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

October 29, 2016

Tne BEST & WORST of Times for the Manufactured Housing Industry!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:01 am

Blog # 419 Copyright 2016 COBA7 @ 30 October 2016;

Perspective. ‘Land-lease Communities, previously manufactured home communities, & ‘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 LLCommunities!

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: This past week, 24 – 28 October has seen the BEST and WORST sides of the manufactured housing industry and its’ real estate component, the land-lease community asset class! How so?

Part I describes the absolutely incredible, incomparable meeting venue planned and hosted by HUD-Code home manufacturers and LLLCommunity owners/operators in the greater Southeast this past week – in Atlanta, GA.

Part II describes the absolutely incredible, incomparable – what some folk are already calling a ‘power grab’, by the Department of Housing & Urban Development’s (‘HUD’) manufactured housing program, relative to ‘changing existing rules’ regarding ‘Manufactured Home Foundations in Freezing Climates’. Read what follows here, and decide if we’re looking at a déjà-vu experience (circa 1974-76), now again in year 2017 & beyond – and let me know your thoughts!


‘SECO Summit in the South’
Now a Major MHIndustry Show!

Some Pundits Calling it the ‘New Tunica MHShow’!

WOW! More than 255 registrants convened in Atlanta from the 25th to 27th of October! And 60 percent of attendees were land-lease community owners/operators from more than two dozen states, some from as far away as California!

SECO (That’s short for Southeast Community Owners) hosts describe their Summit in the South as being “for community owners by community owners’! And it sure is that, from beginning to end. How so?

• Large group tour of local Legacy Homes plant, complete with luncheon

• A special home sales training seminar by freelance consultant Ken Corbin

• Five Community Series Homes, or CSH Models on display throughout the event. Two supplied by Fleetwood Homes, one each by Legacy Housing, River Birch Homes, & Schult Homes. One of these manufacturers walked away from the SECO venue selling 100 floors, and had more leads to call when back in the office!

• Plethora of moderated panel presentations & discussions on pithy topics!

• Stand alone presentations on specific timely topics, e.g. Carl Becker, esquire; holding forth on lease-option methodology as a preferred form of on-site seller-finance of new home sales transactions; along with state MHAssociation execs. Jay Hamilton (GA) & James Ayotte (FL) extolling the benefits of membership and mutual support. Maybe more state execs next year!

• Three dozen vendors displaying unique products and useful services

• And much much more!

An innovation other MHIndustry meeting planners might consider emulating, is SECO’s novel electronic audience ‘pro & con’ scored feedback, via Smartphone, as each session concluded.

The SECO16 planning committee numbered no fewer than 15 businessmen and women with deep personal and corporate roots in the manufactured housing industry and land-lease community asset class. The group is led by Spencer Roane, MHM® of Pentagon Properties; and actual event, managed and coordinated by Genevieve Katelle. For more information, simply contact

Furthermore, the SECO 17 planning committee has already started planning next year’s venue, likely moving to a larger local area hotel, and counting on attendance of 400+/- manufactured housing industry professionals!


‘Deja-vu’(as, ‘We’ve seen it all before’),
but now, in 2017???

HUD’s recent moves to regulate all ‘Manufactured Home Foundations in Freezing Climates’ nationwide, is viewed*1 as being akin (‘similar in nature’) to what was experienced during years 1974-76, when the HUD-Code was foisted on the (then) booming mobile home industry!

At this writing, formal reports have not yet surfaced, describing what occurred last week during the MHCC*2 meeting in Washington, DC. relative to the subject matter of Part II of this blog posting at Going into the meeting however, it appeared the manufactured housing industry’s two national advocacy entities, MHARR & MHI, were nearly, if not clearly, of one mind, relative to ensuring HUD goes through the regulatory process, if planning to use the 38 page ‘Manufactured Home Foundations in Freezing Climates’ study*3 as a new manufactured housing installation enforcement protocol, considering how it…

• Calls for requirements well beyond present day regulations.

