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by George F. Allen

George Allen photoLandlease (nee manufactured home) community owners/operators, portfolio 'players' and sole proprietors alike, rarely have their valuable income-producing properties professionally 'shopped'. Why?

It's been said of Mickey Mantle, and now a world famous golfer, known for their perennial leg injuries, 'They're billion dollar talent on dime store legs.' Same metaphor appears to apply to most properties in the LLCommunity realty asset class! We routinely put multimillion dollar investments into the hands of oft untrained; rarely certified; frequently underpaid; and loosely – if – that, job performance evaluated (by independent, third party Mystery Shoppers with no personal or job security axe to grind) on-site management and sales staff! Think I exaggerate? Ask yourself, if a community owner: 'When did we last train and certify (e.g., ACM or MHM designations) our managers, as well as home sales staff (e.g., PHC designation), and have the property and/or sales centers professionally 'mystery shopped'? Your answer disturb you enough to right those wrongs?

What's it cost to do so? Between $500 and $1,000 per property for a comprehensive evaluation and written report, effected by a capable, experienced, motivated Mystery Shopper (or firm) who 'visits' the subject property(ies) by telephone; via the internet – if there's a dedicated website; and, in person, to conduct anonymous, unscheduled 'interviews' with appropriate staffers, after touring the property documenting (photographing) marketing, resident relations, curb appeal, and rules/regulation shortfalls.

Why isn't Mystery Shopping the job performance evaluation as routine for the LLCommunity asset class as it is for the conventional apartment property type, and builders/developers of site-built housing? In a word, 'professionalism,' or lack thereof. Within the apartment management, and housing sales disciplines, it's commonplace to regularly measure, and accordingly adjust, off and on-site marketing measure effectiveness (e.g., does your staff keep a record of incoming telephone inquiries & visits to the property? More important, are these tallies studied weekly and used?) as well as OJT performance of leasing and sales teams. In my opinion, there're additional nefarious, not-so-obvious reasons to 'not shop.' In the first instance, regional and executive property managers frequently 'fear' having their assigned properties 'shopped,' because results, first time around, are rarely 'pretty.' In fact, they're downright awful. All sorts of 'problems' with marketing – or, as it turns out, lack thereof; obvious symptoms of sour resident relations, lousy curb appeal (unforgivable), even selective enforcement of rules/regulations becomes glaringly evident. And guess whose fault that is? So, we're talking job security here, and not just for the on-site sales and leasing staff.

Another reason? Frankly, it's downright difficult to find Mystery Shoppers who know and understand the basics, let alone nuances, of LLCommunity property management and new/resale home sales, even finance. And guess what? That's not going to change anytime soon, if the major property portfolio folk don't 'get on the stick' and have every one of their income-producing properties professionally 'shopped' at least annually – preferably, several months before their local housing market's leasing and sales season begins.

What to do? Hire a professional Mystery Shopper to visit and evaluate your properties! Contact MHI/NCC and request they address this performance evaluation void at a future meeting. See if the National Apartment Association has a list of Mystery Shoppers who might be comfortable learning the LLCommunity business. Maybe even hire and train your own in-house 'shopper.'

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George Allen, Realtor®, CPPM®Emeritus & MHM author & freelance management consultant specializes in factory-built housing & landlease (nee manufactured home) community real estate asset class. George authored three textbooks on realty development, investment and management, plus his popular Chapbook of Business & Management Wisdom. Also pens subscriber-supported monthly Allen Letter and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletters. Contact him at Box #47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Phone (317) 346-7156. FAX: (317) 346-7158. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Website: www.community-investor.com for his blog.

To utilize GFA's people – Michael or Tim in Florida, Candy in California, Curtis in Texas, Greg in Oregon, John in Chicago, 'Mac' or himself in Indiana – call (317) 346-7156 for contact information.

Daily Business News Briefs

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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Canadians Investing Large in U.S. Housing Markets

Canadians Investing Large in U.S. Housing Markets

“In the U.S., given the affordability and the fact that prices in the suburbs went down more significantly than in the cities you will see more and more options and opportunities outside big cities,” said Benjamin Tal, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) analyst. With Canadian markets hot – and some fear over-heating – the [...

29 Aug 2014

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Manufactured Home Community Rent Control on Public Meeting agenda

Manufactured Home Community Rent Control on Public Meeting agenda

The City of Santa Clarita, CA, will host three public comment meetings to discuss draft updates to Santa Clarita Municipal Code 6.02, the Manufactured Home Park Rent Adjustment Procedures. Meetings are open to the public, as well as to residents of manufactured home communities, business owners and managers. The City of Santa Clarita and...

29 Aug 2014

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“The Big One” Cyber Attack coming? Markets and MH Composite all slide

“The Big One” Cyber Attack coming? Markets and MH Composite all slide

Big banks are poised to earn even more, cyber security experts say the ‘Big One’ is coming and fears from the Ukraine were among the factors cited by MarketWatch  moving investors. The three major indexes all lost ground today. Dow 17,078.87 -43.14 (-0.25%). Nasdaq 4,557.70 -11.92 (-0.26%). S&P 500 1,996.76 -3.36 (-0.17%). Yahoo! ...

28 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

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

“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

by Nadeen Green, JD While a rose may smell sweet no matter what it may be called, names are in fact labels. Using the wrong label when you market your senior... Read more

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

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

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

by Sam Landy Dear Friends, UMH Properties and Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corporation (MNR) sponsor The Open Space Pace at Freehold Raceway September 20, 2014. The event begins with a 10:00 am parade of... Read more

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at organization or firm and where you are based.) Sheila S. Dey, JDExecutive DirectorWestern Manufactured Housing Communities Association Read more

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

by Dennis Hill We could name more than 5 reasons why manufacturers and exhibiting companies as well 5 reasons why attendees from the ranks of retailers, communities, builder developers, installers and... Read more

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

ZigOn Qualities of Success

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

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

Four Ingredients for MH Sales Success

Four Ingredients for MH Sales Success

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

Classifieds

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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