George Allen / EducateMHC Blog Mobile Home & Land Lease Community Advocate & Expert

January 27, 2023

Where to Begin?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 8:49 am

Blog Posting # 725, Copyright 27 January 2023. EducateMHC

Dual Perspectives. HUD-Code manufactured housing is federally-regulated, factory-built affordable housing and land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, historian, trend documenter, and text resource for these business models. To input this blog or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (The only property management certification text!); SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & official record of annual MH production since 1955; and my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven. All excellent resources for community owners/operators in the U.S. & Canada.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus member of MHI, & RV/MH Hall of Fame


Where to Begin?

Did you ‘do’ the Louisville MHShow last week (18-20 January)? If so, did you notice? 30 new HUD-Code homes were promised in advance press, but only 16+/- in place. Furthermore, the highest number of chattel capital lenders present (i.e. 18) since 1998 – the peak year of the last MH production renascence (i.e. 372,943+/-homes). Nary any exhibits by land lease community portfolio owners/operators, but several real estate brokerages. Also a few ‘land development’ firms looking for work – and these were encouraged during the manufacturers’ panel presentation on Wednesday, when a panelist declared ‘Land lease community development is back!’, but failed to mention how ‘local regulatory barriers to affordable housing’ continue to be one of our industry’s most persistent bugaboos, and now that interest rates are rising, ‘good luck’ finding reasonable land development loans anytime soon! And there was more. Read on…

Did you know there’s a National Manufactured Housing Awareness program in the making? Well there is, and it has been evolving throughout year 2022. Under the present volunteer leadership of consultant Ken Corbin, 20 committee members met for lunch at a local Louisville restaurant Tuesday afternoon, to fine tune Thursday’s Awareness Panel at the MHShow. And how’d that go? Ken and his three panelists (Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI; Jennifer Hall, Mississippi; and Jim Ayotte, Florida) kept an audience of more than 100 ‘in their seats’ for nearly 1 ½ hours, reviewing market research and introducing outreach plans working in MS & FL. A survey form was distributed, polling audience opinions ranking importance of various marketing factors. Here’s a summary of some of ‘What’s important to you?’ responses from 72 completed forms: Affordable housing = 38 responses; Consumer Awareness = 35; Local Government = 28; Home Quality = 24; Lead Generation =21; and five lesser factors. What’s next?

Continue to follow this weekly blog to stay abreast of developments during the months ahead!

Scott Jackson (1955 – 2023)

ARC or Affordable Residential Communities, Casa Feliz – the investment firm, and ‘the man with the white mane and beard’ are three ways Scott Jackson’s friends and associates in the land lease community business will long remember him.

Scott died on 6 January 2023 at his ranch in Kiowa Colorado. There will be a memorial service in his behalf on Saturday, January 28th between 3 & 4 PM, at Cielo Castle Pines in Castle Rock, CO.

His claim to fame? Quoting from an online obituary: “In 1995 Scott (founded) Affordable Residential Communities (‘ARC’)…the company was taken public in 2004. In all, the company acquired over 380 communities and managed a portfolio of (more than) 70,000 home sites…”

My relationship with Scott Jackson? Visited ARC offices in Denver around year 2000, where I met his executive staff – all similarly attired. Over the years, I ‘mystery Shopped’ most of the firm’s land lease communities, and described the ‘ARC Treatment’ of new property acquisitions in Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, e.g. property names changed, replacement of all signage with same color scheme, repaved streets, improved infrastructure, and more. Scott was a keynote presenter at International Networking Roundtables – where he regaled his audience with ‘war stories’, lessons learned, and memorable experiences. Last time I visited with Scott was at the Louisville MHShow a few years ago.

The only thing missing here is a tell-all book by Scott, describing the meteoric growth of ARC, ‘that auction’ in Chicago, and phoenix-like rise of Casa Feliz since the turn of the century.

Scott’s passing reminds me of other notable but now deceased pioneers and entrepreneurs of the ‘mobile home park’ business: Tom Horner, Jr (KS); Ron Richardson (NV); Darrell & Harrell Cohron, (IN)**; Kristian Jensen, Sr., (CT)*; Boris Vukovich, (CO); George Goldman, (IL); Mel Fath, (IN)*; Curt Hames, (IA)*; Maggie Stephenson, (IN)*; Bob Bross, (MO); Maurice Wilder, (FL); Warren Huddleston, (IL)*; Dr. Matthew Jenkins, (CA); Myles Sampson, (PA); and my longtime mentor, Bud Meyer, (IN). Seven of these 15 individuals are members of the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame*, and six authored autobiographies. I interacted with these folk and easily recall interesting, humorous, and educational tales about each one. I doubt I’ll get to pen all those stories.


DID YOU KNOW ?

Today, 27 January 2023 marks the 50th anniversary of the formal end of the Vietnam War! Yes, this is important to me because I served 13 months there during years 1968 and 1969. You can read about my combat adventures there and after returning home, in my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven. Available via EducateMHC.com

Recently came across some very interesting, albeit correcting, statistics relative to this conflict. Source? Marine and Vietnam War veteran, Mackubin Thomas Owens, who served at the Naval War College in Newport, RI, and the Institute of World Politics.

• 30% of those who died in Vietnam were from the lowest income group, but
• 26% were from the highest.
• 86% of those who died during the war were white, and
• 12.5 were black (in an age group In which blacks comprised 13.1% of the population)
• Two thirds of those who served in Vietnam were volunteers, and
• Volunteers accounted for 77% of all combat deaths.

