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by Joanne Stevens

Joanne Stevens photoI originally penned this article in 2005. For the most part, what was true then is true today. Instead of a dot.com implosion, the stock market tanked in 2008. As for prices, did anyone foresee $4 per gallon gas? Bottom line, parks and communities continue to offer one of the best value propositions to the consumer.

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If you have been reading any real estate publications, you understand the reasons you ought to sell. There are several; but the main reasons are that prices are good (mostly because of the low interest rates and because of all the capital that has come out of the stock market and is buying real estate) and capital gains taxes are at an all time low. But despite those very good reasons, you have decided that you want to keep doing what you are doing and continue to own and operate your properties. If that describes your situation, here is a little re-enforcement or reasons for why you should continue to own and operate your Mobile Home Parks and Manufactured Home Communities (MHPs/MHCs).

10. Population & Demographics

Two groups, the Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) and the Echo Boomers (born between 1980 and 1994) are going to grow dramatically over the next 15 years. Both groups will need housing. By 2020 the combined demographics is expected to exceed 129 million people. The demand for housing will be strong! You will have some opportunities to fill vacant sites and/or expand. When people reach retirement age, their income typically goes down. Housing that is inexpensive and easy to maintain will fill a niche.

9. Affordability

Even with 5% interest, no down payment financing programs, and other 'goodie' incentives for buyers of site built, at some point the price of housing is unaffordable. Site built house prices have been zooming upwards for what–three, maybe four years. The low interest rates create a lot of sales, so there is a lot of demand, which is pushing prices up. But even at 5% interest, the loan payment will exceed the budget of some. Maybe these "some" will buy our homes and live in our MHCs/MHPs.

8. The Dot Com Housing Bubble

Remember the 'new economics' of the dot com companies? The 'new economics' meant that a company didn't have to actually make a profit, just raise a lot of capital, spend money like crazy, and try to get market share. The company would make it up on the volume. Right. According to many economists, if we are in a bubble, the 'burst' is not going to be a debacle, but merely a slowing of the housing market. Still, there will probably be more people looking for a more affordable home. That means an opportunity for you.

7. Home Sales

The MHP/MHC owners that are selling homes in their parks and communities are filling vacant sites. Maybe the profits aren't like the old days (before 1999), but they are filling vacant sites and financing homes at 9% to 18% interest. Many have said their failure rate on contracts is about 10%. That's not a bad risk and the spread on their line of credit of 6% makes for a nice profit center.

6. Manufacturers

Some are responding to the need to return the MHP/MHC to 'the land of affordability.' We are not competing with site built homes anymore. The need to be considered just as good as a site built home in terms of size, features and roof lines just doesn't work anymore. It's time to get back to what manufactured housing has always been, AFFORDABLE! We do well if we stick to that.

5. Survive In '05. It will be heaven by2011.

This is the mantra of the apartment owners/developers. They are struggling with the same things we are–vacancies, rising operating costs, and the exodus of residents that are buying houses. They predict that their business will get better. Not because the market is changing, but because they are adapting and changing to compete in the very competitive housing market. For example; they have determined that the #1 factor for new residents selecting an apartment is the manager. How that prospective resident 'feels' or perceives the manager is critical to the rental decision. Do you think that apartment owners/investors are revamping the expectations that they have for managers? Without a doubt they are and, while no one likes change, we will need to do the same. It is just too competitive out there not to.

4. Owning a Home

All kinds of people have been taking pot shots at our homes and many owners/investors have diminished wealth and cash flow because of the downturn in the industry. Whatever is said about our homes and communities, they can't take away the one thing that manufactured homes and community living offers. That is the ability, the chance to own one's very own home. I think that we get blasé and forget what a driving, emotional force that is for people. In this country, what are we told with from birth? It's better to own than to rent. If you haven't thought about that lately, think back to some of the people that have brought a home into your community. And it doesn't matter what their age or socio-economics were. Were they excited about their new or new-to-them home? We need to be more excited about the value that our homes and communities offer and the deep human need it fulfills. This is a housing AND a people business!

