modular Housing today?

Push for and support the concept of properly run captive finance operations. Push most importantly the importance of necessary education.

10) Does the regulatory environment our manufacturer's face concern you? What advice or comments would you give to MHI, MHARR or state associations?

Listen better to all of your membership.

11) While your focus these days is more on finance and the community business, what are your thoughts regarding the industry for retailers and non-land-lease community developers?

I need to alter your question a little bit. Not all retailers confine their efforts to land-home or mortgage programs. For those retailers doing chattel, my feelings about owner-funded finance companies are the same as they are for communities. They have a more immediate need to be running these programs, and in fact, some of the largest retailers are already doing so.

For those doing deals that include the land, I am no ultracrepidarian. This area is beyond my expertise. I do wonder if HUD Code housing ought to be reserved for land lease community use, and modular housing ought to be the product promoted for use outside of communities, but I have no experience or expertise to back that up.

12) Don Westphal recently said, and I am quoting here: "As a seasoned industry member, I am reluctant to say that I believe we may need a 'changing of the guard' and the addition of some more flexible and innovative young blood in the mix." Another person you know and respect said something similar, paraphrasing, 'We need our seasoned industry veterans so we don't lose our sense of the industry's history; but we also need new blood that can move us in positive directions.' Your thoughts on such perspectives?

This is an interesting question. As part of the older, much more experienced part of the industry, I think we provide much more than history. I think there is real value in seeking consul from someone who has experience if they actually learned the right lessons from that experience. To me, it is all about results. If I can show someone how to save $25,000 in setting up his or her captive finance operation, and then show them how to handle the details right the first time, and all of that is based on my experience and expertise, that has to be worth more than visiting an internet bulletin board where the blind lead the blind.

That this industry needs to cultivate new blood is absolutely true. It is also true the new blood needs to gain enough experience and expertise to actually know what they are doing before they attempt to take a position of leadership. It is frustrating to deal with people who become instant experts by virtue of a spot in a publication or an internet site, who don't have a clue as to the accuracy of the information they supply. Just as a newly minted 2nd Lieutenant needs to listen to the seasoned combat veterans both above and below him if he hopes to be a good leader or maybe just survive, so to must the new blood be very careful to know what they are talking about.

On the other hand, there are people that have been around the industry a while who never actually learned anything from their experience that is worth listening to. I know some long term community managers that talk like owners but have no clue about the actuality of being an owner. There is a very big difference between people who sign the front of a paycheck and people who sign the back of one, and it would be hard to imagine the latter addressing ownership level issues.

There are also a few old-timers who somehow did everything wrong and still survived that are giving advice today that is as bad as some of the advice being given by some of the young blood. When it comes right down to it, the other key is the caliber of the individual. A high caliber new entry will learn fast what some of the lower caliber long timers have never learned.

12) Another respected industry veteran told me recently that what we have isn't a product problem, but rather a communications problem

Perhaps. It is certainly true that the vehicle industry doesn't have a problem getting the buying public to distinguish between a truck and a car, or between a Chevy Geo and a Bentley. No one really mistakes the differences between a used car and a new one, yet the public seems oblivious to all of these differences. Worse, everyone accepts the fact that Model Ts had no windows or heaters and had to be cranked to start without expecting the same of a new car. Our industry doesn't seem to be able to help the public understand the difference.

Daily Business News Briefs

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28 Jul 2014

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Affordable Housing Shortage Contributes to Society Ills

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A report by the non-profit Enterprise Community Partners says the lack of affordable housing is contributing to the cycle of poverty and underperformance of many Americans, according to housingwire.com. Tiffany Manuel, VP of knowledge, impact and strategy at the organization, says, “Enterprise believes stable and affordable housing is one of the m...