Point? “Vietnam was not a ‘class war’, as the liberal, aging antiwar crowd has commonly and unceasingly claimed for decades” – since the end of that conflict.

Without a doubt, serving in Vietnam as a U.S. Marine lieutenant, was a pivotal point in my life, and those of my immediate family members. For a decade, after returning home, I was unable to cry when appropriate, and for longer than that, was mirthful during funerals of friends and family. All that is behind me now. And I’m grateful my son, grandson, and 18 year old great grandson do not have to stand in the line of fire in defense of our great nation. Semper Fi! GFA

GFA/cc






January 22, 2023

Who’s the Mystery Community Portfolio Owner?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 4:32 pm

Blog Posting # 724, Copyright 20 January 2023. EducateMHC

Two Perspectives. HUD-Code manufactured housing is federally-regulated factory-built affordable housing. Land lease communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities & ‘mobile home parks’) are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, historian, trend spotter, and education resource for these business models. To input this blog or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, &r visit EducateMHC.com to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (property management certification text); SWAN SONG, history of land lease communities & record of annual MH production since 1955; and my autobiography, from SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven. Apt resources for community owner’s!

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus Member MHI, & RV/MH Hall of Fame


Who’s the Mystery Community Portfolio Owner?

Last week’s blog posting (#724) challenged you to identify one of the most talented owners/operators of land lease community portfolios to invest in the realty asset class. Well, here’s the answer:

Dr. Matthew Jenkins of Long Beach, CA., during his long and distinguished career, served our nation as a Captain in the U.S. Air Force; private practice veterinarian; real estate mogul (i.e. portfolio of land lease communities located in more than a half dozen states); local philanthropist (i.e. funding education of many minority children); and, during 2013 served as interim president of his alma mater, Tuskegee University. He and his wife of 61 years, Roberta, founded their real estate investment firm, SDD Enterprises; and later, the Matthew & Roberta Jenkins Family Foundation, awarding scholarships and grants to deserving students, institutions, and local organizations. During the latter part of his long career, Dr. Jenkins authored a self-help text titled Positive Possibilities – which I’ll review in a future blog posting. Dr. Matthew Jenkins passed from this life on 24 September 2019.

Carolyn and I met Matthew and Roberta Jenkins during the early 1980s, when he purchased the large (i.e. 500 rental homesites) Lantern Hills Village ‘mobile home park’ I owned with partners, in Mooresville, IN. While our time together was brief, sharing some meals together, we long appreciated their friendliness and fairness in business matters.

In my opinion, Dr. Matthew Jenkins is a deserving but unrecognized and unsung hero of the manufactured housing industry! Why? Because he quietly went about his business of real estate investment, in time became a renowned education philanthropist in his home city, and shared personal ‘lessons learned’ in a tome still available on amazon.com Perhaps one of these days I’ll reconnect with his son Dexter, and take steps to nominate Matthew for induction into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.
Anyone Else Out There an NCIS Fan?

I am. And even now, with Mark Harmon as ‘Gibbs’ out of the character lineup, I watch most episodes on TV. How ‘bout Gibbs’ Rules? Ever wonder about them? Well I have a detailed list of 35 ‘rules’ – though some say there’re 69. Here’re some that lend themselves to application by owners/operators and professional property managers of land lease communities:

• Rule # 1. Never screw over your partner.
• Rule # 3. Never be unreachable.
• Rule # 5. You don’t waste good.
• Rule # 8. Never take anything for granted.
• Rule # 15. Always work as a team.
• Rule # 28. When you need help, ask
• Rule # 51. Sometimes you’re wrong.

And there’re a few rules outside this norm:

• Rule # 23. Never mess with a Marine’s coffee if you want to live. (Especially one who drinks his coffee out of a canteen cup that is never cleaned. True story.)
• Rule # 9. Never go anywhere without a knife. (Kinda old-fashioned in today’s woke society, but good advice nonetheless)
• Rule # 12. Never date a coworker. (We’ve all seen the consequences of abusing this rule.)

The above material is quoted from TV Guide Magazine Special, dated March 2022, p. 64.

January 12, 2023

Character in New Adventure Novel…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:34 pm

Blog Posting # 723, Copyright 13 January 2023. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, and education resource for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (the property management certification text); SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & only official record of annual MH production since 1955; and, my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven. These three books belong in every land lease community owner’s library!

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, Emeritus Member MHI, & RV/MH Hall of Fame


Character in New Adventure Novel…

“George Allen: USMC Colonel, CAG of the USS Teddy Roosevelt. A veteran of WWIII (served with the President) and an Ace fighter pilot, he now commands the air combat group. With rising tensions between US and China in anticipation of the transfer of power, the carrier group is sent from Pearl Harbor as a show of force. A series of accidents and encounters (has) him taking charge of the expedition, facing the challenges of command, and trying to prevent an escalation of hostilities.”

This is the way I’m introduced in longtime land lease community owner/operator Charles Irion’s 17th murder mystery adventure novel. There are already plans for it to be released as a feature-length movie. I’ve seen the trailer (mini-movie) and it’s full of action scenes. Have followed Chuck’s budding writing career for nearly two decades, often reviewing his newest releases in the Allen Letter. This is the first time he’s written me into one of his fictional adventure tales.

For a complete list of Charles Irion’s titles, visit www.charlesirion.com And while you’re there, or at amazon.com, consider ordering a copy of Murdered By Gods – Timbuktu. I’ve read it and it is one exciting ‘read’. GFA


Mike Pence’s autobiography, So Help Me God

Most of you reading these lines will remember Mike Pence as vice president under President Donald Trump; Hoosiers remember him as governor of the state of Indiana; and I remember him as a guy I knew at church in Greenwood, IN., before he went off to Congress.