• Recommends dispensing with local flexibility within present regulations

• Recommends difficult and costly requirements for existing rental homesites in land-lease communities, e.g. Removal of perfectly good concrete foundations (if not extending below the frost line), to be replaced with new concrete foundations extending below the frost line @ $5,000.00+/- capital cost per rental homesite!

• Relies on just one engineer to author said report. Per an MHI memorandum: “…reliance on one engineer and one specific set of engineering and design methodologies does not allow for other professional engineered designs.”

So, what happens now? Well, most of us ‘in the field’, so to speak, will simply have to Wait & See what comes next from HUD, MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®. Frustrating isn’t it? Especially since we only recently learned this ‘new industry issue’ has been around for months, and we’re only just now learning about it!

Well, it’s not too early for you, as businessmen and women, to start thinking ahead, as to what might be done to blunt or redirect this latter day assault on the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry! For starters, state manufactured housing associations, along with their respective SAAs, are certainly going to feel added financial pressure, if and when these onerous, expensive installation regulations go into effect during 2017 and following.

And just as the HUD (building) Code, when implemented during 1974-76 effectively torpedoed new ‘mobile home’ shipments (i.e. In 1973 = 579,960 shipments; then 1974 = only 338,393l and in 1976 = only 246,120) to an average of but 250,000+/- new ‘manufactured homes’ per year until 1998; when our too short, mini-renaissance, saw 372,843 new homes shipped. Today (year end 2015) we are at 70,544 and climbing!

NOW, imagine what will likely happen to the present day ‘40+ percent of new HUD-Code homes (circa 2015 = 28,000 units) going directly into land-lease communities’, if HUD’s power play goes unchecked! Most LLCommunity owners/operators – talking here of the 85% of 50,000+/- properties nationwide, containing fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece -cannot afford to retrofit perfectly good rental homesite foundations @ $5,000.00+/- apiece! So, given the 42.4% drop in new ‘mobile home’ shipments between years 1973 & 1976, might this mean a similar plummet from today’s 28,000 shipments, to only 11,872 new HUD-Code homes going into LLCommunities? If so, also say ‘Good bye’ to the estimated 75% of 100,000 new homes (or 75,000 new HUD-Code homes) projected, by this industry observer, to go into LLCommunities by year 2020! Probable bottom line? 75,000 units, down to only 31,000 shipped, if that! OUCH!

Is HUD trying to finally kill the manufactured housing industry and its’ land-lease community lifestyle? Is anyone out there paying attention? If so, let me know your thoughts on this timely and critical subject, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


One final, but serious wrap-up thought, on this contentious matter. A scant few years ago, rumor had it, HUD approached Congress about sun-setting the HUD (building) Code relative to manufactured housing, indicating this type factory-built housing, today, is of far better quality than the ‘mobile homes’ of 40 years ago.*4 (For a leading indicator of this reality, observe the minimal number of product and installation complaints making their way thru the Dispute Resolution process since its’ passage in 2007). Also, shipping only 50,000+/- new HUD-Code manufactured homes per year was allegedly, not enriching, let alone balancing, HUD’s $ coffers. Anyway, for shadowy reasons, sun-setting did not occur (Likely having to do with home manufacturers not wanting to lose the code’s ‘federal preemption’ marketing advantage, where their product is concerned), so license fees increased dramatically. But now, federal (Installation & Dispute Resolution) legislation ‘on the books but back-burnered’ since year 2007, has taken a dramatic and potentially expensive 180 degree turn, in effect threatening the continued existence of this nation’s last form of genuine, non-subsidized, high quality, energy efficient, ‘affordable housing’ – when there are far fewer places to site said homes.*5 Among the first to go, will be the aforementioned estimated 85% of 50,000+/- land-lease communities too small (i.e. fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece) to be able to afford the soon to be mandated ‘new concrete installations’ at $5,000+/- apiece! Is this our future?


End Notes.