28 Jul 2014

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Sun Communities beat Q2 Analysts’ Estimates

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With revenue up 15.2 percent compared to the second quarter last year, Sun Communities, Inc. (NYSE:SUI) reports earnings per share of $0.78 beat analysts’ estimate of $0.76 by $0.02 for Q2 2014. Earnings per share for Q2 2013 were $0.69 per share, as watchlistnews.com informs MHProNews . The company’s $115.40 million revenue for the...

28 Jul 2014

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First Modular Apartment Building in Perth, Australia

First Modular Apartment Building in Perth, Australia

A six-story, 77 unit modular apartment building has been built in Perth, Australia in ten days for $22 million, according to propertyobserver.com.au. The one-and-two bedroom apartments represent a cost savings of 12 percent, with 50 percent less waste and 30 percent more energy efficiency in construction. With units starting at $335,000, Housing...

28 Jul 2014

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Clayton Subsidiary Testing Homes for Energy Efficiency

Clayton Subsidiary Testing Homes for Energy Efficiency

In an attempt to determine the most cost effective and energy efficient home, the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE) is sponsoring a performance test administered by the Systems Building Research Alliance (SBRA), using three separate test homes built by Southern Energy Homes (Sehomes), each at a different level of efficiency. The first home meets...

28 Jul 2014

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Louisville Show is Approaching a Sell-Out

Louisville Show is Approaching a Sell-Out

There are almost 6 months to go before the start of the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, and booth space and manufacturers exhibit space is approaching a sell out.  MHProNews has learned there will be 2 new factory builders planning for the 2015 event, and apparently all the current manufactured and modular builders are expected [...]...

28 Jul 2014

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Factory-made Home-building Falls One Percent in Canada

Factory-made Home-building Falls One Percent in Canada

MHProNews has learned from insidehalton.com the Canadian Manufactured Homes Institute (CMHI) reports eleven percent of new single-family homes in 2012 were factory built homes, just one percent off an historic high of 12 percent the previous year. The CMHI envisions eco-conscious consumers see off-site home construction as a green way of building...

28 Jul 2014

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Newly-built Single-family Homes Sales Drops

Newly-built Single-family Homes Sales Drops

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) tells MHProNews data from the U. S. Census Bureau and the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reports the sale of newly-built single-family homes dropped 8.1 percent to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 405,000 in June. In addition, sales data were revised downward for...

28 Jul 2014

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Third Ave. Value Fund Squeaks out a Gain; Dow, Nasdaq, S&P Fall

Third Ave. Value Fund Squeaks out a Gain; Dow, Nasdaq, S&P Fall

Sluggish earnings reports held back stocks in today’s trading, although the S&P and the Nasdaq show gains on the week, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell slightly overall. CNNMoney informs MHProNews the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell -123.23 points, -0.74 percent, to 16,960.57, while the Nasdaq lost -22.55 points, -0.50...

25 Jul 2014

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Manufactured Housing Commponent Supplier on the Block

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The founders of Polyvulc USA, Inc. are trying to arrange an immediate sale of the company, allegedly for health reasons, according to plasticsnews.com. Fred Farrell and Larry Lambiotte began the company, making injection molded pier pads from recycled plastics as support systems for manufactured homes in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1995. MHProNews...

25 Jul 2014

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Lippert Components Sponsors Charity Run

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25 Jul 2014

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Featured Articles and Reports - July 2014 Vol. 5 No. 10

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by Joe Karns By now I'm sure you already know the many benefits to running a blog strategy around your business. However, there is an easy (and FREE) way to get... Read more

MARKETING

Tattoos, Technology and Manufactured Housing Sales Growth

Tattoos, Technology and Manufactured Housing Sales Growth

by Jason Brady Before we bought out ManufacturedHomes.com – which was previously a part of SearchCore - one of the big draws for that operation was their tattoo website. Read more

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Community Management: The $20,000 Dog

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by Kathleen Bianculli It’s exciting. You just purchased a manufactured home community. It has fifty (50) sites, forty eight (48) of which are occupied by home owning tenants paying $300/month... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Same Sex Harassment in California

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by William “Bill” Hart, JD In Hart King's continuing efforts to bring recent developments in California employment law to our clients who employ workers in the state, we provide this summary... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

With this ring…

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COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Is It Really Progress? Manufactured Housing Finance, Dodd-Frank and the CFP…

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by Marc Lifeset, JD The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (“Dodd-Frank Act”) amended the federal Truth in Lending Act (“TILA”), directly impacting the manufactured housing industry in a... Read more

FINANCING

Why Don’t States Do More to Promote Affordable Housing?

