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

April 8, 2012


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 4:31 am


What the Second Greatest Unmet Need in Manufactured Housing is Today?

In 2003, a Landlease Community Portfolio Owner Accurately Predicted Site – Built Housing’s Collapse in 2008, five years before it actually happened!

The Allen Letter professional journal is now, upon popular request by product & service advertisers, publishing display ads in every issue!

Get your copy of the now combined ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’, for takeover & turnaround of landlease communities, & ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! $ Worksheet’


Before turning to the subject matter highlighted above, here’re two selections from the many email messages we receive weekly, in response to this Official MHIndustry & LLCommunity Blog. The first is in response to last week’s BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) memo that announces each weekly blog posting, asking ‘How’s business?’ The second passage addresses the perennial question as to ‘WHY the Department of Housing & Urban Development, or HUD, our industry’s federal regulator, does NOT actively MARKET our unique, and often AFFORDABLE HOUSING product?’ So, here goes:

“We are now seeing some action, for the first time in over two years. We have had five (home) sales during the last two weeks. Let’s hope this is the ‘break’ we have been hoping for.” Jack in PA.


“…those of us in the landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) community business know manufactured homes are ‘affordable’, because that’s what we eat, sleep, and drink every day! However, it seems we often can’t see the forest for the trees. How so? While we ‘know manufactured housing is & can be affordable’, our (home) manufacturers and MHRetailers continue to promote the ‘big box = big bucks’ designs. So, when the home buying public – and HUD, sees advertising and promotion of our industry’s high – priced, feature – laden alternatives to site – built homes, the concepts of ‘affordability’ and ‘manufactured housing’ simply don’t equate in their minds.” (lightly edited) SR

Bottom line, where this latter quote is concerned? While HUD has long regulated manufactured housing – since the mid 1970s, it has, to the best of my knowledge, never overtly promoted our unique factory – built housing product as being eminently affordable! But at the time, manufactured housing producers continue to Design, Build & Ship (Note I didn’t pen ‘Design, Sell & Ship’ here, for we, as an industry, continue to ‘keep score’ by counting home shipments rather than home sales) ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ singlesection and multisection units, instead of more economical models in both configurations, e.g. Community Series Homes for siting within landlease communities, on some of the estimated 250,000 vacant rental homesites in the U.S. today!

NOTE. This is one of the reasons we recently revamped the popular Community Series Home and Business Development Manager list. While keeping the CSH description intact, we reduced the number of BDMs, listed thereon, from 30 down to eight, working for six HUD Code manufactured housing firms. If you’d like a copy of this new document, simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


The Second Greatest Unmet Need in Manufactured Housing Today?

Simple. The ability to identify capable, experienced, motivated freelance – as in consulting – home sales trainers, available to landlease community owners/operators nationwide! These to teach on – site staff how to effectively market new and resale manufactured and modular homes, then sell them to individuals and families committed to, and or interested in, the LLCommunity lifestyle! It’s as simple, but frustrating, as that.

Aren’t there itinerate home sales trainers ‘out and about’ the manufactured housing industry today? Yes, but not of the stripe needed by landlease community owners/operators. How so? I’ve come to realize, during the past five or so years, retread HUD Code manufactured housing sales trainers (i.e. those who’ve spent their careers training independent and ‘company store’ MHRetailers – a different slant in ‘home sales’ than needed in LLCommunities today) simply don’t ‘get the job done’. The main reason? Retread sales trainers generally lack understanding of, and sensitivity to, the basics and nuances of landlease community operations and lifestyle!

For example. Landlease community owners/operators, these days, generally get into the ‘home sales business’ (and ‘self – financing’, by default) because they have to! Almost gone are the days when MHRetailers, in the same local housing market as these unique, income – producing properties, would routinely ‘sell homes into them’. Why? At the turn of the century, most MHRetailers were distracted by the siren song of land/home competition with site – builders, and or were bought out by HUD Code home manufacturers needing to (be able to) force new home inventory down the throats of ‘now company stores’ – until all that came to its’ sorry end. Anyway, ‘to get the (site) rent meter running’, contemporary LLCommunity owners/operators now buy ‘repo’, resale, and NEW manufactured homes to market, and then sell on – site; often doing so, if need be, with little to no profit margin between wholesale and retail prices. Independent MHRetailers – unless they happen to own one or more LLCommunities – and retread sales trainers, simply don’t (seem to) understand that truism. Why? They characteristically live ‘from deal (profit) to deal’, and are generally unfamiliar and or uncomfortable with the desirability of annuity – type income, e.g. rental homesite revenue. Furthermore, ask retread sales trainers for ten, or even just five, ‘really good reasons’ for buying a new manufactured home, and moving it on – site into a landlease community. Most of them simply can’t do it!

The solution? While not possible overnight, one mechanism is (kinda) in place. The Manufactured Housing Educational Institute arm of the Manufactured Housing Institute continues to promote its’ Professional Housing Consultant® or PHC® program. Designed more than a decade ago, for training independent and company store ‘would be’ manufactured housing sales pros, the PHC® program might well soon be reviewed; and, either reconstituted, or a new and parallel track prepared with an in – landlease community home sales focus! This timely matter came up at the last MHEI board meeting in Alexandria, VA, in late February 2012; then was put before MHI’s National Communities Council division for consideration. The question now, is to see whether the NCC responds to this real (training) need of its’ members, or lets it too drag on, as it has the opportunity to remove electrical pedestals from LLCommunities….

Since the preceding paragraphs describe ‘the second greatest unmet need in manufactured housing today’, what’s the first? Availability of chattel financing from independent, third party lenders, in a fashion attractive to credit – challenged would be homebuyers and lenders alike! But you already knew that….


A landlease community portfolio owner predicted site – built housing’s collapse in 2003, a full five years before it actually happened in 2008!

That’s right, and the prediction was made during a flight aboard a private, corporate jet, as it winged its’ way from the East coast to a meeting in Las Vegas. Four MHIndustry execs (from OR, IL, IN, & MI) were on that flight. The story is told in more detail, in the April issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. To subscribe, use the MHIndustry HOTLINE cited in the lead story of this week’s blog posting. Who’s the LLCommunity owner? While not identified in the story per se, here’s a heady hint: At one time he/she managed the largest portfolio of landlease communities; has founded and grown two large property portfolios during the past two decades; and is a founding member of two national trade bodies – one serving the advocacy, and the other, the land development networking needs, of this unique realty asset class.


The Allen Letter professional journal is now, upon popular request by product & service advertisers, publishing display ads in every issue!

Why? Guess you’d have to ask the advertisers for their specific reasons. But everyone knows four print trade publications have ceased circulation during the past five or so years. And the publisher of the sole advertising – supported pub left, has made it clear, on more than one occasion, a primary purpose of columnists, is to ‘fill white space among ads’. So, when an industry or asset businessman or woman, desires substance in what they read, there’re really only two print publications left to consider: the 21 year old Allen Letter professional journal, and the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! monthly newsletter. And I don’t see the latter ever accepting paid advertising, as its’ inherent value lies in its’ ability to, and practice of, printing sensitive information, insider stories, and op/ed pieces – not only unavailable anywhere else in the industry or asset class, but also untainted by any outside influence. Again; to subscribe to either or both trade publications, use the MHIndustry HOTLINE cited earlier, or sign – up via the website hosting this blog posting.


How to get your copy of the combined ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’, for the takeover & turnaround of landlease communities, & the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! $ Worksheet’!

DRAFT copies of this new Lessons Learned tool were scoffed up by the 125 landlease community owners/operators attending the New York Housing Associations’ Super Symposium III in Albany, New York, two weeks ago. And the folk there were most helpful with their suggestions for edits thereto.

The newly edited ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’, for use before, during, & after the takeover and or turnaround of a landlease community, now also features an updated version of the highly popular and frequently referenced ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! $ Worksheet’, used to estimate maximum recommended affordable and risky purchase prices for new and resale, privately – owned homes of any type, whether sited on realty owned fee simple with home, or within landlease communities’! Yep; both helpful tools are now on one sheet of paper, printed front and verso sides.

This exciting new resource will be available this coming week during the Manufactured Housing Congress in Las Vegas, NV., on Wednesday, 11 April, at the ‘Acquisition & Rehabilitation of Landlease Communities’ panel presentation beginning at 2:30PM that day. Plan to be in attendance, as the three ‘turnaround experts’ share their expertise in this timely and potentially profitable business model – and get your copy of the ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’ to boot! What do the ‘LLCTT’ letters represent? Landlease Community Takeover & Turnaround.

And, if you can’t be with us in Las Vegas this week, but need or want a copy of the revised and combined ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’, don’t fret. It’ll likely be enclosed as a lagniappe (‘freeebie’) in the May issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Just one more good reason to subscribe!


Final update, for awhile, on the formation and composition of the ‘New 18 Pioneers’ volunteering to brainstorm, plan, and effect the continuation of information, communication, training & certification, and networking resources for landlease community owners/operators nationwide.

To date, there’re a dozen landlease community owners, from 11 states, who’ve committed to become intimately involved in the matter described in the above headline. These businessmen and women are the vanguard of a generation of small to mid – sized property and portfolio owners/operators willing to step out, where many of their large portfolio colleagues have not (i.e. Some large property portfolio ‘players’ are indeed among this ‘New 18 Pioneer’ group), this time around, to ensure their ongoing needs for statistical research reporting (In this specific instance, via the newly formed Center for Manufactured Housing Studies), trade information & directories, print & online communication, property management training & certification, and national networking and deal – making will continue to be there for their use for decades to come.

As we say in the U.S. Marines. We continue to ‘Look for a Few Good Men & Women!’ Are YOU one of those landlease community owners? (317) 346-7156.

This will likely be the last you hear of the ‘New 18 Pioneers’ for awhile; as we decide how to best proceed with this historic project during the months ahead.


George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

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