3. Sex and the City

Do you know what people long for today? Do you know that the big national Master Planned Community developers/builders have figured it out? It's the sense of community, of belonging, of being a part of a neighborhood or community, of being secure in knowing that there are people that you can relate to, socialize with, and hang out with (like Carrie Bradshaw and the girls). Seriously, this is drawing people to Master Planned Communities like you wouldn't believe. Apartment owners are also catching on to this and adapting. Again, if you're an owner or manager, there is a lot you can do to attract new residents and retain existing ones.

2. Gas Prices! What Hurts You, Hurts Your Residents.

For existing MHPs/MHCs owners, rising gas prices may eventually help you. How? Because most of your properties are built near highways and commercial areas (because city councils didn't want you near the residential areas, damaging the property values of their homeowner/voter citizens). That injustice may actually help you attract and retain residents. The expense of driving will impact how real estate is developed. Lucky for you, your properties are fast, easy, and close to work, groceries and highways. Plus, the energy efficiency of manufactured homes is hard to beat.

1. God Isn't Making Any More Land…

And Planning & Zoning Commissions and City Councils aren't approving any more zoning for MHCs. There is just as much prejudice for zoning these properties as ever.

Despite vast improvements in the quality and appearance of manufactured homes, the possibility of getting zoning and permits is about zero. What other category of investment real estate can say that? NONE!

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Joanne Stevens, CCIM is a licensed real estate broker in the State of Iowa. She is a specialist in consulting and brokering mobile home parks, multi-family communities and commercial real estate throughout the U.S. With her 20 years of experience in developing, zoning, owning, retailing, managing and brokering, she can enhance your decision to sell your property. For more information, contact her at: 319-378-6786 (office), 319-365-9833 (fax) or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . On the Web at www.JoanneMStevens.com.

Daily Business News Briefs

Modular Multifamily to Rise in Michigan

Modular Multifamily to Rise in Michigan

The Lansing (Mich.) City Council has approved plans for developer Harry Hepler to build 200 modular apartments on the city’s northside, as lansingstatejournal.com informs MHProNews. Summit Street Development LLC has received a conditional use permit to build housing on the property that is zoned heavy industrial. Mr. Hepler says Metro Flats...

02 Sep 2014

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Modular Workforce Housing Planned in Mississippi

Modular Workforce Housing Planned in Mississippi

The possibility of up to seven billion barrels of oil in the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale formation in southwest Mississippi and central Louisiana has led the McComb (Miss.) Board of Selectmen to vote in favor of annexing 40 acres for the construction of a 535-unit modular workforce community. Shale Lodge will include a cafeteria, laundry and […]...

01 Sep 2014

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Hoarding along with dozens of cats found at home in MHC

Hoarding along with dozens of cats found at home in MHC

“Is there an unwritten rule that every third MHCommunity has someone who hoards and/or has a bunch of cats?” quipped manufactured home industry consultant and publisher, L. A. “Tony” Kovach. The comment flowed from the discovery of dozens of cats seized from the Niagara Mobile Home Park in Newfane, NY. “The stench coming from a […]...

01 Sep 2014

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Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day 2014

Manufactured Housing’s Labor Day 2014

Wikipedia says: “Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and […]...

01 Sep 2014

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William ‘Bill’ Steenberg, Award winning Steenberg Homes founder, Passage

William ‘Bill’ Steenberg, Award winning Steenberg Homes founder, Passage

William “Bill” Steenberg died Sunday, August 24, 2014, in Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, after a short, courageous battle with cancer. His fiance Wendy was by his side when he passed away. Bill’s children, Julie, Shelly, and Jeffrey and his granddaughter, Miranda, visited a couple weeks earlier in Florida.  Bill founded and owned ...

01 Sep 2014

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Equity LifeStyle’s stock hit record high as August ends

Equity LifeStyle’s stock hit record high as August ends

The glow of investors and commentary for Equity LifeStyle Properties Inc. (NYSE:ELS) hit a peak as August drew to a close. ELS witnessed the stock hitting a record high on Friday. The stock traded as high as $45.81, up 39 cents from yesterday’s record closing price of $45.42. The Street, Trade-Ideas  and Chicago Business  were among […]...

