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

August 27, 2016

Be Careful What You ‘Read & Believe’ About LLLCommunity Investing Today

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 2:34 pm

Blog # 411 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 28 August 2016,

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 the sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research report & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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.

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. Part I is self-explanatory. Beware sharp-tongued commentators who posit numbers and claims to describe particular investment pictures of their liking. Part II is reminiscent of Randy Rowe’s warning in 2002, to an intimate group of business friends, of the near collapse of housing finance that’d occur five years later. But that’s a story for another day….


Be Careful What You ‘Read & Believe’ About
Land-lease-lifestyle Community InvestingToday

(a.k.a. manufactured home community)

During the late 1970s, until 1986, the sales pitch was, among ‘mobile home park’ syndicators focused on getting doctors, dentists and lawyers, to buy tax loss positions in limited partnerships. When this practice was outlawed, the Resolution Trust Commission (‘RTC’) enjoyed a heyday, 1989-1995, liquidating manufactured home communities for cents on the dollar – as is. Then came the little real estate investment trust wave of 1994 & 1995, when ‘everyone wanted a piece of that action’, but only five REITs actually materialized, three of which remain to this day. Well today, two decades later we’re seeing a somewhat different investment scenario unfold, within the pages of an advertising-supported trade publication, and among certain land-lease-lifestyle communities across the U.S.

So, what does a property portfolio firm do, that’s been acquiring marginally-performing LLLCommunities, at a pretty good clip, to attract buyer attention to their realty holdings? They might make interesting, and at times confusing claims, like these:

• ‘Income capitalization rates (‘cap rates’) for LLLCommunities are not as generous as those awarded conventional apartment communities!’ True. In other words, ‘Pay us more for our investment properties because you’re already doing so with another (multifamily) realty asset class’ – albeit, one that’s more attractive to Millennials and victims of the year 2007 housing finance debacle.

• ‘Our site rent rates are way too low!’ In other words, ‘Buy our properties and jack the rents right away, to recoup your cash investment!’ Everyone does it. Our gift to you!

• ‘Or, your professional property managers can raise site rents substantially!’ In other words, we might want to do so, but prefer to leave that truly golden opportunity to your professional property management team.

• ‘There are still a lot of ‘mom & pop’ operations out there, owned by the Greatest Generation. And they too have vacancies to fill, rent rates to raise, and more.’ In other words, go buy those ‘deals’ and leave the larger properties, with 100+ rental homesites, to us!

• ‘Hey, gotta love those private equity guys!’ They arrive with more capital than common sense and rarely any industry experience. They also tend to ‘bail’ after a couple years. Has anyone noticed how many of these storied transactions have been consummated of late? None worth mentioning; well, maybe one.

• ‘We must be doing something right. International investment monies are now in play, just look at YES! Communities two billion dollar deal!’ With negative ROI rate returns increasingly commonplace elsewhere in the world, all that means is we’re ‘better than nothing or less’.

With all that said, if you’re reading this blog posting with an eye to buying one or more LLLCommunities for personal and or corporate investment, be at the Marcus & Millichap-hosted Community Investors Symposium, from 4-6PM, the afternoon of 7 September 2016, at the Gaylord Opryland Hilton Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Nashville, TN. Dozens of LLLCommunities will be available for review and purchase as the M&M team, along with other real estate brokerages, showcase them during this two hour period kicking off the 25th anniversary of the Networking Roundtable, at the same location, on 8 & 9 September. For more information, us brochure attached to email introducing this blog posting, or simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


Storm Clouds Gathering Once Again?

‘You could qualify for a home equity line of credit.’

Quoting from an undated CHASE bank direct mail solicitation letter, one mailed to homeowners – including me, pressing an 8 September 2016 deadline.

“Dear George. You may be eligible for a Chase home equity line of credit at a low rate. You can use the equity in your home to make home improvements, pay off high-rate bills and loans, or even college tuition. There are no application fees and no closing costs (except for cities, counties, and states that require payment of taxes and stamps) – only a $50 origination fee and a $50 annual fee. Plus, the interest may be tax deductible.”

Here’s how it works:

Line of credit balance = $50,000. Estimated variable APR* = 3.88% APR. And, Interest-only payments begin at $162 per month.

Hmm. How’s ‘no application fee’ different from a ‘$50 loan origination fee’?