1. ‘in my opinion’, as a veteran MHIndustry observer & reporter

2. MHCC = Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee

3. For detailed treatment of this 38 page document, read Part III of blog # 418, posted 23 October 2016, at

4. Again, ‘in my opinion’, as a veteran MHIndustry observer & reporter

5. Definition of ‘affordable housing’ as referenced in this blog posting: “Housing is affordable when individuals or households ‘…earning less than half the Area Median Income or AMI, can afford to rent a conventional apartment and or buy a home in their local housing market’.” Pages 109 & 110. Quoted from Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years!, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN. 2013 – in turn borrowed from George Allen’s Book of Formulae, Rules of Thumb, & Helpful Measures, PMN Publishing, Indianapolis, IN., 2012.

George Allen, CPM®, MHM®
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

October 21, 2016

Challenge Coins, Land-lease Communities, & Foundations in Freezing Climates

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 3:22 pm

Blog # 418 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 23 October 2016;

Perspective. ‘Land-lease Communities, previously manufactured home communities & ‘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 LLCommunities!

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: Don’t you think it’s high time for us, who’re in the manufactured housing industry & land-lease community realty asset class, to pull ourselves out of our doldrums, and take command of our individual and collective futures with enthusiasm and aplomb (‘self-confidence’)? If you agree, read Part I with close interest, and when done, ‘commit to do likewise’ in your sphere of influence! And Part II describes a minor trade terminology adjustment long overdue. It’s done now, so let’s never use the ‘mobile home park’ & manufactured home community monikers again, to describe our unique, income-producing property type! Long live land-lease communities! Part III belongs on every LLCommunity owner/operator’s desk – as a ready and comprehensive reference relative to MHInstallations. As you read through the 38 pages, be asking yourself: ‘Hmm. Is this guide, somehow, a precursor to HUD wanting to expand its’ authority, and oversee MHInstallations within LLCommunities in every state? Some already think so….


COBA7® to Introduce Challenge Coins to Manufactured Housing Industry & Land-lease Communities Nationwide

Are you a home manufacturer, MHRetailer, land-lease community owner/operator, or lender, active in the manufactured housing industry? If so, you know what it’s been like these past 16 years, enduring the ‘loss of easy access to chattel capital’ to finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in communities, experiencing the worst new home shipment slide in the 75year history of the MHBusiness, and suffering oppressive financial regulation.

Well, it appears matters are ‘looking up’ for us of late! Manufacturers are selling an increasing volume of new Community Series Homes directly into land-lease communities (up from 12,000 in 2009 to 28,000 in 2015), property owners/operators have figured out how to seller-finance them (via ‘contract sale’, lease-option, even renting units), and we’re learning to live with provisions of the S.A.F.E. Act, Dodd-Frank legislation, & the CFPB. And there’s more a-coming…

New HUD-Code shipment volume is up for this year! Land-lease communities continue to enjoy a ‘sellers’ market’, as many site a continuing flow of new HUD-Code homes on vacant rental homesites; and since 2014, the two perennial national advocates for manufactured housing have been joined by the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®. This international provider of key products (statistical reports, directories & newsletters) and services (networking & deal-making opportunities, and professional property management training, i.e. MHM®), is announcing here, an historic innovation intended and designed to increase individual and corporate esprit de corps industry wide!

Esprit de Corps. It’s ‘a feeling of pride, fellowship and common loyalty shared by members of a particular group’, and there are several ways to encourage and build it among peers, especially those in the manufactured housing industry!

A way to begin is, as the title of this blog posting suggests, introduce and distribute Challenge Coins nationwide. What’s a Challenge Coin? Well, they’ve been around since soldiers started using them during WWI – as a personal recognition tool, to identify with the unit in which they served. There are even instances where lives were spared, when a soldier – when challenged, produced his unit’s Challenge Coin as proof of identity and affiliation.