Recently finished reading his autobiography, So Help Me God. There is much to absorb and consider within those 542 pages; from Mike’s young and formative years in central Indiana, through his political disappointments and triumphs, and globe-traveling years as vice president of the United States of America. And the intimate sharing of his experiences and thoughts during the January 6th demonstration in downtown Washington, DC, alone, makes this a worthy ‘read’.

Beyond all that there were a few memories and memorable quotations that touched me.

“…during a visit at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana”, speaking of Pete Buttigieg (former mayor of South Bend, IN., now Secretary of Transportation), “I think Pete is a good public servant, a patriot, and I look forward to continuing to work with him.” (&) “But Mayor Pete’s attitude changed dramatically after he announced his campaign for president in January 2019; he suddenly adopted the caricature of me and of Indiana held by many of his West Coast donors. Politics can do that to you.” P.115

Know how I frequently encourage mature and successful businessmen and women to early pen their memoirs (i.e. ‘true short stories’), later to be collected as their autobiography? Well later in Mike’s book, when talking of former President George H.W. Bush, he recollects how his son Michael, now a U.S. Marine aviator, made his first tail hook (sic) landing on the aircraft carrier bearing Bush’s name. Mike sent President Bush a photo of that exciting moment, which was soon returned with a personal and encouraging note, in part: ‘I wish you many CAVU days ahead.’ (CAVU, an old aviation acronym for ‘ceiling and visibility unlimited’). Mike’s concluding and ‘telling’ observation? “Bush never wrote an autobiography, so the story of his life in his own words is spread out across the countless letters he wrote, including the one he sent my son.” Pp. 327 & 328. A missed presidential opportunity.

Late in the book, describing his speech writing early morning 6 January, Mike shares, “For me there is no good writing, just good rewriting, and I labored over my words to make sure they conveyed my position clearly and my determination to fulfill my oath under the Constitution that day.” P.456.


A Mystery For You!

I recently reconnected, via an online obituary, with a business acquaintance from 40 years past. Here are your hints as to his identity. He was the only racial minority-owner, in my experience, of a portfolio of land lease communities spread through more than a half dozen states. His obituary identifies him as a USAF officer veteran, veterinarian, real estate mogul, philanthropist, author, and 2013 interim president of his university alma mater.

If this mystery intrigues you, be sure to read next week’s blog posting (# 724) on or around 20 January 2023. At that time I’ll identify this successful, but very private, community owner – the name of his firm, title of the self-help book he authored, and more.


January 9, 2023

Where Will You Be on 19 January 2023?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 2:36 pm

Blog Posting # 722. Copyright 6 January 2023. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, and education resource for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (the property management certification text); SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & only official record of annual MH production since 1955; and, my autobiography, from SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus Member


Where Will You Be on 19 January 2023?

Me? At the Louisville MHShow, 18-20 January at the Kentucky State Fair Grounds Exhibition Center. Specifically, plan to be at the ‘Manufactured Housing Awareness’ (or words to that effect) Panel Presentation. This will be your ground floor opportunity to learn more about, and maybe decide to participate in the emerging national brand promotion program for our industry and realty asset class. More to the point, ‘the question’ really is: ‘Can You afford to miss this opportunity?’

There’s plenty of historic precedent for this sort of informal, national call to action. Think back to 1993, when 19 land lease community owners/operators convened in Indianapolis, IN., to lay the groundwork for what became the National Communities Council division within MHI – the new and much-needed national advocate for community education and investment.*1

2011. The year when more than a dozen land lease community owners/operators from throughout the Southeast, met in Atlanta, GA., to lay the groundwork for what became the annual SECO Conference – the new and much-needed meeting forum for community education and networking.*2

And there were several other regional and national venues since the ill-fated turn of the century when new HUD-Code home production plummeted from 372,943 units in 1998 to only 48,789 in 2009 and beyond. All these supported transitioning new home sales from independent (street) MHRetailers and ‘company stores’ to direct in-community placement, marketing, and financing. Think ‘community series homes’, Two Days of Plant Tours & Sales Seminars, and use of lease option as a financing alternative within land lease communities.*3

See you in Louisville, KY., on 19 January 2023 at the MH Awareness panel presentation!

End Notes.

1. For more information on this subject, read The First 20 Years, authored by the late Bruce Savage. Available from Educatemhc.com

2. For more information about SECO, contact Spencer Roane, MHC., via spencer@roane.com Also source re: lease option in land lease communities.

3. ‘independent (street) MHRetailer’, trade term coined by consultant Wm. Carr. And for ‘community series homes’, read SWAN SONG, history of LLCommunities & only official record of MH production from 1955 to present day. Available from Educatemhc.com

Finally, after 16 Years…

In year 2022, it appears we will come close to, but probably not eclipse, the 117,510 new HUD-Code homes shipped during year 2006. Year to date, through November 2022, we shipped 106,486 new HUD-Code homes. And if we equal November’s total of 7,470 during December (I don’t think we will), then this 2022 YTD total could swell to 113,956, a scant 3500 homes fewer than shipped during year 2006.

Bottom line? Year 2022 production demonstrates we are on the slow roll comeback trail, once again eclipsing 100,000 units/year (for second year in a row), but probably not exceeding 200,000 units/year ever again! Do I hear an uproar of protest? I surely hope so! This has 100,000 deficit has a lot to do with why dozens of us are convening in Louisville, KY., in a couple weeks, to plan and kick off some sort of MH brand awareness program designed to sell more HUD-Code homes.