*APR = annual percentage rate; but don’t overlook that word ‘variable’ in there…

Are homeowner and consumer memories so short, we/they don’t recall similar letters, circa 2006, enticing homeowners in the same manner, or worse? Only a scant decade in time has passed, and already it appears banks, who pay out little to nothing in personal savings account interest anymore, once again roll out the home equity line of credit as another income stream or profit center for their institution.

Sure hope we don’t see ‘the rest of this history repeat itself’ during the months and year ahead! How ‘bout you?


August 20, 2016

23 Years Later & Only Six Remain! Times Are a – Changing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:04 am

Blog # 410 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 21 August 2016,

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 the sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG o r633-4764

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’ Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. A simple but complicated mix of two timely topics.

In the first instance (Part I), we remember and honor LLLCommunity owners/operators who defied convention and status quo in 1993, to prepare for the anticipated REIT wave of 1994 & 1995. Today, only a handful of these pioneers remain active in the MHBusiness.

Then there’s Part II. Hopefully you already realize we live and work in turbulent times, where the national economy and our industry’s business model are concerned. But have YOU stopped and considered the lasting effects horizontal (consolidation) and vertical integration have had, and continue to have, on our industry and realty asset class?

If you’re one of those who believe the MHIndustry needs a new, independent national trade association to protect and advance the business interests and concerns of the post production sector of manufactured housing, you’ll want to read this week’s blog posting from beginning to end. Because there is indeed a third such party ‘waiting in the wings’ for the timing and leadership to be right and effective from the word ‘Go’!


23 Years Later, Only Six Remain Active!

On 31 August 1993, 19 (then) MHCommunity owners/operators met in an Indianapolis airport hotel for a strategic planning meeting, to plan effective national advocacy for their unique, income-producing property type, before the anticipated REIT wave of 1994 & 1995. The list of ‘players’ at the time was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of community owners/operators nationwide, e.g. Randy Rowe; Gary McDaniel; Tom Horner, Jr.; Martin Newby; Kamal Shouhayib; Gill Geary, CPM®; Marty Levin, Esq.; Eugene Landy; Brian Fannon, CPM®; Ed Zeman; and, George Allen, CPM®

During the months following that day long meeting, an Industry Steering Committee (‘ISC’) was birthed by these men; and 2 ½ years later, MHI formed the National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division, to absorb the ISC. Today, the rest is history.

But what’s happened to the 19 individuals who stepped forward as pioneers in our industry at the time?

Some have moved onto other business and personal pursuits, not to be generally heard from again, e.g. Jeff Kellogg, Jerry Ellenburg and Scott West, Dick Leiter, Bill Williams, and Bill Geary, CPM®.

Ron Richardson, to date, is the only one who’s deceased. Martin Newby and Tom Horner, Jr. have been succeeded in their respective businesses by sons and other relatives. Lynwood Welhausen and Marty Lavin too have retired.

Randy Rowe, during the past two decades has accumulated and sold two LLLCommunity portfolios, and has now moved onto other realty investment interests. Jim Grange continues to work with Gary McDaniel.

That leaves six men still active in their business careers:

• Gary McDaniel, an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee and past chairman of MHI, during recent years founded and grew YES! Communities, headquartered in Denver, CO.

• Kamal Shouhayib, working from Troy, MI., continues, with the assistance of his wife and sons, Rob and Omar, to own/operate Choice Properties throughout the Midwest.

• Eugene Landy continues to be patriarch of (now) UMH Properties, Inc., a REIT, headquartered in Freehold, NJ. and is assisted by his son Sam.

• Brian Fannon, CPM®, also an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, having worked for several large portfolio firms over the years, but is now focused on a effecting a new LLLCommunity development in Michigan.

• Ed Zeman, succeeded his father, Bud Zeman, and owns/operates one of the largest property portfolios in the Midwest.

• George Allen, CPM®, MHM®, another RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, is the smallest owner/operator of the bunch. However, over the decades, founded the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, researched & published 27 annual ALLEN REPORTs, plus the Allen Letter, & dozen books.

Yes, the manufactured housing industry, back in 1993, was fortunate to have 19 leaders step forward to chart their collective business destiny! While there are but six pioneers who remain active in the MHBusiness today, it’s interesting to note that four of them continue to lead the companies they founded, or were head of, 23 years ago.

Want to learn more about this key time in LLLCommunity history? Read Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! Published in 2014, it makes for a fascinating ‘read’ about our industry and realty asset class, prior to, during and since the renascence of 1998. To order a copy, for $24.95 postpaid, simply phone (317) 346-7156.