Challenge Coins, vary in size, from a quarter to silver dollar, and are frequently carried, pridefully, by firefighters, law enforcement officers, athletes, members of social clubs and fraternal bodies. And of course all branches of the U.S. military are frequent carriers – and exchangers – of Challenge Coins, as they make for attractive conversation stimulators, and encourage esprit de corps among those carrying them.

Well, COBA7® is designing its’ unique Challenge Coin, with plans to distribute them to affiliates, as they annually renew their relationship with the alliance. They’ll also be distributed selectively to housing manufacturers, lenders, and others, active in the MHIndustry and among LLCommunities, beginning 17 January 2017. And frankly, they’ll also be available for purchase; as it’s hoped other segments of the industry and asset class will rise to the ‘challenge’ and produce their own unique Challenge Coin – for distribution to their MHInsiders, and for trading among colleagues in other sectors.

What will COBA7®’s Challenge Coin look like? Well, the final die has not yet been cast, but the basic obverse design is attached to this blog posting. And the reverse side of the coin will likely include the COBA7® motto: Where ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!, plus it’s Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

So, if already a COBA7® affiliate, expect to receive your Challenge Coin sometime after the first of the year when you renew, maybe even at the Louisville MHShow in mid-January. If not affiliated, use COBA7® brochure attached to this blog posting to do so. And, if a housing manufacturers, lender, or other corporate entity in the MHIndustry, start now to design your unique Challenge Coin, as your contribution to the fostering of esprit de corps far and wide! Need a Challenge Coin source? Suggest you reach out to Spotlight Strategies via (317) 738-3434 &

While I doubt it’ll come to this, there is indeed a ‘challenge’ aspect relative to Challenge Coins, and it goes like this. Imagine a small group sitting around a table, and one individual turns to another and says, “Are you carrying your firm’s Challenge Coin?” If the answer is ‘no’, the ‘challenged’ individual buys the next round of drinks for everyone sitting around the table. However, if he/she produces their Challenge Coin, the ‘challenger’ buys the next round of drinks. Hmm. MHCongress here we come!”

For the time being; think about it! Every business entity is unique, and could produce a Challenge Coin worth carrying, sharing, and collecting. For example: HUD-Code home manufacturers might give their Challenge Coin to a LLCommunity customer when they bought their first home (to encourage product loyalty); same with a realty mortgage originator when an acquisition or refinance loan ‘closes’. And on and on. I know I’m looking forward to finally enjoying using a Challenge Coin to build esprit de corps among COBA7® affiliates, other business associates, even the national organizations to which my firm belongs. How ‘bout you?


COBA7® Tweaks MHIndustry Trade Terminology

Debated whether to even mention this or not, since it’s such a small tweak. However, to avoid any chance for confusion, here goes:

Ever since it became apparent, soon after the turn of the century, that ‘mobile home parks’ of yore, and manufactured home communities of yesterday, no longer just sited ‘mobile homes’ in the first instance; and, manufactured housing & ‘mobile homes’ in the latter, it seemed appropriate to refer to our unique, income-producing property type as being a land-lease-lifestyle community, or LLLCommunity for short. Especially since no fewer than six types of shelter had become commonplace therein, i.e. ‘mobile homes’, manufactured housing, modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, RVs for a season, even stick-built homes constructed on-site to imitate manufactured housing (latter instance only in Florida after major hurricanes). Lifestyle had been inserted in the moniker, as a nod to the unique ‘lifestyle’ enjoyed by homebuyer/site lessees; no more, no less.

Well, the time has come to drop ‘lifestyle’ from the trade term, leaving it simply as land-lease community, or LLCommunity for short. Why? Because the ‘lifestyle’ insertion simply has not caught on among journalists, owners/operators, etc.. BUT, more and more, I read and hear of folk using the land-lease community label, and I like it! So, officially right here; as far as this veteran MHIndustry observer is concerned, the ‘mobile home park’ of yore, the manufactured home community of yesterday, and land-lease-lifestyle community since the turn of the century, is now – in November 2016 – officially and practically…

Land-lease community, or LLCommunity for short!