For more information, google the Louisville MHShow. For more information about the panel presentation, reach out to kcorbin@calkencorbin.com


RV/MH Hall of Fame Class of 2023

Manufactured housing industry (to be) inductees include:

• Paula Reeves from Alabama. Finance category
• Knute Chauncey from Georgia. Supplier category
• Marc Lifset from New York. Supplier/Association category
• Don Sharp from Indianan. Finance category
• Darlene Gardener from Nebraska. Retailer category

And over on the recreational vehicle side we find:

• Ron Breymier from Indiana. Association category. Note. Ron heads the IMHA/RVIC in Indiana, which serves both industries as well as campgrounds.

Plan no to attend the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame induction banquet in early August 2023. If you’ve not attended in the past, know that this is where ‘anyone who’s anyone in the MH & RV industries’ makes it a point to be present and seen among their business and social peers.

For more information, reach out to the RV/MH Hall of Fame via (

December 29, 2022

Final Zoom Call

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 7:36 am

Blog Posting # 721. Copyright 30 December 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, and education resource for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (the property management certification text); SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities & only official record of annual MH production since 1955; & my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus Member


Final Zoom Call on 12 January 2023

Plans are coming together for the 19 January panel presentation during the widely popular Louisville MHShow, 18-20 January 2023, at the state fairgrounds exhibit hall, just south of downtown Louisville, KY.

Next pre-panel prep sessions? 12 January 2023 = final Zoom call at 4PM EST. If you desire to participate – or just listen in, reach out ASAP to Ken Corbin via kcorbin@calkencorbin.com &

Pre-panel luncheon meeting on 17 January 2023 at 2PM. RSVP is important. Need $ sponsors!

Make it a point now to plan to be present on 19 January 2023 for the aforesaid panel presentation regarding the evolving MH Industry Awareness program. Your input is valued!

You already know my thoughts on this timely and important matter. All I’ll add here, is something a retired MH industry executive shared with me last week: ‘We need to bring back a national female spokesperson (for our industry)’, to make guest appearances on national morning TV shows across the U.S. – telling how manufactured housing’s schtick (‘one’s special trait, interest, activity’) makes it housing’s Secret Choice! The Secret? HUD-Code manufactured housing costs less than half, per square foot, what site-built housing costs!

And there’s historical precedent for having a female spokesperson representing our industry. Go to the RV/MH Hall of Fame member directory and search for the late Lisa Drake Conner.

Finally, I plan to be present at the Louisville MHShow next month. Make it a point to say ‘Hi’ to me, and let me know what topics you’d like to see me research and write about during 2023.

By the way, just learned on 28 December, that at least one of the Big Three C manufacturers of HUD-Code homes has lowered the base price on many of their models by between $1,000 and $2000 per unit. Now, that’s some good news going into the New Year 2023!


Christmas Eve 54 Years Past

This letter, lightly edited, is the one I wrote home on Christmas Eve 54 years ago. I was a U.S. Marine lieutenant serving at the Vandegrift forward combat base, formerly known as LZ Stud, just a few miles east of the infamous Khe Sanh combat base in northern I Corps, South Vietnam.

24 December 1968

Dearest Carolyn,

‘Tis the night before Christmas, and all through the bunker, not a Marine is stirring, just a half dozen rats a-scurrying.’ That’s the way it is right now. We’re all sitting down here quietly writing to our loved ones; a little later it will get noisier as the Gunny starts mixing holiday drinks. We even have canned egg nog.

And me, what have I to look forward to tomorrow? Getting up bright and early as usual, for the general’s briefing. Then I’ll be winging my way out to landing zone (‘LZ’) Dick, to rig several 105mm howitzers for helolifting back here to Vandegrift combat base (‘VCB’). And hopefully, sometime later in the day, I’ll have an opportunity to open my Christmas presents.

Received quite a bit of mail today. No letters from you though, but I did receive a welcome jar of nuts you sent me; they’re half gone already!

At the general’s briefing today I found out more about yesterday’s rocket attack. Seems we were actually hit with several 140mm rockets rather than the smaller 120mm ones. I’ll enclose a picture in case you don’t recall what it is I’m talking about. Casualties? We had one KIA (killed in action) and 20 WIAs (wounded in action) during the barrage.

We moved quite a bit of gear off the LZ today. Much of it was Christmas mail for the Troops, after we caught up on priority resupply to mountaintop FSBs (fire support bases), as we hadn’t been able to get to them during the past couple days.

Late in the afternoon we were treated to a little Christmas ‘color’. Four Huies (gunship-helicopters) flew over the LZ pad in line, trailing plumes of red and green smoke. Wish I’d had my camera in the control tower then.

Well darling, it goes without saying, this holiday season is going to be a very lonely one for us. It would be a most wonderful Christmas if I could be returning home to you girls! What more can I say darling; this Christmas Ever 1968, my heart just cries out in loneliness for you and Susie!

You can’t say Marines don’t know how to celebrate a holiday. Here at our combat base, just miles inside ‘no man’s land’ we have a Christmas tree with twinkling light on a nearby hill. And just a few minutes ago, the sky over Vandegrift was wholly lit up with the burst and flames of red, green, and white pyrotechnics, flares, etc….really a beautiful and nostalgic scene for all of us.

Well love, I guess this’ll have to do for tonight. I really feel I’d like to keep writing and writing, but I have a splitting headache. In any event, I want you and Susie to know all my love is with you during this Christmas season, and I long to return home to you very soon.