‘The Times They Are A-Changing!’

As Bob Dylan’s song, and album by the same name, opined back in January 1964

Well, 50 years later that message has been, and continues to be proving, true for the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry and its’ real estate component, today’s land-lease-lifestyle community asset class!

• Early 1970s saw an unprecedented high volume of ‘mobile home parks’, cum manufactured home communities in 1976 developed from coast to coast, to site record-level annual volumes of new ‘mobile home’ shipments.

• 1975 – 1976 saw implementation of the nation’s first and only federal (‘HUD’), performance-based building code foisted on the manufactured housing industry. Ten years later, MHCommunity consolidation began in earnest via syndications.

• 1995 – 2005 marked MHIndustry’s brief and unsuccessful competition, with local homebuilders, using larger, tricked-out Developer Model manufactured homes. Factories bought up independent (street) MHRetailers, to better control distribution, turning them into ‘company stores’. Simultaneously, MHCommunity consolidation continued via several IPOs (Initial Public Offerings of stock) forming real estate investment trusts or REITs)

• In short order, the number of independent (street) MHRetailers plummeted from more than 14,000 to fewer than 4,000. Beginning in year 2009, when new HUD-Code home shipments reached its’ nadir, (now) land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators picked up the slack and routinely bought, sold and seller-financed new HUD-Code homes on-site nationwide. Today, more than 40 percent of new HUD-Code homes are shipped directly into LLLCommunities.

• Bottom lines? In terms of consolidation: In 1977, 25 housing manufacturing firms garnered 70 percent of national market share; today, in 2015, the Big 3-C firms (Clayton, Cavco, Champion) garner approximately 71 percent of national market share. In the (then) MHCommunity component of the MHIndustry, only 25 portfolio firms were known and documented in 1987; today that total has risen to 500+/- sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and three REITs.

And ‘change’ (i.e. 16 year paradigm shifts in consolidation and distribution) continues, particularly for one mega-firm, Clayton Homes, a manufacturer of HUD-Code homes. And their growth is surely stimulated in large part, by dint of ownership by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Here we learn anew about horizontal and vertical integration.


In this instance, we’ve already observed horizontal integration, as BEING a synonym for consolidation, i.e. acquiring similar (i.e. home manufacturing) firms, e.g. Clayton Homes has acquired Schult Homes, Crest Homes, Karsten Homes, Golden West Homes, Norris Homes, Giles Homes, Marlette Homes, SE Homes, Buccaneer Homes, Cavalier Homes, and more during recent months….


This is another story altogether. By way of definition, it’s the degree to which a firm owns its’ upstream suppliers and downstream buyers. When we first looked at Clayton Homes, in this context, during December 2015, we noted:

• Clayton Homes, with its’ estimated 41 percent national market share, is owned by Berkshire Hathaway

• 21st Mortgage Corporation., one of the remaining Big 3+1 independent, third party chattel capital lenders, is also owned by Berkshire Hathaway. As is the ‘+1’ firm, Vanderbilt Mortgage, in-house home finance arm for Champion Homes.

• Berkadia Mortgage is an emerging player, where LLLCommunity mortgages, and manufactured housing finance are concerned. The firm is owned by Berkshire Hathaway.

• Berkshire Hathaway Home Services. “…real estate brokerage network built for a new era in residential real estate, grounded in the financial strength, efficiency and tradition of its’ HomeServicesof America parent company, will change the face of residential real estate.” Quoted from 2013 issue of RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE magazine.. The firm is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Note. We’ve yet to see BHH ‘changing the face of residential real estate’, but it certainly could include the establishment of a secondary market for the sale of resale manufactured homes, potentially boosting opportunities for Clayton Homes to fabricate and ship many more new HUD-Code homes.

• Various suppliers of products and services upstream, e.g. GEICO & Progressive Insurance companies, as well as various building supply companies.

Now, here’s the proverbial ‘rub’. With quiet but increasing frequency we read of conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over (if not already ‘taken over’) the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry. For example, here’s a quote from the August 2016 issue of THE JOURNAL.