‘Manufactured Home Foundations in Freezing Climates’

This is the title of the 38 page ‘Assessment of Design & Installation Practices for Manufactured Homes in Climates with Seasonally Frozen Ground’, prepared by SEBA Professional Services, LLC., for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of Manufactured Housing Programs.

Want a copy? Go to

This document is so new we (COBA7®) haven’t even had an opportunity to read and study it thoroughly. But we encourage you to reach out and obtain a copy ASAP, as confusion seems to be rampant among states, land-lease community owners/operators, installers, and state MHAssociations as to what’s ‘right’ and what’s ‘wrong’ in this area of manufactured housing practice these days.


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

October 14, 2016

NEW ERA for MH = Training for Manufacturers & LLLCommunity Managers

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:59 am

Blog # 417 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 16 October 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 HOTLINIE: (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: Want to start year 2017 off RIGHT? Well, whether you’re a HUD-Code home manufacturer or Business Development Manager (‘BDM’); land-lease-lifestyle community owner/operator; or, on-site or regional property manager, there’ll be specialized seminars and training for you on 17 January 2017, at the Kentucky State Fair Grounds, the day before the Louisville MHShow begins! So, ‘come on down’ for a few days of timely and strategic education, opportunities to buy new homes for 2017, and some superb interpersonal networking among your MHIndustry peers!


NEW ERA Blossoms in Atlanta, & Elsewhere…

‘Seven LLLCommunity Owners to Share their Secret Sauce of Successfully Selling & Seller-financing New HUD-Code Homes On-site in Their Respective Properties’

WHERE: Holiday Inn Perimeter, Atlanta, GA.

When: 26 October 2016

What: SECO Summit in the South Panel Presentation & Open Discussion with Audience

Who: Stacy Buss; Robert Gross; George Harris; Jon Harrison; Glen James, CPM®; Chuck Meek; and David Roden. Moderator: George Allen, CPM®, MHM®.

And if that’s not enough in the way of heady resources to tap into this timely topic, these LLLCommunity owners/operators will be in the audience and willing to share: Ben Braband; Maria Horton; Don Hodges; Jefferson Lilly; David Protiva, MHM®; Spencer Roane, MHM®;, and Robert Love, CPM®

Pique your interest to attend? Reach out soon to

Oh, and there’s much much more afoot at this year’s 6th annual SECO Summit in the South! Community Series Homes will be on display, there’s plethora of informative HOW TO seminars, along with superb networking opportunities. Also a ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class’ like you’ve not experienced before!

So, is it any wonder that more than 225 – and soon to be 250, MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women have registered to attend this stellar event?


NEW ERA = New Direction, 17 January in KY!

HUD-Code Home Manufacturer, do you know how to identify all land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities), large & small, nationwide?

Didn’t think so. Few people, within and outside the manufactured housing industry do.

However, if new HUD-Code home shipments are going to eclipse the 100,000 mark by year end 2020 – that’s little more than four years away (counting shipments that year), manufacturers must learn of the characteristics and contact sourcing of the three major markets of LLLCommunities – identified in last week’s blog (#416) posting at this website (

And not only that (i.e. identification of prospective home buying corporate entities); also, HOW TO effectively market and sell new HUD-Code homes to this diversified housing market. Such education will involve knowing HOW TO best serve local housing market ‘needs & wants’, based on demographics, Area Median Income or AMI, local practice/preference, and more. And then there’s the entire new ‘HOW TO sell and seller-finance new homes on-site’ paradigm. Neither of the national advocate entities for manufactured housing, is presently staffed to train LLLCommunity owners/operators in this new (for most) business model! So, if HUD-Code home manufacturers hope to sell increasing numbers of new Community Series Homes to LLLCommunities, they’re also going to have to train these owners/operators in these skills and methodologies, e.g. lease-option, contract sale, rental units, and more.