Why Don’t States Do More to Promote Affordable Housing?

by Doug Ryan Since 2005, CFED has promoted manufactured homes as a viable housing opportunity, particularly for low- and- moderate-income families. We have focused on making manufactured housing part of the... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Following-up on Dirty Laundry

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by Stacey Epperson Earlier this year I wrote about “Dirty Laundry,” the tendency to keep the two million pre-1976 mobile homes in the United States out of sight and out of... Read more

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HUD Code Manufactured Homes and Attached Garages, a Regulatory Update

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by Lois Starkey I am following up on a communication I sent to manufacturers in January regarding attached garages.  As you know, late last year it was brought to MHI’s attention... Read more

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Louisville 2015…The Road to Success

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by Ron Thomas, Sr. The numbers really add up. Think about all of the exciting brand new homes. Think about the 1,561 plus customers who visited in 2014. Think about the... Read more

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Time to Pull Ourselves Together

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“...I kill politicians.” - Attorney Rick Robinson on Manufactured Housing …

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Inside Manufactured Housing Video Interview: a Behind the Scenes look at t…

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Are Voluntary Sprinkler Standards Still Needed? Ask the State Executives!

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Has everyone written off new manufactured home community development outsid…

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The 6 critical factors of employee performance

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MANAGEMENT

ZigOn Community Values

ZigOn Community Values

by Zig Ziglar Ed Shipman is a throwback to those people who believe in free enterprise, independence, hard work, faith, commitment and responsibility. Read more

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

Creative selling vs. same stuff, different day

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by Tim Connor, CSP Any time is a good time to sell creatively.  Uncertain economic times are an excellent time to sell creatively. And, poor economic times require that salespeople sell creatively. Read more

SALES

Upcoming Events

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MHLIVINGNEWS.COM FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK

Classifieds

Press Releases

Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Fra…

Mountainside Financial launches Dodd-Frank compliant non-MLO, MLO SUN Manufactured/Mobile Home Direct Loans and Refinancing

Using online articles, banner ads and video, Mountainside Financial is announcing the launch of the evolution of their direct lending platform promotion. As a division of San Antonio Credit Union (SACU), Mountainside has a unique 14 year history of making direct to consumer loans on manufactured and mobile homes. Direct loans are often done in "partnership" with brokers, communities, Realtors ®, other housing professionals and manufactured home retailers who refer consumers to them. Anthony Ducharme, Direct Channel Manager for Mountainside, explained how they created their new SUN System with Manufactured Home Professionals in mind who needed a compliant process to navigate SAFE Act and Dodd-Frank regulations enforced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). "If you've been originating your own loans, talk to us. If you want to have a legally complaint...

the MHMSM Team 08 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Call for Nominations for the RV/MH Hall …

Call for Nominations for the RV/MH Hall of Fame Class of 2015

ELKHART, Ind., -- The RV/MH Hall of Fame Selection Committee has issued a call for nominations for the Class of 2015. Darryl Searer, Hall president, said, "The Hall welcomes nominations from all RV and manufactured housing sectors -- manufacturers, dealers, campgrounds, housing communities, suppliers, user groups, trade media, associations, etc -- for the class of 2015 and beyond. "The nomination guidelines and forms available online atwww.rvmhhalloffame.org/pages/nominations.cfm." According to the guidelines, anyone can nominate a person to the Hall of Fame that meets the eligibility requirements. The only people who may not be considered are those who currently serve on the Hall's Selection Committee. To be eligible the nominee must be, or have been, an active participant in any segment of the recreation vehicle, campground or manufactured housing industries for a minimum of 25 years....