31 Aug 2014

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INC names mancamp provider Reliant Asset Management 3rd fastest growing pri…

INC names mancamp provider Reliant Asset Management 3rd fastest growing private business

Barry Roman is the co-founder of Reliant Asset Management, a provider of mancamps in ND, Texas, Canada and other high demand housing markets. Roman says his modular building company’s revenues rose 55,000 percent in three years, to just over $85 million. Inc Magazine named Reliant to their annual list of high flying companies. Reliant is ...

30 Aug 2014

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Manufactured Housing Stocks Rising before Labor Day Weekend

Manufactured Housing Stocks Rising before Labor Day Weekend

The Dow slipped, while other U.S. exchanges rose and most tracked stocks went up in advance of the Labor Day weekend. Dow 17,063.88 -15.69 (-0.09%). Nasdaq 4,572.95 +15.25 (+0.33%). S&P 500 1,999.93 +3.19 (+0.16%). Yahoo! Finance’s Manufactured Housing Composite Value: 831.1. Today’s Change: +0.12%. Affiliated Managers Group (AMG)...

29 Aug 2014

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Judge says MH class-action lawsuit heading for trial

Judge says MH class-action lawsuit heading for trial

Following up on our previous report on Moscow, Idaho’s Syringa Mobile Home Park legal fracas, Latah County 2nd District Judge John R. Stegner has told attorney’s representing community owner Magar E. Magar and roughly 140 residents that the case is heading to trial to settle the claims and damages. Elizabeth Rudd of the Tribune  tells ...

29 Aug 2014

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Allegations of Flooded, Fixed, Flipped ‘Mobile Homes’ hit state, internatio…

Allegations of Flooded, Fixed, Flipped ‘Mobile Homes’ hit state, international news

The City of Federal Heights is changing building inspection rules in response to a televised investigation in a manufactured home community by 9Wants to Know, exposing safety concerns when flooded “mobile homes are resold to unsuspecting families,” NassauNewsLives tells MHProNews. Hundreds of flood damaged homes were sold rather than scraped. Tho...

29 Aug 2014

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Freddie Mac’s new Manufactured Housing finance program orignated by Walker …

Freddie Mac’s new Manufactured Housing finance program orignated by Walker Dunlop

The new Freddie Mac manufactured housing community (MHC) finance program announced last spring has been originated by Walker & Dunlop (W&D). The loan was for $10.5 million on Longhaven Estates, an MHC in Phoenix, AZ. The financing was secured for Cobblestone Real Estate, LLC, based in Oak Brook, IL, and Tricon Capital Group, based in...

29 Aug 2014

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Featured Articles and Reports - September 2014 Vol. 5 No. 12

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UnBranding - a Key to Unlocking the Door to more MH Sales?

UnBranding - a Key to Unlocking the Door to more MH Sales?

by L.A. "Tony" Kovach Years before Palm Harbor Homes went into bankruptcy and eventually ended up with Cavco Industries, Palm Harbor ran TV ads showing beautiful, “residential style” manufactured homes. Read more

MARKETING

“Should We Be a More Aggressive Breed?”

“Should We Be a More Aggressive Breed?”

by Nadeen Green, JD Many if not most manufactured housing folks truly make the effort to be compliant with the Fair Housing Act and are well aware of the need to... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Earthquakes & Other Disasters: Are you Prepared?

Earthquakes & Other Disasters: Are you Prepared?

by C. William Dahlin, JD  As reported by major media outlets, a 6.0 earthquake hit Northern California  in late August on a Sunday. Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

Pool and Spa Safety

Pool and Spa Safety

by Kathleen Bianculli While the end of summer is drawing near and pools in some areas will be closed for the season, in many areas of the country the pool never... Read more

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“How Sweet the Rose” - Senior Housing Communities - Advertising Do's and Do…

“How Sweet the Rose” - Senior Housing Communities - Advertising Do's and Don'ts

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A Breakthrough in Manufactured Home Loan Financing! Discover the One Step P…

A Breakthrough in Manufactured Home Loan Financing! Discover the One Step Program!

by Jerry Bretton In our previous report on SUN, we mentioned that Mountainside Financial has been making loans on manufactured and mobile homes for 14 years. Read more

FINANCING

Are HUD Practices Making Manufactured Homes Less Affordable?

