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

August 30, 2014

Own a LLLCommunity? Affiliate with COBA7

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 4:56 am

COBA7® via Blog # 312 @ 31 August 2014 Copyright 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.’

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:


More Responses to ‘Consequences, Good & Bad, of LLLCommunity Consolidation’. Whew! Three weeks & running; and pithy commentary continues to arrive, for consideration and sharing with blog floggers at


+$1,000 In New Home Price = Loss of 347,901 singlesection homebuyers, or 315,385 multisection homebuyers! Who’d a ‘thunk’ reduction in number of ‘new homes shipped’, as a consequence of increasing manufactured home, by $1,000.00., would be so severe?


COBA7® = ‘the Right Stuff’! Of course you probably already know that, but it doesn’t hurt to look back over the past nine months and document how this exciting NEW ERA for LLLCommunity owners/operators is rapidly unfolding, and readying for year 2015!


More Responses to ‘Consequences, Good & Bad,
of LLLCommunity Consolidation’

“I like the idea of redirecting (floor) dues from home manufacturers, to the (national) associations that perform – nice!” NB

May I say, “I continue to tell you so” regarding HUD (over) regulating our business. “Just stop it and go for local regulatory rules – much simpler since the introduction of nationwide (building) codes for housing. Housing price is a function of land cost, use of home and features anyway. We should do this and get out from under HUD’s thumb!” SS Whoa! STOP here & reread this paragraph, before proceeding to the next two paragraphs….Ready now? Then read…

Editorial Comment # 1. It’s been of more than passing personal interest, how an expose’ describing ‘Good & Bad Consequences of Land-lease-lifestyle Consolidation’, has drawn equal amounts of reader comment from the manufactured housing production/distribution ‘side of the house’ (excusing the pun), as from land-lease-lifestyle community quarters. Methinks all is not as ‘well as we’re led to believe’, by national advocacy entities representing the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry. Read on….

Editorial Comment # 2. The two paragraphs following, are quoted from the September 2014 edition of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter:

Referencing an earlier quote in last weeks blog posting (# 312), regarding HUD’s imposition of a “165% inspection fee increase”. I now admit, “…I’ve been played as a journalist patsy (‘unwilling victim of a scheme, plot or practical joke’) regarding this matter! All along, as I criticized the ‘extreme $ increase’, I’d been suspicious as to WHY there hadn’t been more of an uproar from HUD-Code home manufacturers over this unprecedented arbitrary addition to the price of their homes? Now I believe I know why. And the ‘behind the scenes reason is, while abhorrent, probably necessary’, in the minds of some if not all industry leaders! So, I’ll restrain myself now, to simply sharing the headline (and definition) I’d have given the story, if breaking it here. In my opinion, the

‘Manufactured Housing Industry Likely Suffers From Stockholm Syndrome’

or captive-bonding. According to Wikipedia, “…a psychological phenomenon in which hostages (manufactured housing) express empathy and sympathy, and have positive feeling toward their captor (regulator) to the point of defending and identifying with (or perpetuating) with them.”

Think about it. The logic is intact, and (hint) stretches back over six years of shipments.

And if the full and true story ever does come out, my question will be: ‘While I can see how the decision to acquiesce, benefits the manufacturing/distribution side of the house (once again excusing the pun), are land-lease-lifestyle communities – now routinely siting six different types of shelter, hence the generic moniker, better or worse off than had ‘the industry’ not been so supportive?’ Unfortunately, I doubt ‘that question’ will ever be fully addressed let alone answered, given the home manufacturer-heavy presence and influence, in and upon the two national advocacy bodies representing them (us?) in our nation’s capitol today. At least for the time being, it appears LLLCommunity owners/operators, including the property portfolio folk, are simply ‘along for the ride’.

A final word to those who ‘patsied’ me. You have stained your cred. Now I suspect…


+$1,000.00 in New Home Price
Excludes 347,901 – 315,385 Homebuyers!

Specifically, NAHB* “…research shows the number of households that become unable to qualify for new home financing, for each $1,000.00 added to the retail price of a manufactured home’ are

347,901 singlesection home buyers, or
315,385 multisecton home buyers

This quoted from MHARR’s Press Release dated 21 August 2014.

And, * = National Association of Home Builders or NAHB

Keep these numbers of ‘lost customers’ in mind as you read the following.

In yet another communiqué from the national advocacy body, Mark Weiss argues recent DOE (Department of Energy) testimony regarding possible future ‘energy conservation standards’ decries movement dangerously close to impacting (read ‘raising’) “…the purchase price of manufactured housing, AND, the total life-cycle construction and operating costs.” of said homes. The commentary then argues; IF, due to the increased purchase price of a manufactured home (e.g. for every $1,000.00 increase = loss of 300,000+ buyers), there is NO ‘sale’; therefore, NO ‘life-cycle construction & operating cost’ factor either!

Later in the same report, mention is made, at least twice: of ‘affordability’, and how “…(home) manufacturers want to maintain the fundamental purchase price affordability of manufactured housing….” No argument there. However, in this industry observer’s opinion, when anyone – within & outside HUD-Code manufactured housing and LLLCommunity circles, makes ‘more than passing mention’ of affordability, affordable housing, or housing affordability, they should, in the interest of serving and educating their readership, include within the narrative, or via proper footnoting, a working definition of what ‘they mean’ by use of the term! Frankly, it took me a (too) long time to learn, and now practice this basic truth and consideration.

So, here’s the helpful and instructive description of ‘affordable housing’, used by many practitioners throughout the housing industry today:

Working definition of housing ‘affordability’: “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI’ can afford to rent a conventional apartment (That is, without any $ subsidy) and or buy a home in their local housing market.” Yes, the definition can be as simple and understandable as that! This definition quoted from the COBA7 Official WHITE PAPER, page # 17; in turn cited from Bruce Savage’s popular book, The First 20 Years! a history of MHI’s NCC, 2013.

How to apply the AMI of any local housing market (‘LHM’) in the U.S., per postal zip code or county? Access, or better yet, google Area Median Income and click onto Fannie Mae’s website for county AMIs. For example, the average national AMI in 2013 was $51,000+/-. Individuals and households (i.e. More than one wage earner contributing to the monthly housing cost or PITI…principal, interest, taxes, insurance) earning $25,100/year should be able to afford to rent a conventional apartment, or buy a house in the U.S. The hard truth, however, is many LHMs, across the U.S. have AMIs in the neighborhood of say $36,000; meaning the citizenry has only $18,000/year with which to rent a conventional apartment or buy a house – affordably! Also understand, AMI can be the same $ amount as an individual or households’ AGI or Annual Gross Income, when calculating PITI.