All My Love,

George


December 21, 2022

ZOOM did not go BOOM

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:57 am

Blog Posting # 720. Copyright 23 December 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ are the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, and education resource for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry (the property management certification text); SWAN SONG, a history of land lease communities; & my autobiography: From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus Member

Seasons Greetings to All!

Here’s wishing you & yours a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, & Prosperous New Year!

Don’t know ‘bout you, but here in the Midwest we’re bracing for a winter storm with subzero temperatures this weekend. Today I’ll be stocking kindling and firewood for our fireplace, and ensuring water pipes are protected from freezing, e.g. unhook summertime water hoses.

In any event, know I miss and frequently think of my many friends in the manufactured housing industry even though I’ve been retired for 1 ½ years. Hope to see many of you during the Louisville MHShow, 18-20 January 2023, in Louisville, KY. Was hopeful there’d be serious movement toward launch of a national manufactured housing advertising program during this year’s show. Now I’m not so sure that will happen. If truly interested in such a needed movement, talk to me while at the show or share your thoughts via gfa7156@aol.com

Our inventory of my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven is dwindling. If you haven’t read it yet, but are interested, order your copy from EducateMHC.com Some tell me they were surprised to learn I’d been trained as an ADM (atomic demolitions technician) while in Vietnam – ready to fly by helo into N. Vietnam if the NVA came across the DMZ (demilitarized zone). Also that, as a Marine lieutenant, I led a fully armed (with live ammunition) squad into a flooded U.S. city in 1973, to restore law and order during the middle of the night. And more….

And for that matter, if you own and operate one or more land lease communities in the U.S. and Canada, you need a copy of Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry in every property. This is the 8th edition of Mobile Home Park Management I first authored way back in 1988. Even contains dozens of copy machine-ready property management forms. Also order from EducateMHC.com

ZOOM did not go BOOM

OK, why do I doubt there’ll be “serious movement toward launch of a national manufactured housing advertising program during this year’s Louisville MHShow?’

Well, I participated in a second Zoom meeting on the 15th of December. While 22 individuals are identified as being members of the committee working to this end, only a dozen showed up, and the majority of them were manufactured housing association executives, and only one or two HUD-Code manufacturer representatives.

What was accomplished? In my opinion, not very much – just a lot of sharing local housing market (statewide) ‘war stories’ about programs, testimonials, and campaigns that worked in those locales. Yes, ‘helpful to know’ information, but only if worked into a national strategy designed to promote manufactured housing product awareness and sales. Personally, for such a major program to succeed, there’ll need to be a charismatic heavy-hitter leading the way, supported by the ‘Big Three C’ HUD-Code housing manufacturers and both national trade advocates in Washington, DC. To date, that’s not what I’m seeing. Kevin Clayton, Mark Yost, and Bill Boor, where are you?

Looking ahead. A final Zoom call is scheduled for 12 January 2023, with invitations to participate sent out during the week of 19 December 2022. Seriously interested in becoming involved? Reach out to consultant Ken Corbin. Then, on 17 January 2023, there’s a pre-show luncheon planned for 2PM at the Crowne Plaza hotel. And on the 19th of January 2023, at the Louisville MHShow, there’ll be a panel presentation manned by moderator Ken Corbin, assisted by Dr. Leslie Gooch of MHI, and two state MHAssociation executives.


GOOD NEWS?

During the 40 years I owned and operated GFA Management dba PMN Publishing, I divided my time fee managing land lease communities (and ones we owned), freelance consulting for other owners (e.g. Mystery Shopping & covert assignments), and communicating with peers (via Allen Letter and the Allen Confidential newsletter). So I was pretty much ‘in the know’, though with little time to dig deeper or broader in support of my writing.

Now however, in retirement, I’m far less ‘in the know’, but I have time to dig deeper and broader before writing, What follows is an example of how industry news comes to me these days.

In recent conversations with long time owners/operators of land lease community portfolios I kept picking up on a thread of information indicating new HUD-Code manufactured homes, in some if not many local housing markets, were costing less (wholesale) than during previous months. So I asked around and here’s what I learned:

‘There have been new home price fluctuations. The price of most new homes purchased nearly doubled during the pandemic, and lead times to get homes delivered grew from four to six weeks out to six months, oft due to supply chain problems and persistent staffing issues. However, around the middle of this year, new home prices began to drop – not to pre-pandemic levels, but a good 20+/- percentage decrease. Also, new home deliveries moved back toward pre-pandemic levels. Why? Resolution of some if not most, supply chain problems and staffing issues. But that’s not likely the whole story. In general, Independent (street) MHRetailers, returning to the market, refused to carry the heavy product inventories they did in the past – cutting back on factory orders. And of late there have been increases in interest rates.’

And the beat goes on. A good barometer of where the manufactured housing industry, and land lease communities, are today and where they might be headed, should be apparent during the upcoming Louisville MHShow. So, good reason to be present. Make your voice known about the need for, and way to plan, a national brand awareness advertising program – and get the lowdown on information to help you enter into 2023 well informed toward profitability. See you there! GFA


December 16, 2022

YES, ‘The Sleeping Giant (MH) Is A-Stirring!’

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 8:32 am

Blog Posting # 719. Copyright 16 December 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, and textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com, or visit EducateMHC.com to order From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven book.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus member

YES, ‘The Sleeping Giant (MH) Is A-Stirring!’