the MHMSM Team 08 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Southwest Region Manufactured Home Commu…

Southwest Region Manufactured Home Communities Showing Rent and Occupancy Growth, Outpacing National Average, According to JLT & Associates’ 14-Year Market Summary Report

Grand Rapids, Michigan – JLT & Associates (JLT), the nation’s #1 market research company for the manufactured housing industry, today announced a 14-year summary report of its manufactured home community rent surveys for 6 Southwest markets. Recognized as the industry standard for manufactured home community market analysis for over 20 years, JLT Rent Surveys provide detailed research and information on communities located in 72 markets throughout the United States, including the latest rent trends and statistics, marketing programs and a variety of other useful management insights. The most recent JLT Rent Surveys for the Southwest region cover 261 manufactured home communities encompassing 69,728 homesites in Albuquerque, Greater Kansas City, Greater Phoenix, Las Vegas, Tucson and Salt Lake City. This summary report is based on rent and occupancy trends from 2000 to 2014. Findings...

the MHMSM Team 01 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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RV/MH Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Dinner…

RV/MH Hall of Fame 2014 Induction Dinner Reservations Outpace Last Year's Event

ELKHART, Ind. -- The RV/MH Hall of Fame's Induction Dinner Committee Chairman Mark Wasson (BlueLinx Corporation), reports reservations for the induction dinner honoring the Class of 2014 are running significantly ahead of last year's reservations.   Wasson said, "As of June 19, more than 175 friends and family of the inductees have registered which is more than double the number of registrations for the Class of 2013 induction ceremony by the same date." This year's RV/MH Hall of Fame's annual Induction Dinner will be held on August 4, 2014, at the Hall of Fame's Event Center in Elkhart, Indiana, according to Darryl Searer, president, RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall). According to Wasson, this year's program begins with a private cocktail party in Champion Hall from 4:00 p.m to 5:30 p.m honoring all the past inductees, board members...

the MHMSM Team 20 Jun 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Trey Miller Tapped as Chairman of the 20…

Trey Miller Tapped as Chairman of the 2014 RV/MH Golf Classic Annual Fundraiser

ELKHART, Ind., -- Atwood Mobile Products' Aftermarket Sales Director Trey Miller has accepted the position of chairman of the 2014 RV/MH Golf Classic annual fundraiser,  according to Darryl Searer, president, RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall). Searer said, "We are delighted that Trey has stepped up to lead our golf fundraiser.  Trey will be contacting golfers from the RV/MH industries in the coming months, and I encourage all golf enthusiasts to join us for a fun-filled day and at the same time, help support the Hall.  The Hall's 2014 Golf Classic fundraiser will start at 7 a.m. on Monday, August 4, 2014, with a full breakfast followed by a shotgun start at 8:30 a.m. at the Bent Oak Golf Club in Elkhart.  The awards luncheon begins immediately following the golf tournament. Individuals can sign up as a...

the MHMSM Team 20 May 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Senate Banking Committee Approves GSE Re…

Senate Banking Committee Approves GSE Reform Bill

On May 15th, the Senate Banking Committee approved legislation (currently unnumbered) on a 13-9 vote that would eliminate Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and overhaul the nation's secondary housing finance market. The bill, authored by Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) and ranking member Mike Crapo (R-ID), now moves to the full Senate. A floor vote this year appears unlikely after several key Democrats on the panel voted against the plan out of concern that it goes too far in eliminating the current system and does not do enough to preserve affordable housing finance options. The bill expands on legislation introduced last year by Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN) and Mark Warner (D-VA) and replaces Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a system where the government would explicitly guarantee big losses in the housing market but...

the MHMSM Team 16 May 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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