So, where do we go from here? Since

1) easily accessible chattel capital, via independent, third party lenders, has not returned to the HUD-Code manufactured housing scene

2) the ‘new breed of MHRetailer & lender’ trend, among LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators, continues to mature – but not among all Mom & Pop investors

3) we still have no secondary market for the marketing/sale of resale homes, to stimulate ‘new home sales’ (&)

4) we still have no secondary market for converting ‘contract sale paper’ into cash, to support more seller-financing of on-site sale of homes in LLLCommunities.

WE – as an industry and realty asset class – can NOT afford to allow, let alone encourage, via ‘research alliances’ and otherwise, encroachments on the competitive (Read ‘affordable’) pricing of HUD-Code manufactured homes by fiat or otherwise! So, whether a direct, dues-paying member of the Manufactured Housing Institute and/or Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, encourage your elected and salaried leaders to be ever vigilant for efforts, via HUD, DOE, and elsewhere, threatening your livelihood, even the very existence of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, and its’ land-lease-lifestyle community realty asset class.

Unless of course, the shedding of 40 year regulatory ties, and loss of key benefits like ‘federal preemption’, ultimately leads to more freedom in the factory production, national marketing, and increased sales volume of new affordable homes to this nation’s citizenry! Hmm, something to openly consider. Wonder if we’ll ever openly talk about it, let alone do anything about the status quo?


COBA7® = ‘the Right Stuff!’

A COBA7® affiliate wrote to us recently, and had this to say:

“Hey George, really like the COBA7® motto:

‘U Support Us & We Serve U!

He went on to observe, “Says it all, doesn’t it? But know what? The Best Part is the alliance’s Right Mix of the following:

• ‘Easy daily access, by email, phone & fax, to get answers to manufactured housing & land-lease-lifestyle community questions, even just someone to talk to about industry/asset class matters.’ Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

• ‘Weekly online communication, via blog posting at community-investor, about ‘What’s really happening’ within manufactured housing & LLLCommunity circles, & what’s ‘about to happen to us’.’ Via

• ‘Practical print resources and helpful directories, updated and distributed monthly, that are available nowhere else, at any price, throughout the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class.’

Please don’t change this mix or leave us!” Know what? I couldn’t have described ‘much of COBA7® ‘ any better myself.

The affiliate, however, omitted mentioning COBA7®’s ongoing research regarding LLLCommunities (i.e. Annual ALLEN REPORT questionnaire goes into the mail this coming week! Watch for it & return it ASAP); our unique interpersonal networking and deal-making opportunities (e.g. 23rd International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September, in Peachtree City, GA.) & elsewhere; professional property management training & certification via Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program (e.g. next class = 30 September in Atlanta, GA.); assumption of Ombudsman (press) responsibilities for manufactured housing & LLLCommunities nationwide; and, most recently, the researching and preparation of an Official WHITE PAPER, to serve as basis of two National Public Forums on 9/11, where the Future of the Manufactured Housing Industry , & Future of LLLCommunities, will be discussed among 200 businessmen and women from throughout the U.S. & Canada. And don’t forget the two new Signature Series Resource Documents, or SSRDs, to be introduced at this venue: National Directories of RE Brokers Specializing in Marketing of ‘for sale’ LLLCommunities; and, for the first time since the demise of Manufactured Home Merchandiser magazine, a National Directory of all the HUD-Code Home Manufacturers!

Know what’s ‘most encouraging of all’, besides the 200+ who’ve already affiliated? How federal agencies now routinely contact COBA7® to acquire one or more of the SSRDs ‘they’ve long searched for’ (e.g. annual ALLEN REPORT), subscribe to the Allen Letter, and ask to learn more about the MHIndustry and LLLCommunity asset class to boot. It’s safe to say, by the end of 2014, COBA7® will have achieved a unique and valuable national identity for this realty segment of manufactured housing’s post-production business presence! Are you affiliated?

Has all this piqued your interest in COBA7® as a national alliance of businessmen and women, with an affinity for manufactured housing and LLLCommunities? If so, you’re encouraged to phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to request a COBA7® brochure describing the ‘seven parts’ or functions, that comprise all the alliance does for the industry and asset class nationwide.


August 24, 2014

HUD’s Contretemps; &, Official WHITE PAPER

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 4:25 am

COBA7® via Blog # 311 @ 24 August 2014 Copyright 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.’

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:


Your Responses to ‘Consequences, Good & Bad, of LLLCommunity Consolidation’. Here’re a few responses to last week’s ‘tell all, true story’ regarding pros & cons of LLLCommunity consolidation during the past four decades. Did I miss anything?


HUD’s Contretemps (‘an embarrassing occurrence’) Hobbles Affordable Housing! The Good News is, ‘all of a sudden’ everyone in MH wants on this bandwagon, even an online commentary heretofore critical of MHARR, still not crediting them in any way!


Official WHITE PAPER is ‘in the mail’ to 23rd Networking Roundtable registrants. Mailed 100 copies the first week! It’s chock full of interesting & useful information.



Responses to ‘Consequences, Good & Bad,
of LLLCommunity Consolidation’

“Very powerful George, Nice work.” MH executive

“As usual, I enjoyed flogging your blog this morning. The information on LLLCommunity consolidation was really interesting.” State MHAssociation executive

“As usual, you did a good job of calling our attention to trends that may well shape the future of the (MH) industry:

• Larger (LLLCommunity) operators ducking paying national & state association dues

• National advocacy association paying little attention to anyone but a few of the larger (LLLCommunity) operators

• More and more manufactured homes being bought and rented or sold by smaller (LLLCommunity) operators using creative financing, encouraged by hungry, out-of-the-box-thinking lenders

How long before this combination of trends creates a ‘new & perfect storm’, resulting in smaller (LLLCommunity) operators instructing HUD-Code home manufacturers to relay dues paid on homes these smaller operators buy, to entities who better represent their business interests?” This from veteran MHIndustry entrepreneur businessman

As a related aside; the Official WHITE PAPER being distributed to Networking Roundtable registrants, points out more than once, how land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators are now oft and openly referred to as the ‘new breed of MHRetailer & lender’. The writer of the previous paragraph commentary has not seen or read said WHITE PAPER. So, an interesting confirmation of the latest paradigm shift within the manufactured housing industry and its’ LLLCommunity real estate asset class! GFA

And this from yet another manufactured housing entrepreneur businessman: “The dearth of chattel financing is changing the manufactured home community (‘LLLCommunity’) business model – especially that of the larger, multistate owners/operators. Renting homes on-site has, once again, become commonplace. ‘Park owned homes’ are no longer the bane of (real estate-secured) mortgage lending. Chattel finance default-related costs are now transformed into rental turnover and rehab costs. Property owners/operators no longer have the luxury of raising lot rent without considering the effect on house payments or unit rent. And finally, creative home acquisition financing is providing interesting new (funding) opportunities, especially for the smaller owners/operators of manufactured home communities (‘LLLCommunities’).”