A caution here. Freelance consultant-trainers used by HUD-Code home manufacturers, during past decades, to similarly teach independent (street) MHRetailers HOW TO set up sales centers, and market/sell new homes in those environments, will likely not be a ‘good fit’ for training LLLCommunity owners/operators. Why? Because, unlike MHRetailers of past decades, LLLCommunity owners/operators are

• less focused on ‘making the next deal and the next’ – thus ensuring ongoing commissions. From the first interview, even telephone inquiry, LLLCommunity folk in large part, attempt to nurture good Resident Relations, more Resident Referrals, & maximum Resident Retention! They’re selling a lifestyle!

• Less focused on ‘maximizing profit on each deal’ – preferring to get said home onto a vacant rental homesite and paying rent for the next 20 years or more.

And there’s even more, to this emerging trend of ‘selling and seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site in LLLCommunities. But to learn those basics and nuances, HUD-Code home manufacturers should mark 17 January 2017 on their planning calendars. On that day, there’ll be a two hour seminar at on ‘hotel row’ just outside the Kentucky State Fair Grounds, covering the preceding ‘identification’ methodologies, as well as the HOW TO training needed by many, if not most, LLLCommunity owners/operators nationwide.

To ensure an invitation to attend, since attendance will be limited to two or three dozen individuals, respond to blog column via email:, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Specific location and registration fee will be announced in a future blog posting, and likely in the December issue of the Allen Letter professional journal.

Hopefully, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) and Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHAR’) will inform their respective home manufacturer members of this unique and timely opportunity to learn how to increase their new HUD-Code home sales to LLLCommunities nationwide.


It is tentatively planned to also host the one day Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® professional property manager class and certification program, also on the 17th of January 2017, in the same hotel facility. If you’re reading this, and own/operate one or more LLLCommunities, and have not yet been trained as a professional property manager, and been so-certified, phone (317) 346-7156 for more information and to register. The MHM® program costs only $250.00 per candidate. And the class is taught by Katie Hauck, MHM® and Kathy, also an MHM®, one of her firm’s PM staff.

George Allen, CPM®, MHM®, Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247

October 7, 2016

MHShipment ‘#s & $’ for August; How to Sell Homes to LLLCommunity Owners!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:05 am

Blog # 416 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 9 October 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. This likely the most EXCITING blog posting I pen during 2016!

How so? After 2 ½ years, the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, takes on the major role of research & reporting statistician for the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity asset class!

And, Thanks to the Success of the first ‘Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars’, held this Spring at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. – and the 100 page HOW TO guidebook it inspired, COBA7® is able to assist HUD-Code home manufacturers significantly increase their market penetration among land-lease-lifestyle communities coast-to-coast. That is, IF manufacturers step forward and express a sincere desire meet and learn how to do so together! What can be more exciting than shipping a minimum of 75,000 new HUD-Code homes (out of an annual total of 100,000 units) into LLLCommunities by yearend 2020? Nothing!

But first, the…


COBA7® MHShipment ‘#s & $’ Report for August 2016

(An attachment to the BEBA – ‘Blast Email Blog Alert’, introducing this week’s blog posting at

You don’t want to miss this! COBA7®, in the stead of MHARR, MHI, & HUD, has stepped into the role of Official MHIndustry & LLLCommunity research statistician.

The attached COBA7® MHShipment ‘#s & $’ Report for August 2016, is a prime example of obtaining (by subscription, in this case) accurate data from credible sources (e.g. in this instance the Institute for Building Technology & Safety or IBTS) and reporting same in 1) unadulterated fashion, & 2) useful format, to end users such as you, HUD-Code home manufacturers, and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide!

If you have suggestions for improving the format of said report, please let us know by email or other means, e.g. GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247.


COBA7® Offers to Help HUD-Home Manufacturers
Better Market New Homes to All LLLCommunities!

HUD-home manufacturers recognize LLLCommunities and their need for Community Series Homes, as a key emerging market for their housing product, as independent (street) MHRetailers continue to languish. But they have little idea how to effectively market to all 50,000+/- such properties nationwide!

At a recent meeting of MHI’s Manufacturer Division, it was obvious to this observer, the Big Three-C firms (i.e. Clayton, Cavco & Champion), and others represented there – while alternatively focusing on

1) Creating a new type or brand of factory-built housing. (Anyone recall Edward Hicks’ Interlock Homes design of a decade ago?) And,

2) Exploiting emerging energy markets geographically.

3) Little to no mention of HOW TO reach ALL land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) nationwide.

Following said meeting we sent a letter to JR Daily, chairman of MHI’s manufacturer division, offering to assist to this (market penetration) end.

First, COBA7® ‘made the case’, how between years 2009 & 2015, as annual new HUD-Code home shipment volume increased from 49,789 to 64,331 units respectively, an eye-opening 25% of these homes (estimated at 12,500 in 2009) jumped to 40+% (estimated at 26,000 in 2015) six years later! Why? At first, few were buying new homes, let alone understanding how to seller-finance them. Then Community Series Homes (i.e. modest-sized singlesection homes and small multisection homes, all with durability-enhancing features) came onto the scene, meeting needs of LLLCommunity owners/operators filling an estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites nationwide.

Harkening back to the INTRODUCTION to this blog posting, there’s no reason the just cited 40% shipment volume into LLLCommunities shouldn’t leap to 75% by year end 2020, if more new HUD-Code homes are marketed aggressively to this emerging market!

Then we described the national LLLCommunity market in three parts, only the first of which HUD-Code home manufacturers have effectively penetrated:

• While there’re 500+/- LLLCommunity property portfolios in North America today (i.e. Most Canadian portfolio ‘players’ own/operate LLLCommunities in the U.S.), only a couple dozen of the largest sole proprietors, partnerships, corporations, and three REITs (real estate investment trusts) routinely buy new HUD-Code homes in quantity, for specific properties or spread throughout their portfolio(s).*1

• The majority of property portfolio owners/operators continue to buy, if at all, one, two or three new HUD-Code homes per year. Why? Because, like their smaller Mom & Pop-sized owner/operator counterparts, they’ve not had to do so in years past, and their present day staff is unfamiliar with the ‘wholesale/retail’ drill. And, of course, there remains the daunting challenge to seller-finance these transactions.

• 85+/-% of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities located throughout the U.S. contain fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece. Many of these are owned and operated by second, third, fourth – and yes, even fifth generation family members (e.g. in SE Pennsylvania) who frequently do not live on-site, know little to nothing about the day to day operation of their investment properties, let alone now how to sell and seller-finance new homes on-site. They’re often aficionados of rental units, contract sales, even ‘churn & burn’ reality when need be. So, that’s the challenge of 2017: ID them, then teach the needed skills!

Just look at the shipment numbers. Given the accuracy of 26,000 new HUD-Code homes shipped into LLLCommunities during year 2015 – and applying the Pareto Principle – that suggests 20,800 new homes (i.e. 80% of 2015 shipment volume) going into larger ‘institution investment grade’ properties, or fewer than one home per every two large LLLCommunities! And the remaining 5,300 new HUD-Code homes shipped in 2015 (i.e.20% of 2015 shipment volume), to be spread among an estimated 42,500 Mom & Pop-sized properties, or one new home per eight smaller LLLCommunities.*2 That gives you an idea of the scope – and potential market of this major challenge.

So there is much much improvement to be had, marketing new HUD-Code homes to LLLCommunities nationwide, especially given the accuracy of the estimate of 250,000 vacant rental homesites figure!

How to do this?

In our correspondence to Mr. Daily, COBA7® suggested two already somewhat proven avenues:

• Home manufacturers to caucus with affiliates of COBA7® to 1) “agree on the general description and specifications characteristic of Community Series Homes”, eliminating any ‘confusion’ present today.*3 AND, 2) at the same caucus, learn how to effectively access all 500+/- property portfolio owners/operators via a direct mail resource that’s 99% accurate (address wise) and goes directly to the decision-maker at every portfolio.

• “Discuss the initial Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars (effected during May 2016 in Elkhart, IN.), to decide if similar venues might produce like and better results in the Southeast (including Texas) and West (including Pacific Northwest).” The added challenge here, will be to identify charismatic, capable, experienced (in the MHBusiness as a successful entrepreneur), motivated individuals to lead said efforts. I have no desire to do so. And, once again, these Plant Tours/Sales Seminars venues, endorsed and supported by state MHAssociations are likely the best way to ID & train Mom & Pop-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators.

What’s next?

HUD-Code home manufacturers, of all sizes, need to let COBA7® know of their interest in increasing new HUD-Code home penetration among 50,000+/- LLLCommunities nationwide! How to do this? Via response to this blog, for sure, but there’re also two additional and timely, face-to-face opportunities (venues) to do so:

• I will be present during upcoming 6th annual SECO Summit in the South, 26 & 27 October in Atlanta, GA. I am making one presentation: ‘State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class’, so will have time to meet one-on-one, or via a group, if preferred, to lay plans for a national or regional caucuses just described; and/or discuss details of the Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminar. HUD-Code home manufacturers who participate, will be given a FREE copy of Guidelines for Selling & Seller-financing New Manufactured Homes On-site in LLLCommunities. For more info about SECO Summit in the South, reach out to Genevieve @ And tell her of your interest in meeting with me….

• I will also be present during Iowa Manufactured Housing Association’s annual meeting on 6 & 7 November in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Similar situation here, but I am a participant, not lecturer. Going to hear Spencer Roane, MHM® ‘hold forth’ on the merits of the lease-option methodology re seller-finance on-site in LLLCommunties. Want to get together? Contact Joe Kelly via (515) 265-1497 to register for the event – and tell him too, of your interest in meeting with me.

• Already I’ve been asked by one HUD-Code home manufacturer to plan and host a mini-seminar (i.e. two to three hours length) on Tuesday, 17 January 2017, the day before the Louisville MHShow begins. This would be along the line just described: ‘HOW TO identify and effectively market new HUD-Code homes (presumably CSH Models) to large and small LLLCommunities nationwide’. If this idea appeals to you, as a manufacturer, let me know via email or via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Frankly, if we do this, there’s no reason why the same or similar material and focus couldn’t be presented at the MHCongress in Las Vegas next Spring – if requested by MHI.

That about does it for near future planning relative to the Marketing of New HUD-Code Homes to ALL LLLCommunities during Year 2017! The ball is now in your court. COBA7® is willing to assist in the manners just described. YOU have to decide whether it’s worth your time to learn the ‘secret sauce’, so to speak, of marketing to this emerging national market for your HUD-Code housing product!

End Notes

1. What’s a LLLCommunity property portfolio? It’s when a sole proprietor, partnership, corporation or REIT owns and or fee manages a minimum of five such properties and or at least 500 rental homesites. According to the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators in North America’; among the reporting 120 portfolios (of 500+/- total known) who reported, their property count averaged 33 LLLCommunities apiece, and average sized property contained 215 rental homesites. To obtain a copy of this year’s report (2016), simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and request it. The 27th annual ALLEN REPORT is being compiled for distribution during January 2017. To obtain a copy of that Signature Series Resource Document (‘SSRD’), affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® at the Option III level ($544.95/year), by phoning the same number.

2. Pareto’s Law, a.k.a. ‘80/20 Rule’, or ‘law of the vital few’. For many events, roughly 80% of effects (e.g. home sales) come from 20% of the causal factors (LLLCommunities and or property portfolios, in this case).

3. Community Series Home design concept was birthed on 27 February 2009 (Note the year: lowest annual new home shipment volume in more than 70 years!), at a National State of the Asset Class Caucus (‘NSAC’) attended by more than 100 (then) MHCommunity owners/operators and home manufacturers, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Actual design term was suggested by industry consultant Don Westphal.

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

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