There was a well-attended Zoom meeting last Thursday, and another one scheduled for this week. The central topic, both times – was & will be, the loosely-described ‘Defining Our Image’ task force presentation scheduled for 19 January at the Louisville MHShow. Specifically, is the manufactured housing industry looking towards an Awareness, Lead Generation, or ??? campaign? To that end, there’ll be a luncheon on 17 January, likely at the MHShow host hotel in Louisville. Watch this blog for more information during next couple weeks.

By the way, ‘The Big Three C’ housing manufacturers have voiced support of this emerging program!

As you might suspect, there’s quite a bit of verbiage flying around, offering thoughts as to what might be included, excluded, and otherwise. A recent email suggests, wisely, that “,,,there has to be a definable return on investment we can measure….” Will this be accomplished via polls before, during and after a campaign, or simply the volume of new home sales?

My input to date? For such a whole-industry program to be successful, IMHO, there needs to be a charismatic heavy-hitter executive involved in the leadership of this initiative. At some point it’s likely MHI and MHARR will become involved, so the leadership issue is and will be critical.

And the a-stirring continues. Send me your input via gfa7156@aol.com


One of MH’s Oldest Families Loses a Member

Adriane Christina DeRose owned and managed Carefree Homes, a land lease community and independent MHRetailer, in Pendleton, Indiana, since 2008. During the past 15 years she served as state chairperson of IMHA/RVIC (Indiana), and as Capitol City Chapter president. Her firm was also a member of the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’).

Adriane, during the 1990s, was a member of Mud Creek Players (Indianapolis), participating as actress and director. She appeared in leading production roles in the Philadelphia Story, Little Shop of Horrors, Arsenic and Old Lace, Crimes of the Heart. And her thespian passion also found her in the lead role of Annie Get Your Gun, and she starred in a 1987 film, Two Wrongs Make a Right.

Adriane is survived by her mother, her partner Dennis Jourdan, and several siblings.

Adriane is also the youngest daughter of the late and legendary Robert A. DeRose, founder of DeRose homes, an early manufacturer of ‘mobile homes’, then manufactured homes. Robert DeRose was a 40 year member of MHMA-MHI, and the first manufacturer to install ‘house style’ bathrooms in MHs in 1949. He then pioneered forced air heating and prefinished metal siding exteriors for this type factory-built housing. He also developed the Carefree land lease community mentioned earlier. Robert DeRose was inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame in 1988 (Elkhart, IN.).

Victor DeRose, an attorney, and one of Robert’s sons, continues to be recognized as a HUD-Code manufactured housing expert and resource to national advocates for the industry.

What’s so special about this family’s legacy? Simple. How many successful MH businessmen and women do you know who’ve actively participated in two or more major segments of the manufactured housing industry – including land lease communities, over an extended period of time? I can think of three – and like the DeRose family, all have passed onto new ownership, There’s Charles Fanaro with his Saddlebrook Farms in Grayslake, IL. & DWG manufacturing firm in Indiana. And Commodore Homes, in IN., before its recent sale to CAVCO. Before Jim Clayton sold to Berkshire-Hathaway, he manufactured and sold HUD-Code homes, and owned more than a dozen land lease communities. Who does this today? No one I can think of right now.


FACEBOOK HUMOR…

Picture Santa Claus and an average-looking middle-aged man sitting side by side on a bench. The man looks at Santa and says, “Hey, last time I saw you…you brought me socks and shaving cream in Kunda Har Province.” Santa, without pause, turns to the man and replies, “Marine recon, two tours in Nam.” Man responds, “Who’d a-thought, Santa was an operator!”

Well, it’s funny to those of us who’ve spent Christmas on a foreign battlefield. It reminds me of the photo on my office wall showing a bare-chested Marine with belts of ammo across his shoulder, cigarette dangling from his mouth, as he carries an M60 machine gun at low port. The caption? ‘The old man who shuffles around town with the Vietnam veteran hat on was at one time more bad ass than you will ever be!’






December 9, 2022

Responses to ‘Decline of Mainstream News Media’

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:49 pm

Blog Posting # 718. Copyright 9 December 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’ comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, and textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with Educatemhc, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com or visit educatemhc.com to order From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven book.

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus member


Responses to ‘Decline of Mainstream News Media’


Every once in a while this blog hits a nerve among its’ hundreds of readers. And last week’s ‘The Decline of Mainstream News Media’ did just that. Posting was delayed from last Friday to this Monday (12/5). And within an hour after posting, email responses started pouring in (correct word choice there, rather than trickling). During the past two days I’ve received more than a half dozen commentaries on the headline topic. Six plus? Yes, in blog parlance that’s a heavy response, as usual weekly volume is usually just one or two missives at most.

So, what did people have to say? In no particular order of priority….

One corporate executive tells of his transitions among mainstream news media this way. “I had USA Today delivered to my house for about 15 years. Then, in 2016, for the first time, they endorsed a presidential candidate: Hillary Clinton. While there was probably a legitimate reason someone might prefer her over Trump, it wasn’t enough to break the paper’s historical precedence by doing so. I called and told them to cancel my subscription. They offered me six months free, and I declined that too. Bad news is worse than no news.” And he went on to say…

“I take the Wall Street Journal now. I find it’s moderate politically, though it does lean right or libertarian on the editorial page. They continue to have articles which continue to say there was no fraud in the 2020 election, which tells me the writers are leftists and that management allows them to repeat that obvious falsehood. There’s legitimate argument there wasn’t enough fraud in the 2020 election to make a difference in the outcome, but not legitimate argument there was no fraud.”