• Relative to Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) rulemaking at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (‘FHFA’): “…the obvious self-interest of industry dominant lenders in maintaining what has been called a ‘monopoly’ on manufactured housing consumer lending….: p.12

Assuming truth and legitimacy of these claims of ‘conspiracies and monopolies gradually taking over the political agenda of the manufactured housing industry’, what’re the solutions? In the same op/ed piece in THE JOURNAL, the writer makes this case for a new independent national trade association to represent the post production sector of manufactured housing:

• “…to monitor issues in the nation’s capitol, mobilize for effective action, and fight for their interests and issues, rather than the few industry-dominant lenders and the corporate conglomerates that stand behind them.” And until that happens, the writer opines, our shipments of new HUD-Code homes will continue to languish well below 100,000 units per year.

So, where’s this new independent national trade association going to come from? Surely not the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) with its’ 80+ percent national member market share of new HUD-Code manufactured housing distribution; nor, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) and its’ regional housing manufacturing firms. The Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® is ideally suited for ‘the job’ for these reasons:

• Ongoing statistical research. COBA7® has become, during 2016, statistician for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class, in that GSEs and other government agencies now routinely seek the alliance’s accurate new home shipment data, and other such bodies of information.

• Updating & distribution of more than a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRDs’), monthly, e.g. ALLEN REPORT; National Registry of ALL Lenders; Directory of ALL HUD-Code Home Manufacturers; & nine more

• Weekly (blog) and two monthly print business newsletters for LLLCommunity owners, and senior executives in all segments of the MHIndustry

• Superb interpersonal networking opportunities throughout the year.

• Superb realty deal-making opportunities throughout the year.

• Professional property management training & certification via the popular Manufactured Housing Manager® or MHM® program…1,000+ to date!

• National advocacy when need be. Today that includes official (press) ombudsman and historian for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class.

But as ideally suited as COBA7® is for this heady and timely responsibility, it’s going to take a younger, charismatic, successful entrepreneur type individual, willing to live and work in Washington, DC., to pull this off! All this has been an ongoing topic of conversation among COBA7® affiliates since January 2014. We even figured out how to effectively fund the effort without soliciting funds from those with a more inclusive vision for the manufactured housing industry. Want to talk about this? Contact me anytime….


George Allen, CPM®, MHM®
Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

August 13, 2016

The Most Important Thing You Do This Week!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:06 am

Blog # 409 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 14 August 2016,

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 the sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter, & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of its’ print/online media = to ‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION: Already one of the 150 registered for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable? Then maybe skip over Part I here following – unless, of course, you want to get excited ‘all over again’ about what you’re going to experience 7-9 September in Nashville, TN. Not registered? Them, by all means, read Part I and be motivated to participate in the most exciting national MHIndustry venue to occur during all of year 2016! Nowhere else will you find a more focused (on LLLCommunities) but eclectic array of timely and strategic topics. And Part II? Certainly a departure from our usual MHIndustry & LLLCommunity fare, but a worthy one nonetheless. How so? More and more MH/RV mixed use income-producing properties are in our portfolios these days; but more important, many of the ills described in Greg Gerber’s 62 page ‘RV Industry Death’ study have parallels in the MHIndustry! Perhaps we can, and should, learn from a sister industry’s missteps. Read and let me know what you think.


Do You Remember?

When You Missed an Important Event or Date…

Well, don’t let that be the case where the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable is concerned! I’ve been planning and hosting this annual event for 2 ½ decades and know this: No previous roundtable has attracted as much manufactured housing industry wide attention as this one! Seriously. Every time I turn around, figuratively speaking, someone is tweaking their scheduled presentation, making it all the more timely and strategic to today’s business environment for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators.

It’s difficult to even know where to start, when describing some of these exciting offerings by hands-on entrepreneur businessmen and women, but here goes:

• Guidebook for Selling & Seller-financing of New HUD-Code Homes On-site in LLLCommunities is ‘at the printer’ and will be ready for distribution to everyone in attendance at the roundtable. The guidebook is a ‘resource first’ for the realty asset class and contains home marketing, sales, and financing information featured at the inaugural Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars.

• It’s expected every COBA7® affiliate present at the roundtable will receive a plastic discount card by dint of the alliance’s working relationship with the Consumer Buyers’ Group – good at Lowe’s, Office Max/Staples, Sherwin Williams, and elsewhere.