If you missed reading last week’s blog posting, scroll back a week into the blog archives at the ( website and read of other ‘insider’ Lessons Learned. And hey; this is what two National Public Forums, the morning of 9/11, at the Networking Roundtable, are about: What’s happening in the manufactured housing & LLLCommunity arenas, & What can be done to shape our Free Enterprise futures?


HUD’s Contretemps
(‘an embarrassing occurrence’)

WHO recently penned (8/15/2014), and WHERE did they publish, this Challenge Goal for HUD-Code manufactured housing in the U.S. today?

“…ensure the bottom-line cost of manufactured housing is not needlessly increased by make-work regulation that has no place in this unique affordable housing program.”

The possible answers are: MHI in its’ WEEK IN REVIEW online message to members; a Jim Visser editorial in The Journal; a HUD communiqué; MHARR’s ‘Sobering Wake-up Call for HUD-Code (Home) Manufacturers…’; in the Allen Letter professional journal; Ken Rishel’s Manufactured Housing Chattel Finance online newsletter; or, a COBA7® memorandum to affiliates?

The ideal answer: This statement could and should be apropos for ‘all the above’, beginning with Department of Housing & Urban Development’s manufactured housing program administrator! However, that’s NOT where this Challenge Goal originated.

The answer: That statement was the final sentence in a 14 August 2014 memorandum from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform’s ‘Sobering Wake-up Call for HUD Code Manufacturers on Expansion of Unnecessary and Costly Regulation’.

If YOU haven’t read this three page summary of what appears to be, in this industry observer’s opinion, increasing (voluntary cum mandatory) abuse of the inherent affordable nature of our type factory-built housing, YOU should make it a point to do so! How? Phone (202) 783-4087 and request a copy of the 14 August 2014 memorandum.

Gist of what you’ll read?

1) How HUD is complicating and increasing regulatory compliance costs of programs (e.g. Subpart I) that should be sunsetting, considering “…consumer complaints and referrals to dispute resolution are – and have been – at minimal levels, and the industry is building its’ best homes?”

2) How HUD, to date, has not engaged in an (industry) costs/(homebuyer) benefits study and analysis re: “…massive expansion of in-plant regulation…” – and how it affects, again, the inherent affordable nature of this type factory-built housing!

3) A recitation of 1990s MHIndustry ‘history’ precipitating the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000, and how today’s missteps by the MHIndustry & HUD alike, mirror the truth of the sage observation: “Those who fail to learn the lessons of history are bound to repeat them!”

4) And finally, of the increase in HUD certification label fee from $39 to $100, a 156% increase in effect by mid-September. It has been simply amazing, to me, there’s not been more of a ‘hue & cry’ from HUD-Code home manufacturers over this matter.

Has anyone else spoken out or written about these timely, salient and troubling matters?

MHI’s WEEK IN REVIEW online message to members, in a passage labeled ‘HUD Issues Final Rule to Increase Label Fees’ plows much of the same ground on this particular topic, pointing out that “HUD said it will consider reducing the label fee if there is an unpredicted increase in production.” Fat chance of that happening until ‘easy to access’ chattel capital returns, if ever, to the HUD-Code home manufacturing scene.

The online message also alerts members that “HUD plans to seek contractual support to assist in the administration of the installation standards program in states that have not established approved programs” & “…the dispute resolution program in states that have not established approved dispute resolution programs.” Here’s yet another bromide that certainly applies: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” So HUD, leave the states alone!

One also wonders, after reading WEEK IN REVIEW, why there’s been NO brouhaha, from MHI’s manufacturer members, about the aforementioned lack of an (industry) costs/(homebuyers) benefits study and analysis by HUD? Perhaps it’s easier for the Big-3C HUD-Code home manufacturers to absorb increased production (inspection & labeling) costs, associated with enhanced regulatory oversight, rather than resist them. Hmm. Is there a history lesson here, say circa 1985? Yes there is….

SO, why is all this labeled as a HUD Contretemps, or ‘an embarrassing occurrence’?

Simple. One would logically think the federal agency known for its’ manifold housing programs, providing shelter to disadvantaged and lower income citizens, at taxpayer expense, would be the government’s leading proponent of ‘affordable housing’! Yet, just the opposite appears to be true, as HUD pushes for the enhancement of unnecessary and costly regulatory measures at a time when, as MHARR so aptly states: “…consumer complaints and referrals to dispute resolution are – and have been – at minimal levels, and the (manufactured housing) industry is building its’ best homes.” One doesn’t get anymore ‘contretemp’ (embarrassed), than when caught between two such opposing views!

‘HUD’, if you’re listening; start PROMOTING manufactured housing, as America’s homegrown type ‘affordable’ factory-built housing, and STOP HOBBLING it with more regulatory oversight and increased production costs!

Know WHERE to effectively ‘draw that much needed line in the sand’? At and during the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014, in Peachtree City, GA. WHY? Because there’ll be more than 200 land-lease-lifestyle community (A.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, along with HUD-Code home manufacturers and lenders, present to hear and carry such a timely, dual thrust message back to the rest of the manufactured housing industry!

For more information, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Official WHITE PAPER is ‘in the mail’

It’s 18 pages in length, 8 ½” X 11” in size, and sports a Kelly green plastic cover. The title? ‘Past, Present & Future of Manufactured Housing & Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in a WHITE PAPER…’an authoritative report giving information on an issue’.’ If you’ve registered for the upcoming (10-12 September 2014) 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, then one is in the mail to you. Only exception is where there’re multiple registrants from the same company. One copy has been sent now, and additional copies will be distributed the morning of 9/11, before we commence the two National Public Forums – for which the WHITE PAPER was penned in the first place.

WHITE PAPER content? Here’s a recitation of the first page of this CONFIDENTIAL document. But first, know this: There’s more information about manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities in this document than in any other previously published reference. It alone is worth the price of attending the networking roundtable! Now…

Setting the stage. Here are recent, unsolicited passages characterizing contemporary attitudes and opinions relative to manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities)

Bob Vahsholtz writing in DURELING CURVES, about manufactured housing:

“In the near term (post 2014), our best cost advantage lies with handsome singles, small enough to keep the monthly cost of our homes to the consumer well below the stick competition’s apartments.” P.98
“The MH industry needs to think outside the square (box).” P. 109

A veteran LLLCommunity portfolio owner/s view of home manufacturers:

“HUD-Code (home) manufacturers have identified, at mid 2014, two very distinct buyers of their product: ‘Big Box = Big Bucks units’ and ‘lower-priced’ (Community Series) homes.” SR

Point? ?Depending on who one talks to in the MHBusiness; many believe, LLLCommunities need ‘handsome, small (affordable) singlesection homes’ to fill vacant rental homesites; and, home manufacturers, given their choice of models exhibited at regional home shows, prefer ‘big money’ shipping ‘big boxes’ (multisection homes) for placement on scattered building sites conveyed fee simple, and into subdivision.