From a Midwestern retired manufactured housing executive: “FOX on computer, then local newspaper for local stuff, and that’s it for me! I have not looked at CNN or MSNBC forever.

A more detailed news media litany from a veteran land lease community owner back east.
“You mention CNN and MSNSBC. What about FOX, ABC, CBS, PBS? Are they declining in viewership? And (you say) USA Today slants to the left. I don’t read it so I’ll take your word for it. Epoch Times – not familiar with it. Stinted left or right?” Response. FOX continues to grow, outpacing all other cable networks. The Epoch Times contains conservative views from cover to cover.

Also he offers this timely and salient observation: “Maybe it’s a generational thing. Over 75 years olds see it one way, while the under 35s see it another.” What do you think? And this industry veteran went on at length describing how much the search for TRUTH has come to divide individuals, families, and friends; and asks: “Can we blame it all on the news or social media? Have our minds turned to mush and we’re unable to think for ourselves anymore?”

And the youngest of the responders surprised me with this advice: “…to get news about a country, read a source from another country. I don’t bother with CNN, FOX, and MSNBC, any of those. Nothing on TV in fact. Reuters is my go to – it’s very bland, just like I like it. Highly fact-based versus opinion-based. Also BBC (UK), France 24 (France), DW (Germany), & SCMP (Hong Kong). And when I want opinion, I opt for NPR (US), NYTimes (US), Guardian (UK), FOX News (US), Al Jazeera (Qatar), Sputnik (Russia), HB (Ukraine). And I recently added the National Review (US).” I’ve not fact-checked any of these alleged mainstream news media.

Yet another industry influencer, working nationwide, described “One of my theories is mainstream news media declined because of the political slant of all news sources. When you and I were young (and Conestoga wagons roamed the plains), we watched the news and then formed a political opinion. Today, people form an opinion first and then watch a news source to justify their views. One of the reasons I read left-leaning sources is to challenge my own personal views.”

My parting comment. Somehow the Indianapolis Star read this blog and quickly offered this deal: “Sign up for $1 for the first month, then just about $1 a day for the next two years. NO added fees, no extra charges.” A pleasant surprise yes, but frankly, I’m content with my present daily diet of USA Today and a local rag, followed by the New York Times (Sunday only), and my subscription to the weekly newspaper, the Epoch Times. What’s your diet? Gfa7156@aol.com



YES, ‘The Sleeping Giant (MH) Is A-Stirring!’

Watch this space next week for a possible update relative to the Sleeping Giant focus in last week’s blog (#716). There was a zoom meeting on this subject earlier this week, but not enough time for me to write it into this particular blog posting.

GFA/cc







December 5, 2022

The Decline of Mainstream News Media

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 7:08 am

Blog Posting # 717. Copyright 5 December 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, and textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email: gfa7156@aol.com or visit educatemhc.com

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI Emeritus member


The Decline of Mainstream News Media


How do you get your news? Print media, cable & local television, radio, and or the internet? Where print media is concerned I’ve found a combination that ‘works’ for me. I read USA Today daily (despite its’ liberal slant) and a local rag (the Daily Journal), the New York Times (Gasp!) Sunday only, and the rapidly growing Epoch Times weekly. All this because our local state newspaper, the Indianapolis Star – besides its’ left-leaning political slant, has become a billing nightmare, charging extra when subscription invoices are paid by personal check instead of online, and more subscriber affronts. Reading USA Today and New York Times reminds me, with each and every issue, why I deplore the decline of mainstream media in society today. I think to myself: OK, then the truth must be 180 degrees different from what’s printed here!

Recently read a confirming – of my opinion – article on the decline of mainstream news media (a.k.a. MSM) in SALVO magazine. Titled ‘The Signaling Class’ by Denyse O’Leary, its’ subtitle laying the groundwork for what’s to follow: ‘Today’s Mainstream Media Exist to Disseminate Approved Thought’. Leading off, is a supporting collection of performance statistics worth knowing and noting:

“…CNN’s ratings are down 27 percent from last year, and MSNBC’s are down 23 percent. Print media have probably fared worse. A recent study showed, in the U.S., a country of 332 million people, no newspaper has a print circulation greater than one million. Only nine US newspapers today have more than 100,000 subscribers, and over a quarter have ceased to publish in the last 15 years.” In my subdivision neighborhood alone, among the 25 or so families I know well, only two of us even take (read) the daily newspaper!

“A related, more ominous decline is in public trust. In 2021, public trust in media, as surveyed by Gallup, plunged to the second lowest point ever recorded, only four percentage points above the all-time low in 2016. The US ranks last in 46 countries surveyed for trust in media.” Is this even a surprise, as MSM avoids reporting news like illegal immigrants flooding the US southern border, underutilization of national energy resources, and on and on?

“This year, Pew Research found that 65 percent of nearly 12,000 journalists surveyed felt they did a good job on the most important stories. But only 35 percent of the public agreed. Thirty percent is a pretty significant gap, and of course shows up in profitability. CNN’s profits, for example, are expected to dip below $1 billion for the first time since 2016. Newspapers are hurting too.” But not hurting enough for them to return to professional journalism in their pages.

And the article goes on from there, offering this tidbit: “…some observers cite the fact that journalists as a group are much more progressive than the public.” Do ya think?

How ‘bout you? Any suggestions for how to get factual, timely news from one or more of the MSN platforms? I’d like to know. Send your musings to gfa7156@aol.com



‘Manufactured Housing Action’ – On the Move!