• You already know about the emerging theme: 2015 Chattel Capital Summit. That’ll be manifested thru the keynote address by Tim Williams of 21st Mortgage; MHI’s HR650 bill; the recently discovered HR5301 Seller Finance Enhancement Act; a look at hybrid chattel capital; GSE loan guarantee on ‘home only loans’ in LLLCommunities; a review of ‘all the $ options’ when selling and seller-financing new and resale homes on-site; and, all you ever wanted to know about lease-option but didn’t know who & what to ask, and there’s even more.

• Always popular Lenders Panel Friday morning

• Always popular GSE Panel Friday morning (Where else can you go in the MHIndustry for such a potent one-two housing & community finance punch?)

• One home manufacturer will be making a public commitment to focus marketing attention on selling more HUD-Code homes, especially Community Series Homes, to LLLCommunity owners/operators, large and small, nationwide! (Some of us have waited ‘decades’ for this to occur!)

• MHIndustry pioneer, LLLCommunity developer/owner, independent (street) MHRetailer, and industry activist Alvan Schrader will be present to share his experiences authoring the autobiography No Respect At All, A PATH TO MILLION$. There’ll be opportunity to buy this pleasurable ‘read’, and have him autograph it as well!

• Don Westphal will be sharing his Best Lessons Learned, as landscape architect, and LLLCommunity rehabilitation expert, gleaned from 50 years of professional experience!

• What’s going on with this sudden interest in mixed use LLLCommunity/RV park properties? MAI® John Whitcomb has the answers and will be sharing them.

• And the list goes on…Haven’t even told you what I’m going to be sharing with you this time around. As you know, I rarely share during this event, but not this year.

OK, if I haven’t convinced you to attend by now, it’s doubtful I will going forward. Just know this. The International Networking Roundtable is the sole annual venue designed specifically and wholly to serve the information needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators like you. Without it, you’d have nothing in the way of HOW TO education (20+ seminars & panel discussions), superb interpersonal networking (eight meal & social events), and investment property deal-making (Community Investors Symposium, Wednesday afternoon). Participate and demonstrate your support going forward!

For an information brochure and or to register, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156.


Thank You Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

‘How & What Gerber’s Study of Factory-built RVs QSV
(product quality, service, value)

Might relate to & suggest about

Factory-built MHs QSV, past, present & future!’

via a review of

RV Industry Death Spiral

‘A Collection of editorials outlining serious issues facing every segment of the recreation vehicle industry’


Greg Gerber,
Editor, RV Daily Report

Is there such a word as déjà vu teux (two)? If not, there should be, for two good reasons, the respective histories of two sister industries: ‘mobile home’ cum manufactured housing, and recreation vehicles.

What you’re reading here, is the fruit of a lost half Saturday, reading Greg Gerber’s compendium of editorials, from RV Daily Report, titled: RV Industry Death Spiral. Boy, if you’re in or around the RV industry, these 62 pages are a ‘must read’, whether you agree with the author’s assessment of being in a death spiral or not.

I’ll be liberally quoting from Gerber’s material, not so much for RV commentary, but as to how it relates – past, present, even future, to the MH, or manufactured housing, industry from which I hail. There are, I believe, legitimate lessons to be learned here.

How so? Just read most of the Table of Contents chapter headings for clues:

• Manufacturers race to the bottom

• Dealers drop the ball on service

• Campgrounds losing capacity

• Associations can influence change

• Industry media falls asleep

See what I mean? The temptation is to make the comparisons right here, between the RV industry’s (presumed) ills today, and those the MHIndustry suffered pre HUD-Code (mid-1970s); and again, at the turn of the 21st Century (i.e. 1998-2002). Ready to move on?

Where have I heard this thinly veiled challenge before? “After covering the (RV) industry for 15 years as a journalist, one of the best career moves I ever made was to actually purchase a product produced by the RV industry and hit the road using it. I started observing how the industry works from the eyes of a consumer. It hasn’t been pretty.” P.3. I’ve known precious few MHIndustry execs who’ve bought and lived in manufactured homes. Notable exceptions = Bruce Savage, Jim Keller, retired Bob Broph, and others. Perhaps more of us should follow Greg’s example….

The first contemporary parallel that struck a chord was this:

In the RV Industry, “…two firms control about 72 percent of the entire RV market. With Thor’s acquisition of Jayco last Friday (this Summer), that number is now up to 83 percent.” P.4
In the MHIndustry, the Three Big – C Companies: Clayton Homes, Cavco Ind., & Champion Home Builders, control about 71 percent of the entire MH market. With the addition of MHI’s other manufacturer members, that total is now up to 85 percent, according to data supplied during the institute’s June meeting in Indianapolis, IN.