Let’s preview what follows from here:

Part I summarizes past and present manufactured housing & LLLCommunities via a dozen descriptive categories apiece.

Part II imagines the ‘future’ of both business models, in light of past performance, contemporary issues & trends, and probable ‘future ‘prospects.

All of which begs this question: Just what will our individual (business) and collective (industry/realty asset class) ‘futures’ be like, looking to year 2015 and beyond? ‘Answers to that question’ is the anticipated outcome of the two National public Forums scheduled the morning of 9/11/2014! Be there & Be ready!


There you have it, the introduction to this fact-filled Official WHITE PAPER describing the manufactured housing industry and land-lease-lifestyle community realty asset class, Past, Present, & yes, Future.

Might as well put our industry’s two national advocacy bodies ‘on notice’ here, as to how they might/should look to the future, once the results of said National Public Forums are published. What follows is from page # 15:


Where to go from here? There’re likely several alternatives, but here’s…

One suggestion. MHARR, MHI & COBA7® to jointly announce, plan & host, a National Strategic Planning Session at an easily accessible, reasonably-priced meeting facility, using a capable, experienced, motivated facilitator, to lead a two day brainstorming and planning caucus.


And at this point no fewer than three historic examples of past Strategic Planning Sessions, within the MHIndustry/LLLCommunity asset class, are recalled, citing the leadership, proceedings, and wisdom – respectively – of now retired MHI Chairman Barry McCabe, the first National State of the Asset Class caucus, and Randy Rowe.

The Official WHITE PAPER concludes with this suggestion to MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®. That “They Call for a National Strategic Planning Session by the end of 2014 or early during year 2015!”

Want a copy of this Official WHITE PAPER? Then plan on attending the 23rd International Networking Roundtable next month! At present, there are no plans to distribute this document, for sale or for free, beyond this audience. To register, use the program brochure at or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request it. Again, the 18 page, Official WHITE PAPER is FREE to Networking Roundtable registrants, presenters, and guests.


August 16, 2014

Consequences of LLLCommunity Consolidation

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:02 am

COBA7® via Blog # 310 @ 17 August 2014 Copyright 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc..

Introduction to this week’s COBA7 blog posting at website:


FREDDIE MAC Panel at ROUNDTABLE. 23rd Networking Roundtable shaping up to be Best Ever, in terms of program timeliness and variety! Not too late to register. Just phone Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633.4764 today.


Consequences of LLLCommunity Consolidation. This is the sort of profound reporting that spawns ‘kudos’ & ‘brickbats’ (i.e. ‘insulting remarks’) from diverse leadership groups. Small businesses generally agree; some big business reps backstab.


Calling All Golfers – Again! Last week we told you about the joint IL/WI Golf Tournament, on 4 September, at the Hawk’s View golf Club in Lake Geneva, WI. This time around, One More Great Reason to attend the 23rd annual Networking Roundtable!



Will be joined by the FHFA, maybe Fannie Mae; &, a HUD rep(?).

Yes, you read that right. Friday morning, 12 September at 11AM, three executives from Freddie Mac’s Production & Sales Multifamily, and Underwriting & Credit Multifamily departments will conduct a panel presentation titled, ‘All You Ever Wanted to Know About Freddie Mac, but Didn’t Know Who to Ask!’ So, if you’re contemplating acquisition financing, for a land-lease-lifestyle community, or refinancing thereof, you’ll be ‘in the room’ during the 23rd International Networking Roundtable that day! To register, use brochure attached to this week’s blog posting or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

And that’s not all! COBA7® is in active conversation with the Federal Housing Finance Agency, or FHFA, about their attending at this year’s Roundtable – to learn more about our unique, income-producing realty asset class, and to engage in interpersonal networking with the hundreds of owners/operators present at the event. One more reason why the CONFIDENTIAL Official WHITE PAPER (‘Understanding the Manufactured Housing & LLLCommunity Asset Class’) – being distributed to Roundtable registrants, is so timely and useful! This is one manufactured housing industry document you do not want to miss reading from start to finish! In fact, it alone is worth the cost of admission to this stellar annual educational, networking, and deal-making event.

Oh, and lest I forget; we’re also talking to the Atlanta office of Fannie Mae to see which executive there will be in attendance at this year’s Networking Roundtable. And an invitation has been extended to HUD as well…but no word back from that agency. But wouldn’t it be Great though, if a HUD rep attended, and left convinced, to finally promote manufactured housing as the best ‘affordable housing’ resource in the U.S. today?!

Bottom Line? There’s a bunch of em this year! 20 educational seminars & panels; eight social networking meal events; dozens of opportunities for LLLCommunity deal-making; two history-making National Public Forums; and, possible reemergence of Manufactured Housing Executive Women, or MHEW (Several women execs have already phoned, expressing their excitement over this possibility! Hey, Chris, Dee, Ann, Edith, Suzanne, Pam, Jenny, Sharon, Shelia, Joanne, Barbara, Lois & Barbara; are you listening? Come on down!). And now, representation from two GSE’s (Government Sponsored Enterprises) and possibly, other agencies! There’s not another MHIndustry &/or LLLCommunity venue in the U.S. and Canada today, that comes even close to this variety, depth, and timeliness of presentations and number of deal-making opportunities! And lest we forget, we host the annual, early Friday morning informal prayer meeting for Our Nation & Its’ Leaders! How can you not want to be present for all this? See Part III following…


Consequences of LLLCommunity Consolidation

Some Pros & Cons of Consolidating Sole Proprietor-developed Land-lease-lifestyle Communities into 500+/- Property Portfolios

In 1987, Roulac’s Strategic Real Estate newsletter published its’ final list of 25 ‘Largest Mobile Home Park Owners’ in the U.S. Today, 25 years later, we know the names and addresses of no fewer than 500 privately and publicly-owned entities. That’s a 20 fold increase during a relatively short period of time. And like most industry trends, this massive consolidation of sole proprietor-developed LLLCommunities into said 500+/- property portfolios has had consequences, ‘good & not so good’. But first, a short history lesson….

The first wave of (then) ‘mobile home park’ consolidation occurred during the late 1970s and early 1980s, as ‘syndicators’ scoured the countryside, far and wide, forming limited partnerships to acquire thousands of such income-producing properties in foreclosure. This wave, a result of the national and industry finance tribulation, as well as HUD-Code legislation implementation circa 1974 – 1976. Some, though not many, of those partnerships – based on and sold per ‘tax loss advantages’ until the federal law changed in 1986, continue to exist to this day.

That wave was followed by a bit of a wash-out (again), when savings and loans institutions (i.e. ‘S&Ls’) failed across the nation. Then the federally chartered Resolution Trust Commission, or RTC, took on the task of selling-off S&L realty trapped in limbo, facilitating the birth of many more property portfolio firms coast to coast, and enhancing the growth of existing portfolio ‘players’.

And in the early 1990s, 1994 to be precise, a few real estate investment trusts, or REITs, burst onto the scene, taking their privately-owned property portfolios public via IPOs (initial public offerings of stock). That wave was characterized by (then) MHC, Inc. – but today, ELS, Inc. with 28,407 rental homesites; Chateau Communities, Inc. with 15,689 sites; Sun Communities with 13,500 sites; and long time REIT, (then) United Mobile Homes, Inc. with 5,623 sites. Today, those site counts have changed as follows: ELS, Inc. as of 1 January 2014 with 138,869 rental homesites; Sun Communities at 65,500 sites (but with the soon addition of 19,000 Green Courte Partner/American Landlease sites = 84,500 sites total); and, (now) UMH Properties, Inc. at 4,623 plus recent addition of more sites. Chateau Communities, Inc., dropped from the REIT scene in 2003, when acquired by Hometown America. And a short-lived American Landlease REIT existed from 1998 thru 2008; and even shorter-lived ARC (formerly Affordable Residential Communities, then – under new ownership, renamed American Residential Communities – or was it the other way around?), was a REIT in years 2004 & 2005.

The latest ‘wave’ (2004 to date) has been a relatively small one to date, characterized by the equity plays of Randy Rowe, and a few other realty investment pioneers – mostly from outside the manufactured housing industry.

SO, what have been the positive aspects of this widespread consolidation of sole proprietor-developed LLLCommunities into 500+/- property portfolios? Well certainly the creation of wealth via profit, for awhile for many, but not all ‘players’. How so? LLLCommunities have long been considered, by many within and outside the asset class, as being ‘the best kept secret in real estate investing!’. Why? Simple. Here’re ten reasons:

• Relative scarcity! Only 50,000+/- nationwide, with few being developed today. Some existing properties, however, have added new rental homesites. And from time to time, a few – mostly much older LLCommunities, are closed for good.

• Low annual turnover! ( LLLCommunities @ 5-10% on the average, vs. 50+/-% with conventional apartments) This due mostly, to high cost of relocating homes.

• Stable, competitive site rent! – when not abused by property owners. When was the last time you heard/read of a LLLCommunity reducing its site rent rate?

• Lower operating expense ratio! (LLLCommunities @ 40% Allen Model & national average OER, vs. 55+/-% with conventional apartments)

• Economy of scale! Watch OER drop from 40 to 20+/-% & lower, when 200+ sites are occupied and paying site rent, and operating expenses are well-managed.

• Affordable home ownership and equity, when home prices and rental homesite rates (Total Value Proposition or TVP) are in sync with local housing market! How so? One way: Use 3:1 ratio, not 2:1 ratio, relative to 3BR2B apartment rents in same local housing market. For example: $900 apartment rent = $300 LLLCommunity homesite rent; not $450, unless located in a specific local housing market that’ll support the higher rate.

• Recession proof! When all else fails….

• More opportunities to ‘add value’! ‘Alternative Income to Rent’ measures include new & resale home sales on-site, seller-financing of transactions, after-market sale and installation of carports, awnings, and housing parts. There’re more AITR measures with LLLCommunities than with any other income-producing realty!

• More versatility! No longer just pre-1976 ‘mobile homes’ & post-1976 manufactured homes on-site; but now, also modular homes, ‘park model RVs’ (A.k.a. Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, per HUD – even ‘granny flats’; and ideal for installation on functionally obsolete rental homesites), RVs for a season, and stick-built homes constructed on-site (in FL) to look like HUD-Code manufactured homes. This has given rise to the change in realty asset class label, from ‘manufactured home – or housing community’, to finally, ‘land-lease-lifestyle community’ or LLLCommunity.

• Opportunity to serve society! By providing the most ‘affordable’ type of factory-built housing in a generally ‘affordable’ lifestyle multifamily rental community, comprised of the unique homeowner/tenant, or better yet, homeowner/site lessee, enjoying aforementioned TVP..

For more information on these ten factors, read Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home Parks, Trailer Courts & Camps, & Affordable Housing, PMN Publishing, 2011. Available for purchase via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

What other positive aspects have there been, relative to consolidation? On the national advocacy scene, property portfolio firms desiring to be properly and effectively represented in our nation’s capitol, precipitated the emergence of the Manufactured Housing Institute’s National Communities Council division during January 1996 (A presence originally conceived by 19 LLLCommunity owners/operators on 31 August 1993). For more on this interesting historic topic, read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, 2013.

And for awhile, a couple of the larger property portfolio players financially supported initiatives to bring more sophistication to the realty asset class, via research and reporting of operating statistics, effecting improved communication in print & online, support of national interpersonal and corporate networking venues, showcasing of deal-making opportunities, professional property management training & certification, even sharing of intellectual property resources. Today however, those initiatives continue to be financially supported by a different few large portfolio firms, most of the financial load is borne by small to mid-sized owners/operators, via affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. In the meantime, the largest property portfolio firms now cultivate some to much of these measures in-house..

SO, what have been the not so positive aspects of consolidation of sole proprietor-developed LLLCommunities into 500+/- property portfolios? Here opinions will vary, depending on one’s perspective.

• State manufactured housing associations in general, and ones comprised mostly of LLLCommunity owners/operators in particular. Overall, association membership numbers and revenues are decidedly ‘down’ from where they were ten years ago. This is due in large part because new HUD-Code home shipments (and hence ‘floor dues’) have slipped from 372,843 units in 1998 to 130,940 five years later in 2003, then 60,228 in 2013 – with but 70,000+/- ‘expected’ during 2014, but there’s ‘more to that story’. We have far fewer independent (street) MHRetailers today than in years past. And, as more and more sole proprietor-developed LLLCommunities were bought/brought into property portfolios, membership dues revenues dropped accordingly – as well as did regional chapter representation. Sole proprietors, as a rule, faithfully supported state MHAssociations; however, many property portfolio firms do not. A few pay for all their properties in a given state, some pay for just one membership in said state, and many others pay nothing at all – sometimes opting to maybe be direct, dues-paying members of MHI’s NCC division – despite bylaws designed to prevent such circumlocution.

• National association participation, in my opinion, has suffered during the past decade, as a few of the largest property portfolio players have maneuvered to control the NCC division, passing executive committee jobs back and forth among themselves. Proof? With 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide; and 500+/- LLLCommunity property portfolios; there’re fewer than 100 members today – and slightly more than half of them as direct, dues-paying (LLLCommunity) members, the remaining serving as Certified (state) Representatives. And there’s hardly ever more than a dozen ‘members’ present at any national meeting of the division – for a variety of other reasons (Affluence gerrymandering anyone?) we’ll omit sharing in detail here today.

• A relatively recent phenomenon or trend has been, figuratively speaking, the ‘trading’ of LLLCommunities, even portfolios back and forth between the largest of the firms, without assistance or involvement of licensed real estate brokers – and hence, sans the outflow of commission dollars to them. While this is perhaps praiseworthy as an operating expense control measure, the practice has the unintended (or intended?) consequence of marginalizing this key real estate investment segment of the manufactured housing industry – as national and regional brokerages struggle with ‘How to add value’ to the remaining services they provide the realty asset class at large.

• Then there’s the issue of rental homesite rates. Back when the ‘REITs were young’, Wall Street analysts treated the firms as, let’s say, ‘growth stocks’, expecting positive, increasing dividends quarter after quarter after quarter. Well, the REITs responded with (operations) cost cutting, increasing site rent rates, and other measures. Since rent rates are local housing market-sensitive, raising rents too much too fast had/has dire consequences, i.e. 1) decreasing occupancy (or increasing vacancy) as ‘homeowner/site lessees’ can no longer afford the high site rent rates and relocate; 2) ‘taking value’ from homes already on-site, &/or 3) limiting what prospective homebuyers can afford to buy – as they’re maneuvered to redirect what would have been PITI (loan principal & interest, as well as tax & insurance escrows) dollars to site rent. While there’s been a shakeout of sorts, during the past five years, and many properties, as well as some portfolios, have gone thru foreclosure, been bought anew, and site rent ‘adjusted’ closer to local housing market parameters, it’s still possible to find privately-owned LLLCommunities ‘across the street’ from some portfolio-owned ones, charging half the rent being expected by the latter. What to do about this? How to set site rent in sync with one’s local housing market? Read chapter 1 of the Book of Formulae, Rules o f Thumb, & Helpful Measures, PMN Publishing, 2012. Also earlier cited ratio in this blog posting.

That’s my ‘take’ on the pros and cons of LLLCommunity consolidation during the past 40 or so years. Have I missed anything? Do you agree or disagree with these observations? As I’ve often penned here before: ‘Inquiring minds would like to know’ – and I’m no exception. Email your responses to


Calling All Golfers – Again!

Hey, how many blog floggers (readers) will I see and talk to at the first joint Indiana/Wisconsin Golf Tournament, on 4 September, a the Hawk’s View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, WI.? And remember, for non-golfers like myself, there’ll be a two hour Open Discussion of manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community issues, trends, and more, during the afternoon that day, at the clubhouse. Interested in participating? Phone Frank Bowman, IMHA’s exec, via (217) 528-3423 or visit An added bonus for golfers and non-golf attendees. I plan to bring copies of Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years! to distribute FREE to everyone present who wants a copy! See you in Lake Geneva, WI., on 4 September.

And the following week, at the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, GA, 10-12 September, at the DOLCE Conference Center, bring your golf clubs! In the immediate vicinity of the DOLCE are three Cannongate Championship Golf courses offering a challenging experience designed by some of the biggest names in professional golf. ‘Sloping emerald fairways, dazzling water hazards, and acres of thick forests make Peachtree City’s courses some of the finest in the U.S. today!’ The courses are Braelinn @ (770) 487-2101; Flat Creek @ (770) 631-5700; and, Planters Ridge @ (770) 487-2102. When making golf reservations let them know you are a registered guest of the DOLCE Conference Center. The Best Plan? Arrive a day early, on 9 or 10 September, &/or stay a day or two late, on 13 & 14 September, to enjoy these terrific amenities to this year’s networking roundtable event.


August 10, 2014

WHITE PAPER, MHEW again, & Golfers!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 3:52 am

COBA7® via Blog # 309 @ 10 August 2014 Copyright 2014

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!’

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints, etc.’

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:


‘The Anticipation is Palpable & Growing’ as each day passes, bringing us closer to 10-12 September 2014, when 250+/- LLLCommunity owners/operators, and their preferred lenders & vendors gather in Peachtree City, GA., for education, networking, deal-making, and this time around, for two history-making National Public Forums! Once registered, watch mail for your copy of the Official WHITE PAPER to read before event!


‘Manufactured Housing Executive Women’. This is one occasion when it might be high time for history to repeat itself! MHEW was a vibrant, too short lived, reality a decade or so ago. Now there’re more women than ever in the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. Imagine what they could do if organized and meeting regularly at industry events!


‘Calling All Golfers & Non-Golfers!’ If you’re in the Midwest and enjoy golf, you’ll want to be in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin on 4 September! If you’re a non-golfer and are frustrated – or enthused, about MHIndustry & LLLCommunity matters, come to the Hawk’s View Golf Club that day, and talk with non-golfing peers between 1 & 4PM.



The Anticipation is Palpable & Growing!

Even a month out, it’s ‘difficult & exciting’ to believe, manufactured housing and its’ sister business model, land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities), will soon take an historic, long, and much needed first step towards eventual economic recovery! How?

By publicly exploring ‘where we’ve been, where we are, & what we need to do today & during days immediately ahead’, to 1) effect a 1998-like, new home shipment redux (resurgence), without the ‘too easily accessible chattel capital trap’; and, 2) effect a concurrent reduction in the number of vacant rental homesites in properties throughout the U.S.!

To that end, the Official WHITE PAPER is being printed, bound, and will be soon mailed to registrants preparing to participate in the 23rd annual International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September, in Peachtree City, GA. Reading, then recording one’s ideas pursuant to reading and studying said WHITE PAPER, will prepare folk to engage in the two National Public Forums scheduled for the morning of 9/11. And at this point in time it’s anticipated there’ll also be representatives present from HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the FHFA, to round out the collection of MHIndustry leaders and LLLCommunity owners/operators present at this event.

(Interestingly; this is the first networking roundtable in 23 years to attract so much serious attention cum participation by one, let alone several, federal government agencies, all genuinely interested in ‘doing their part’ – whatever that is, to make our unique type ‘affordable housing’ more readily available to prospective homebuyers/site lessees throughout the U.S. No promises, but wouldn’t it be SUPERB if HUD walked away from this gathering, committed to overtly promoting HUD-Code manufactured housing as ‘the practical answer’ to affordable homeownership in the U.S. today? And it wouldn’t cost them a thing to do so!)

So, how will this unique, long-awaited national discussion ‘effect a 1998-like, new home shipment redux’? Well, let’s just say, ‘You’ll have to be present to see how it pencils out’. But here’s a hint for you. The two National Public Forums (i.e. ‘Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. ‘trailers’, & Future of LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investment’) are the ‘first important step’ in the process. Who’ll ‘take the critical second step, hosting a national Strategic Planning gathering this Winter? Well, there will be two national advocacy bodies in play and one alliance of business owners, represented at this year’s roundtable. Be present to observe how this leadership contingent responds – or doesn’t. If nothing else, it’ll help you decide ‘where & why’ your future loyalties will lie.

And of course that’s not all! Read through the colorful brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) that brought you this week’s blog posting. See, then experience more than 20 educational seminar sessions and panels, eight social networking events, more realty deal-making opportunities than available anywhere else all year long, and a collection of Free Enterprise businessmen and women (including YOU) who can, with proper enlightened and committed leadership, make anything (Reread previous five paragraphs!) worthwhile happen – including an MHIndustry economic recovery (of national housing market share) characterized by a 1998-like home shipment redux, without the chattel capital misstep; and significant reduction in the number of vacant rental homesites throughout the U.S. today!

Use attached Networking Roundtable brochure to register This Week, or simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and register over the phone.

By way of reminder. Everyone who attends this year’s Networking Roundtable, whether affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, will receive FREE copies of the two new Signature Series Resource Documents:

• 1st National Directory of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers (A side note. Home manufacturers are as excited about having their firms listed, as LLLCommunity owners/operators are excited, about knowing ‘From whom to buy new homes?’

• 1st National Directory of Real Estate Brokers Specializing in Marketing ‘for sale’ LLLCommunities Nationwide.

These two new print resources join the previously distributed dozen SSRDs that include such titles as: 25th annual ALLEN REPORT (A.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’), 16th annual National Directory of Real Estate-secured & Chattel Capital Lenders!, and more!


Manufactured Housing Executive Women

A decade ago, several dozen manufactured housing women executives and owners/operators of (then) manufactured home communities met informally at various national venues (e.g. Networking Roundtable & MHCongress), to share information and experiences, as well as to engage in interpersonal networking and encouragement. Unfortunately, that effort waned when one individual attempted to commandeer the fledgling social networking group, and the majority failed to follow or continue the camaraderie.

Well, today is a new day, and may be the opportune time for a new initiative to this same or similar end: sharing information and experiences, and engage in interpersonal networking and encouragement among other women executives and owners/operators of (now) land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

Obviously, it’s not apropos for me to organize this informal effort, but we’re certainly open for ‘it’ to happen during the upcoming 23rd International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September, in Peachtree City, GA. All it takes is for you, if a woman and registering for said event, to express your interest by stating such when registering (e.g. Pen MHEW somewhere near your name, on the registration form), and we’ll see that you’re made aware of other like-minded women when you arrive at the roundtable event this Fall. Maybe even sit at adjacent tables during one or both luncheons.

What prompted this recollection and suggestion? Recently read a description of The Network for Women Advisors, in a wealth management trade publication. The announcement declared, “We are…a group built by women for women, devoted to helping our peers thrive – both professionally and personally. Our goal is to create an environment that champions excellence by connecting hundreds of women across the country who all want the same thing: to nurture and grow their businesses. We strive to empower and encourage one another – sharing our expertise, expanding our perspectives, and deepening our networks. Together, we uncover opportunities, and we achieve great things.” Pretty impressive, huh? Why shouldn’t the same social networking occur among female MHIndustry executives & LLLCommunity owners/operators? Think about it and decide whether to ‘make a difference’.


Calling All Golfers & Non-Golfers!

Illinois & Wisconsin Manufactured Housing Alliance/Associations’ hosting a ‘first ever’ joint golf tournament at the picturesque Hawk’s View Golf Club in Lake Geneva, WI., on 4 September 2014. And for the non-golfers? An informal afternoon Open Discussion of MHIndustry & LLLCommunity issues, trends, and more, led by George Allen, CPM® & MHM®. Everyone, golfers and non-golfers alike, attending this exciting dual event will be given a copy of Bruce Savage’s popular book, The First 20 Years!…of national advocacy in behalf of land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities) by MHI’s National Communities Council division.

For more information, visit or phone (217) 528-3423. When Frank Bowman, executive director of IMHA answers, tell him: ‘George sent me!’ And if you own a business in Illinois, ask him to send you an IMHA membership application as well.


August 2, 2014

On-Site PM Compensation & 2 New SSRDs!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:10 am

COBA7® via Blog # 308 @ 3 August 2014 Copyright 2015

Perspective. ‘Land-lease-lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’

This blog posting ‘is a national advocacy voice, ombudsman press*, statistical research reporter, & online communications resource for all LLLCommunities in North America!

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4674.

*ombudsman press. ‘Manufactured housing’s ronin, fielding inquiries, complaints., etc.’

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:

For the record, there was no blog posting on 27 July 2014. Furthermore, this posting contains more exciting & timely information than most of the 307 blogs posted to date!

Hall of Fame Rocks! Monday, 4 August = memorable day in RV & MH Industry History

Important $ Project ‘in the works’ today. Finally: ‘How to Compute PM Salaries!’

Two New SSRDs Debut at Roundtable! ‘HUD-Code home manufacturers’ & RE brokers

What Do YOU Think? When will MHIndustry stop selling ‘more house than needed’?



Hall of Fame Rocks!

Class of 2014 Hall of Fame Inductees Attract Largest Banquet Crowd to Date, & RV/MH Authors Meet at Museum for 1st Time!

More than 425 past and present RV/MH Hall of Fame members, their families, close friends, business associates, and honored guests, will be on hand for this year’s Gala Event in Elkhart, IN! Hope YOU are among that august group of RV & MH industry pioneers, association leaders, businessmen and women.

4 August begins with the RV/MH Hall of Fame annual golf tournament. And while this is going on, would-be and published RV/MH authors will convene for the first ever writer’s event – from 9:30AM – Noon. A dozen RV/MH industry authors, active in business, mystery, and history genres, have been invited – and several have already committed to be present among their peers. Hope to make this an annual gathering….

And frankly, ‘Anyone who’s Anybody’ in the RV & MH industries will likely be present at our dual industries’ equivalent to the professional baseball and football halls of fame induction ceremonies! May not be too late for YOU to sign-up, and ‘come on down – or up’ to Elkhart, IN. for the festivities! Phone (547) 293-2344 and talk to Charlene! Truly hope to see YOU there!


Important $ Project ‘in the works’ Today

‘How Do You Decide How Much to Pay Your On-site Property Manager or Team?’ That is ‘the question’ that’s dogged owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities) for seven decades! And the formulaic answer just might be on the 23rd International Networking Roundtable horizon, 10-12 September 2014 in Peachtree City, GA!

In general terms, here’s how the Five Step Process is penciling out to date:

1. Just as the ‘3Ls Secret to Real Estate Success’ is considered to be ‘location, location, location’; ‘LHM’ is a leading indicator when computing on-site manager (or team) compensation – LHM being the ‘local housing market’ in which one or more subject LLLCommunities are located. Therefore, identify LHM by its’ four digit postal zip code, then ascertain, via or other similar website, its’ Annual Median Income level, or AMI. Two examples. National AMI has been stagnant-to-declining during the past several years, as macro economy recovers from recession. It’s now pegged close to $51,000. Whereas a typical suburb of a major Midwestern city (SMSA), during 2013, might be $36,000. AMI.

2. Reference the recently published 2014 Compensation Study, by the Institute of Real Estate Management®, or IREM®, to ascertain benchmark compensation (i.e. average annual income) for Certified Property Managers®, or CPMs®, and Accredited Resident Managers®, or ARMs®…the latter, roughly equivalent to MHEI’s Accredited Community Manager®, or ACM® designation, and PMN Publishing’s Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® designation. Note. Use CPM® data when compensating corporate executive PMs. (312) 329-6000.

3. Estimate subject property’s (i.e. LLLCommunity) Gross Potential Income for the year – or ‘properties’, if an on-site manager or management team is (or is to be) responsible for two or more like properties within the same LHM or one nearby. Be careful to indicate whether calculation is based wholly on present day performance (i.e. physical & economic occupancy) or anticipated improvement to same, during and after a turnaround effort, at the subject property(ies).

4. Using the widely-referenced ‘Allen Model OER (operating expense ratio) Chart’, thoughtfully effect labor expense allocations (from ‘administrative labor’ &/or ‘maintenance labor’ operating expense categories) in dollars. Do this in accords with property size (i.e. number of rent-paying rental homesites), and in light of planned or expected operational improvements – or not, to subject property(ies).

5. Effect reconciliation of accumulated data relative to LHM’s AMI; the IREM® ‘standard’; & allocated OER $s per one, two, or more salaried and hourly employees – again, in accords with 1) property size (i.e. income reality & potential), 2) property condition (present & anticipated occupancy %), 3) marketing/operations expectations; and, 4) employee(s) capability and experience.

This procedure, besides, pegging property manager, and supporting team compensation, also helps demonstrate the importance of keeping separate books, certainly for independent home sales operations on-site, as well as marketing and operation of rental units on-site.

And remember; ‘as a rule’, LLLCommunity management is generally a part time job until physical and economic occupancy exceeds 100 rental homesites, some say 150. (e.g. 100 sites X $300/month X 7.5% combined admin & maint. OER percentages X 12 months = $22,536 in salary alone, not adjusted for on-site housing expenses, etc..

There’s more to come; specifically applied numbers and case studies. The goal is to have this material prepared and ready for distribution at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014. Have you registered yet? Easy to do so; just telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Two New SSRDs to Debut at Roundtable!

SSRDs spring from direct inquiries to the ‘ombudsman (press) function’ of COBA7®, e.g.‘Who are the HUD-Code home manufacturers in the U.S.?’ &, ‘What real estate brokerages specialize in marketing land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide?’ What inquiries can COBA7® research for you? Call the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Frankly, we were surprised to learn, while fielding these two inquiries to the ombudsman (press), ‘No such directories exist!’ In the first instance, there’s MHI’s membership directory at, but the MHARR keeps their member list confidential.

Well, the HUD-Code home manufacturer directory presently contains contact information for nearly 40 firms domiciled throughout the U.S. And, like the dozen already existing Signature Series Resource Documents, this one too will be updated annually, then distributed to Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance affiliates with a monthly edition of the Allen Letter professional journal. Are YOU affiliated?

And the real estate brokerage directory presently contains contact information of more than a half dozen such firms that list and sell LLLCommunities nationwide. We fully expect this directory to increase in size as more and more real estate brokerages learn of its’ existence and efficacy. Again; for COBA7® affiliates! YOU affiliated?

So, be at the 23rd International Networking Roundtable, 10-12 September 2014, at the DOLCE Conference Center in Peachtree City, GA., to receive your FREE copies of both directories, as well as the aforementioned Five Step Process for calculating on-site property manager compensation.

But most important, come prepared to participate in the two National Public Forums scheduled for the morning of 9/11/2014! To that end; when you register, you’ll be mailed (mid-August) a WHITE PAPER describing the ‘stats’ and trends characteristic of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class. This is designed to ‘ready’ you for said National Public Forums: ‘Future of manufactured housing as ‘housing’ vs. ‘trailers’; and, ‘Future of LLLCommunities as ‘lifestyle’ & ‘investments’. Be present and Be part of manufactured housing industry history!


What Do YOU think?

The popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ is at an Impasse (‘deadlock’).

The question is, ‘Whether to continue using the widely known and applied 30% Housing Expense Factor (i.e. income percentage set aside to cover ‘housing costs’) in said worksheet, or increase it to 45% HEF, allowing for the combination of such ‘front end debt’ (i.e. aforementioned 30% HEF) with ‘car loans, child support, alimony, & student loans’ as ‘back end debt’ or DTI (debt-to-income) not to exceed a 45% HEF limit?!’

Most of the material in the previous introductory paragraph is quoted from ‘Contemporary Archetype of Affordable Housing in the U.S.’, published in chapter #6 of Bruce Savage’s book, The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, 2013. This COBA7® resource available via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

The ‘45% max DTI limit’, however, was quoted during a McGlinchey Stafford presentation regarding ‘Ability to Repay’ at MHI’s Summer meeting in Indianapolis, IN., in June 2014. The entire Power Point slide is quoted as follows:

“Underwriting must take into account the consumer’s proposed monthly housing cost: principal, interest, taxes, insurance and mortgage insurance (‘PITI’), credit history, current income, installment debt (such as car loans and credit card debt), alimony and child support, and debt-to-income ratios (‘DTI’) income must be ‘expected income the consumer is reasonably assured of receiving’, verified and documented. DTI must be determined based on a fully amortizing loan.” 15 U.S.C. 1639b

FYI.’ Housing cost’, as described in the previous paragraph includes PITI – and according to presenter, ‘rental homesite rent dollars’, but nothing more! There’s no allowance for ‘household expense’ utilities (e.g. heating fuel, electricity, water, sewer). As ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ users know, these ‘phantom but real’ housing costs when factored into said 30% HEF result in more ‘affordable’ home pricing, but when omitted, are labeled – in the worksheet proper – as being ‘risky’ investments.

So, where to go from here? ‘Leave well enough alone and the unsuspecting public be damned!’; OR, raise the HEF limit from 30 to 45% to include back end DTI; OR, ‘take the guts out of’ the 30% HEF (i.e. household ‘utility’ expense allowance), and commence ‘playing the numbers game like most other mortgage lenders’? Tough choice!

What say YOU? This inquiring mind would like your considered opinion! Mine? Leave the household ‘utility’ expenses intact, and encourage conservative borrowing (i.e. ‘buying less home with less risk’ instead of ‘more home with more risk’) on the part of most, if not all, prospective homebuyers and homebuyers/site lessees.

Know what? This has been a major wakeup call for me, after 35 years in the housing industry. Specifically? Seeing how lenders, up and down the line, apparently prefer to sell more house to individuals than they can affordably handle, because bigger loans mean bigger commissions and greater returns to said lenders.


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