Are HUD Practices Making Manufactured Homes Less Affordable?

by Ron D'Ambra Let's start by saying that, from a business perspective, MORE government involvement is not always viewed as a good thing. Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

3rd Annual Open Space Pace - September 20th, 2014 – Freehold New Jersey

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GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

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GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

5 Reasons for MHPros to Attend the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Sho…

5 Reasons for MHPros to Attend the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show

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GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales for Retailers, Communities, Factories …

The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales for Retailers, Communities, Factories and others

by L. A. “Tony' Kovach We will demonstrate that the cost of not selling more homes is always high.  Capital is tied up in your inventory, location, general overhead, personnel, marketing,... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

Lead, manage or get out of the way

Lead, manage or get out of the way

by Tim Connor, CSP The world is changing at the speed of light. Everything is being touched by this accelerated pace of change. No person, entity, industry, profession, and no part... Read more

MANAGEMENT

Knowledge is Potential Power - 4 Steps and 91 words = Enhanced Manufacture…

Knowledge is Potential Power - 4 Steps and 91 words =  Enhanced Manufactured Housing  Professional Success Infographic

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach We'll share an infographic that explains in 4 easy steps how any MH Industry professional can learn more to earn more. Here is the infographic... Read more

MANAGEMENT

ZigOn Qualities of Success

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by Zig Ziglar Dr. William "Bill" Ross was truly one of a kind and was known for his sense of humor and his zest for life. He had exuberance for... Read more

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by Tim Connor, CSP There are four significant areas when it comes to consistent high sales performance. They are: Self-image and self-esteem. Read more

SALES

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MHLIVINGNEWS.COM FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK

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Press Releases

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Cl…

RV/MH Heritage Foundation Inducts the Class of 2014 into RV/MH Hall of Fame

(Back row l-r) Thomas "Tom" L. Kern, Style Crest Enterprises; Ed Evans, EPM; Gary McDaniel, YES! Communities ; Richard "Dick" King, King Insurance (second row row l-r) Barry Cole, Manufactured Housing Insurance Services; Bob Livingston, Good Sam; John D Roba, Roba and Associates (front row l-r) Mrs. James F Shields. accepting on behalf of her husband,James F Shields (deceased), Pan Pacific RV Centers; Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices and Peter B Orthwein, Thor Industries. ELKHART, Ind., August 5. 2014 -- The Class of 2014 was inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame (Hall) last night in Elkhart, Indiana, in a gala ceremony before a record breaking crowd of more than 440 family members, friends, and colleagues from across the country. The Class of 2014 includes: Debbie Brunoforte, Little Dealer, Little Prices;...

the MHMSM Team 05 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Ne…

Steve Lefler - Modular Lifestyles and Newport Pacific – Successfully Gaining Acceptance for Super Energy Saving, Green Manufactured Homes

Learn more at the article linked here, or by calling Steve Lefler, Vice President of Modular Lifestyles, Inc., a division of Newport Pacific Family of Companies at Ph. (888) 437-4587. Email steve@modularlifestyles.com. Steve is a Dual DRE and HCD Salesperson. Advanced Green Building Professional. CEC Solar Wind Retailer/Installer. http://www.modularlifestyles.com ##

the MHMSM Team 01 Aug 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire America…

Sun Communities, Inc. to Acquire American Land Lease Manufactured Housing Portfolio from Green Courte Partners for $1.32 Billion

Increases Sun Communities' portfolio to 245 communities totaling nearly 90,000 sites in 29 states with a combined enterprise value of approximately $5.1 billion Southfield, MI, July 30, 2014 - Sun Communities, Inc. (NYSE: SUI) (the "Company") today announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire a portfolio (the "ALL portfolio") from Green Courte Partners, LLC ("GCP") sponsored funds. The ALL portfolio consists of 59 manufactured home communities, including those acquired from American Land Lease, Inc. by GCP in 2009. The communities comprise over 19,000 sites in eleven states, including nearly 11,000 sites located in Florida. Over 14,000 sites, or 73%, of the ALL portfolio are age-restricted.  In connection with this transaction, the Company will assume GCP's right to acquire an additional manufactured home community pursuant to a binding purchase...

the MHMSM Team 31 Jul 2014 Corporate Press Releases

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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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