Now, try this one on for size. “…the (RV) industry talks a good talk and markets the heck out of the lifestyle. But it drops the ball big time when it comes to QSV – quality, service and value.” P.5. Examples. “…a 360 Siphon is an effective $10 part that can eliminate RV odors, which people who actually use RVs know is a consistent problem. But many manufacturers won’t install the simple device. Why? It will push them out of the mythical price point.” P.6. Want a lighter weight RV? “Why use plywood when cardboard looks just as good.” P.11 And this: “…wood becomes fiberboard and metal parts become plastic parts.” P.14
The MHIndustry, at present, does not ‘talk a good talk’, let alone market the heck out of the LLLCommunity lifestyle. But it does serve up a mixed bag where QSV is concerned. Think ‘Not enough product quality and service complaints to justify Dispute Resolution enforcement, but HUD does so anyway’. (That’s what’s so disturbing about having one – or more, home manufacturers producing new homes with marginal components). And value? That’s always a tough ‘call’. As long as manufacturers keep raising product price and sales centers ‘sell more house than homebuyer/site lessees can afford’, it’s ‘value be damned!’.

Well, at least in the MH business things haven’t gotten so bad, that I’m aware of, this bromide applies: “…advice regarding the purchase of new RVs is consistent – don’t buy new.” P.7 And this, overheard in an RV repair shop: “RVs ain’t for using, they’re for fixing.” P.12.

Did you know? “Campgrounds…the last bastion of genuine community…in America.” p.28. But, “…campgrounds are contributing to the demise of the RV industry….” P.28. How so?

• “Campground owners are taking out RV sites to install cabins, deluxe cabins and park models. They bring in more money.” P.28

• “…sites not gobbled up by cabins and park models are being rented long-term to seasonal campers.” P.28

• Selling out to REITs. “…once the deal is signed, the corporation needs to recoup its’ investment. The first thing they do is raise camping rates. A $30 per night site quickly becomes a $50 site and affordability of camping is seriously diminished.”p.29

• Regulations stymies new campground development. P.29

And here’s yet another presumed RV/MH parallel to ponder. “When two manufacturers, one supplier, one distributor, and one dealership controls a huge swath of the RV industry, associations are weakened by the lack of diverse thought and lively debate. Worse, they are subject to the control of big players through funding.” P.37 And right there, my friend, is maybe why MHARR was birthed in 1985, certainly why COBA7® debuted in 2014. Brings to mind George Santayana’s famous quote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Beware consumer satisfaction studies. “Partnering with JD Power, a well-recognized name in gauging auto industry satisfaction, _____was going to show the world how happy RV owners were with the products they purchased However, the results were never made public. Rumor is, the report was shredded, the shreds burned, and the ashes scattered by a fishing trawler along 10 miles of the North Atlantic on a moonless night in September. To the best of my knowledge, no consumer satisfaction studies have been completed since then.” P.41. Hmm. Distant memory suggests a similar MH exercise awhile back, but none since.

A proposed consumer mandate: “RV owners should insist manufacturers…use building materials and structural reinforcements to ensure the (RV) products don’t fall apart when traveling one or two hours down the road.” P.49

Did you know? “…the (trade) media also (has) a duty to protect the industry from the corruption, warn against monopolies, fight against unnecessary government control, discourage favoritism, and protect Free enterprise, so all companies can compete fairly in the same arena.” P.58 Sad to say, things are not much better today in the MHIndustry.

“There are seven, maybe eight, individuals in the RV industry, who fancy themselves to be kingmakers. Everyone must genuflect in their presence and kiss their rings, if they want to be perceived as a player in the industry.” P.59 Hmm. And who would you say are the kingmakers in the manufactured housing industry? I can think of three or four…

Well, there you have it; my reader walk thru the RV Industry Death Spiral, by Greg Gerber, editor of the RV Daily Report. Here’s trivia for you. Who is Greg related to in the manufactured housing industry? Hint. Like Greg, that person too is an RVer. And if we’re lucky, he’ll show up 7-9 September, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort Hotel & Conference Center in Nashville, TN., for the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable. How ‘bout you? To register, phone (317) 346-7156.


George Allen, CPM® & MHM®
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

August 6, 2016

MHAlive! Think Tank sets stage for 25th Networking Roundtable

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:40 am

Blog # 408 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 7 August 2016,

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 the sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities.

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

COBA7® Motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U! Goal of it is’ print/online media =
‘Not only inform & Opine, but transform & improve MHBusiness Model Performance.’

INTRODUCTION. This week’s blog, by way of introduction, covers the exciting proceedings at MHAlive! – a Think Tank experience, as it occurred 1 August 2016, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN. Frankly, this veteran MHIndustry observer cannot think of a single ‘like event’ at any other time, anywhere else, during year 2016. Yet this is the very type of Open Discussion our industry and realty asset class needs, to get us through the trauma and paradigm shifting of the past 16 years! So, read and ponder – then commit to participate in next year’s MHAlive!, same place, similar time (first Monday of August in Elkhart). GFA



MHAlive! ‘Think Tank’ Stimulates Discussion & Plans for Future

Is it possible? The RV/MH Hall of Fame, in Elkhart, IN., has become the national hub for present and future discussions of manufactured housing & recreational vehicle industries’ issues & matters, as well as a business education center for its’ entrepreneurs.

Apparently it has! The RV industry routinely kicks off their new production year
with early morning breakfasts in its’ banquet hall – attracting hundreds! The MHIndustry,
since 2/27/2009, has convened State of the Industry Caucuses there – most recently, Two
Days of Plant Tours & Home Sale Seminars’ was hosted in the facility’s amphitheatre
and seven nearby HUD-Code housing manufacturing plants.

And this past Monday, 1 August 2016, manufactured housing executives and
land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, from Georgia to California and in
between, gathered for a morning-long MHAlive! ‘Think Tank’ experience, concluded
with a luncheon. Later in the day, the 2016 Class of RV/MH industry pioneers and
leaders were inducted into the foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame!

What was discussed during the MHAlive! Think Tank sessions? A few of the
heady topics that are, or should be, on just about everyone’s mind these days:

• Restoring reasonable access to chattel capital, to enable in-community ‘home only loans’. Here, lively discussion ranged from FHFA’s Duty to Serve (‘DTS’) rulemaking; to status of HR650; to ‘Who’s HR5301 – the Seller Finance Enhancement Act?’ to, tell me more about Fannie Mae ‘home only loans’ in certain LLLCommunities! For more info on HR5301, go to For more info on MHI/MHARR’s HR650, phone (703) 558-0400. For more info on Fannie Mae & ‘home only loans’, come to the 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable, 7-9 September in Nashville, TN. Phone (317) 346-7156 for more information & to register for this seminal event.

• It’s all but inevitable, DOE-mandated energy standards will increase the cost of new singlesection manufactured homes by approximately $2,000 apiece, and multisection homes by approximately $4,000 apiece! This heavy-handed dictate is being effected 1) with few, if any, businessmen and women (e.g. home manufacturers, LLLCommunity owners) involved ‘in the rulemaking process’; 2) relative to factory-built homes already recognized as being energy efficient and not in need of additional energy regs at this time; 3) with DOE’s surprising lack of awareness of the paradigm shift moving distribution of new HUD-Code homes away from independent (street) MHRetailers, into LLLCommunities nationwide; and, 4) either uncaring or naïve, to the reality these unnecessary energy standards will stymie lower and middle income individuals/families’ access to the last type of affordable, non-subsidized manufactured housing left in the U.S.!

• As shown recently (in Woodall’s Campground Management, July 2016), the ‘RV Industry Pumps Nearly $50 Billion Annually into the U.S. Economy’. Well, the Manufactured Housing Institute, working with Dr. Stephen C. Cooke of the Alward Institute for Collaborative Studies, in North Carolina, plans to estimate similar $ impact on the U.S. economy, by HUD-Code manufactured housing and its’ various segments, e.g. land-lease-lifestyle communities. To date, Dr. Cooke, citing a base year of 2013, and examining only the ‘production value’ of new homes shipped, suggested a ‘going forward factor’ of $43,169 per unit (e.g. 2013 = $2,600,000,000.00 divided by 60,288 units shipped = $43,126,300.00/unit) Thus, 70,544 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 2015 – according to the Institute for Building Safety & Technology (‘IBTS’), contributed approximately $3,045, 313,936.00 to the national economy that year.

• The realities of corporate consolidation, in HUD-Code home manufacturing and LLLCommunity investment properties, was tallied, compared and examined. Specifically; in 1977 = 25 housing manufacturing firms garnered 70% of national market share, shipping 186,462 of 265,651 new ‘mobile homes’; today, in 2015 = the Big 3-C firms (Clayton, Cavco, Champion) together garnered 71% national market share, shipping approximately 50,086 of 70,544 new manufactured homes. And in the case of (then) MHCommunities, 1987 saw the 25 (then) known portfolio ‘players’ owning/operating 181,705 rental homesites; today, 2015 = 120 of the 500+/- known portfolio owners/operators control 841,796 rental homesites; overall, a 20 fold increase in the total number of portfolio ‘players’ (i.e. 25 to 500+/-); and, a like 20 fold estimated increase (3,634,100+/- sites) in total number of rental homesites within property portfolios characteristic of this real estate asset class (e.g. 3,634,100 divided by 181,705)!

• COBA7® debuted its’ ‘TOP TEN States Shipping New HUD-Code Homes’ in an earlier blog posting, featuring the May 2016 listing. Well, here’re the May & June lists side by side. No one else in the MHIndustry will provide you this interesting and helpful monthly information from the IBTS!

MAY 2016 JUNE 2016
1. Texas = 1,096 HUD-Code homes 1. TX = 1,129 HUD-Code homes
2. Florida = 434 2. FL = 474
3. Louisiana = 403 3. LA = 460
4. Alabama = 377 4. AL = 364
5. Michigan = 309 5. MI = 348
6. North Carolina = 273 6. MS = 327
7. California = 263 7. CA = 285
8. South Carolina = 258 8. NC = 280
9. Mississippi = 252 9. SC = 258
10. Kentucky = 210 10. GA = 242
Total = 4,167 of 7,299 = 57%

These lists supplement a similar format published by the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’). Major difference? Their ranking is per ‘cumulative total shipments’, per state, harkening back to 2011. The COBA7® lists are not encumbered with past performance per state; rather, just new unadulterated data! Are you a COBA7® affiliate yet? Phone aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE for an information brochure.

Did you notice? The total number of new HUD-Code homes shipped during June 2016 is 7,299 units! That brings the YTD total to 39,869 units. These statistics are researched & published by IBTS, used by HUD, MHARR, & COBA7. Be aware & beware, a June shipment number ‘reduced by’, then ‘added to’, by Destination Pending figures from past (May) & present (June) months. So confusing!

• Final area of Think Tank discussion had to do with the present state of ‘no national brand advertising for HUD-Code manufactured housing’. Discussion centered around whether LLLCommunities, given their present day absorption of 40+ percent of new HUD-Code home shipments (during 2015), should consider pressuring home manufacturers to redirect payment of floor fees (that LLLCommunities pay to them) to a capable, experienced, motivated (yet to be named) national manufactured housing marketing and advertising firm, to this end: National Brand Advertising!

• Announcement was made re publication and FREE distribution of a Guidebook for the Selling & Seller-financing of New HUD-Code Homes On-site in LLLCommunities, at the upcoming 25th anniversary Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN. The guidebook is a compilation of material presented at the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, held in May at the RV/MH Hall of Fame; plus timely and helpful material culled from other sources and resources. The guidebook will also likely be distributed at the 6th annual SECO Summit in the South, in Atlanta, GA., in late October. And then be available for purchase from COBA7®. For more info on the SECO event, email

• Finally, and actually occurring after the MHAlive! Think Tank experience, preliminary plans were laid for a one or two day seminar program this Winter. Titled, ‘How to Implement & Use Lease-Option in Midwest LLLCommunities!’ LLLCommunity owners/operators in five Midwest states have already voiced support for the program. To put your name on the ‘invite’ list, email

See what you missed by not being present at MHAlive! on 1 August at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN.? But don’t fret; plans are afoot to host MHAlive! – a ‘Think Tank’ experience, again next year, during the same time frame, at the same location!

And that wasn’t all. Following a group luncheon, hosted by Newport Pacific, several MHIndustry execs returned to the Hall of Fame for an hour long presentation of ‘Write Your RV/MH Story!’, How to Pen & Publish Your Memoir, Autobiography, or Corporate History….This session, led by George Allen, CPM® & MHM®, will likely result in a biography of a true industry pioneer, an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, whose career extends back to the year 1948! This session too will likely be featured in 2017 at the same place and during same timeframe – to encourage other pioneers, and YOU, to record and publish your personal, familial, and or corporate history in the RV and or MH industries!


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