A newsletter distributed (11/30/22) by Manufactured Housing Action (‘MHAction’) describes how tenant activist members made recent visits to the White House, Illinois (Springfield, Peoria, Bloomington, and Urbana-Champaign), New York (re: rent justification law) and Michigan, to share the organization’s “…perspective on the predatory business model affecting manufactured housing residents….”

Land lease community owners/operators have only themselves to blame for this sorry state of affairs. Not all owners/operators, mainly the ones who’ve acquired their properties and portfolios of communities during the past few years – and then, despite cautions otherwise, raised rental homesite rates excessively. Result? A wave of landlord-tenant legislation and threats of regulatory oversight not suffered during the past 30+/- years.

I’ve suggested several measures, in past blog postings, how to address this serious and timely abuse of homeowners/site lessees in land lease communities. Not going to do it again here today. But if you really wish to know, contact me via gfa7156@aol.com and I’ll share the ‘formula’ with you.

GFA/cc


November 17, 2022

‘Go Along to Get along’ OR ‘Aggressive Opposition’

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 2:31 pm

Blog Posting # 715. Copyright 18 November 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!
EductaeMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, and textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email gfa7156@aol.com or visit educatemhc.com

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master, RV/MH Hall of Fame, & MHI emeritus ember


‘Go Along to Get along’ OR ‘Aggressive Opposition’

When I began my manufactured housing career in 1978 I expected to learn a raft of new trade terminology, rules of thumb, helpful formulae, ‘tricks of the trade’, acronyms and abbreviations. And that’s precisely what happened – then and during the nearly five decades that followed. Still learning! In the paragraphs to follow I’ll share just some of those Lessons Learned along the way. Ready? Here goes:

Have you wondered why, in a relatively small segment of the U.S. housing industry (i.e. factory-built homes), it appears necessary to have not one but two national trade or advocacy organizations? Well, we do: Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’). MHI has been around for more than 60 years; MHARR was formed during 1985 by former members of MHI. But why? Because the largest producers of ‘mobile homes’, then in 1976 ‘manufactured homes’, MHI lobbied in ‘Go Along to Get along’ fashion with legislators and regulators. Smaller producers of the same product, however, unable to absorb increased product costs oft associated with increased regulation, formed MHARR engage in ‘aggressive opposition’ to what they viewed as unfavorable legislation and onerous regulation. So the die was cast, and the rest is history, e.g. today’s differing opposition to incorporation of Department of Energy Standards into the HUD Code for manufactured housing, by MHI & MHARR. Read their respective newsletters for details.

Have you ever wondered why HUD-Code manufactured housing, in general, lacks the ‘bells & whistles’ one encounters in traditional site-built (stick) housing? Now, opinions vary about this, but the general rule is NOT to add anything to the basic home that will increase its’ cost to the home buying consumer! It’s why ‘smart (manufactured) homes’ are not commonplace yet – if ever. And in years past, attempts to build single unit smoke alarms, weather radios, gas detectors and intrusion detection devices have just about always failed. And frankly, that’s a major reason why both national trade entities are fighting the product cost control battle alluded to in the previous paragraph, albeit from different perspectives.

For many years I heard the phrase ‘D&R Deliveries’ voiced in regards to manufactured housing delivery. Took me a while to learn this meant the manufactured housing industry had a wide reputation for delivering housing product, then leaving right away! This was early in the day, when independent (street) MHRetailers took delivery of homes into their retail homes sales center, onto privately-owned, scattered building sites, and into ‘mobile home parks’. D&R was a symptom of a much larger, more serious problem: lack of responsibility, on the part of anyone, for the safe and secure installation of new HUD-Code homes! Some have posited that D&R deliveries are the Achilles Heel of this industry. How so? Manufacturers routinely pushed this responsibility off onto the MHRetailer and community owners/operators; who, in turn, passed the responsibility onto homebuyers. And know what? The matter has improved today only because there are fewer MHRetailers in business, and the trend that 40+ percent of new homes are going directly into land lease communities where property owners/operators know the consequences of ‘drop and run deliveries and installations’. Safe and secure home installation remains an unresolved matter across much of the country, e.g. even in the face of empirical evidence the Frost Free Foundation system created and espoused by George Porter, continues to languish when it should, in this industry observer’s opinion, be HUD-approved methodology.

Did you know? In many parts of the U.S. it is commonplace, within land lease communities, to find water and sewer lines laid in the same utility trench? This is one reason infiltration of sewer lines, by ground and potable water, remains one of the most difficult challenges to address in this unique property type. How ‘bout another trade secret?

New Rule of 72. Until recently, when community valuations became unjustifiably high, this was a handy means of estimating the potential and real capitalized income values of average land lease communities. In the first instance, multiply the number of rentable homesites, occupied and vacant, by the prevailing rental homesite rate and then multiply by the whole number 72. For example: 200 sites X $300/month rent X 72 = $4,320,000. For the actual present estimated capitalized income value (not including the presence of rental units, if any), multiply the number of occupied and paying rent sites (e.g. 180) X $300/month X 72 = $3,888,000.

How ‘bout the traditional 3:1 Rule for estimating land lease community rental homsite rates in a given local housing market? Simply perform a Market Survey of 3BR2B conventional apartments in the local market. Once ascertained, e.g. $1,500/month. Divide this figure by ‘3’ for a result of $500/month estimated rental homesite rate. Now, of late, some portfolio owners/operators of large properties are dividing by ‘2’. Do it both ways to decide which is the reasonable approach.

And the beat goes on. There’re more such ‘tools’ to share with you in future blog postings. Are there such rules of thumb you’d like to share? Send them to me via gfa7156@aol.com

GFA

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress