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

September 2, 2012

SECO Success, PM Basics, CSH Homes, & Rebranding…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 4:17 am

Blog # 210 Copyright 2012 2 September 2012

Perspective. ‘Land lease lifestyle communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities, & earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, are the real estate component of manufactured housing.’


SECO, a Stunning Success for Southeast LLLCommunity Owners!


Land Lease Lifestyle Community Operations Typified by Property Management, Resident Relations, Homesite Rental & Home Sales!


National Advocacy, CSH Model Homes, C.A.S.H., & Rebranding!



SECO, a Stunning Success for Southeast LLLCommunity Owners!

A day long symposium for land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, solely planned, hosted, and led by lifestyle community owners/operators! In this veteran industry observer’s recollection, this SECO symposium marks the first time in manufactured housing history, a major U.S. regional educational and networking event, was effected without direct support from any state or national MHIndustry trade and advocacy association or institute – though the former participated; and the latter was invited – but did not show as a sign of support or to recruit new direct members for its’ LLLCommunity council.

Was the 8/29 SECO symposium, in Atlanta, a success? As is oft heard in victorious, bellicose moments of celebration: “Damn straight it was!” How so? Anytime you get 142 land lease lifestyle community owners/operators together for a day of superb education, via skilled presenters and insightful panels, you’ve got a major networking event on your hands – and that’s what happened here. LLLCommunity aficionados, even though this was a Southeast U.S. regional event, came in from CA, the Midwest, FL, and NY, to participate.

What was covered? Lease option & investor financing of home sale transactions; ‘captive finance’ & related regulatory compliance issues; marketing of LLLCommunities ‘for sale’; 21st Mortgage’s exciting C.A.S.H. Program (more about that later); ins & outs of ‘renting’ manufactured homes on – site; selling to the Hispanic market; off grid homes & marketing to ‘boomers’; how to collect 100% of your site rent; and much more! Watch upcoming issues of the Allen Letter professional journal for more information on some of these subjects, as well as this weekly blog posting. Now, aren’t you sorry you didn’t take my advice and attend? Well, guess what, some of these same presenters will be covering similar topics at the upcoming 21st annual Networking Roundtable in San Diego, CA., 12 – 14 September. Are YOU registered yet? 200+/- of your peers already are – and the number is climbing. If you’re a LLLCommunity owner/operators, how can you afford NOT to be present at this once a year educational, networking, and deal – making event? For more information, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. There’s also a brochure, for the event, elsewhere on this website.

So, what else did you miss, by not being present at this historic SECO Symposium event? For me, just being able to pick up product and service literature, from sponsor tables manned by HUD Code home manufacturers, chattel finance lenders, consultant Michael Power, and insurance brokers, was a ‘resource treat’. And seeing Spencer Roane, of Pentagon Properties, honored by the Georgia Manufactured Housing Association, for his PEERSEVERANCE on their behalf, was a privilege. Now, for the time being, let’s hope these Southeast U.S. LLLCommunity owners/operators, again next year – or before, decide to treat their region to yet another superb educational, networking event like this! For more information, contact Chris Nicely via (865) 385-9675 &


Land Lease Lifestyle Community Operations Typified by Property Management, Resident Relations, Homesite Rental & Home Sales!

“OK George Allen, we need you to summarize the basics of land lease lifestyle community operations into a 15 minute talk you’ll share with five different groups of eight LLLCommunity owners/operators, during roundtable presentations following the SECO Symposium luncheon.” That was the assignment; here’s the result:

• Basic Management. Start with 5 – Ms of Management (i.e. manpower, machinery, material, methods & money), ensuring coverage of any management challenge. Use a Problem – solving Procedure to work through various challenges (Ask for free Management Wisdom card when phoning the aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE). Keep ‘helps’ in mind, e.g. KISS = ‘Keep It Simple Stupid – or Sweetheart!’ & Tom Peters’ famous MBWA = ‘Management by walking around!’ (How oft are YOU out in your property assessing what needs to be done, then ensuring it gets done?!).

• Resident Relations. Veteran, successful property managers (a.k.a. ‘PM’s) know good Resident Relations = more Resident Referrals = maximum Resident Retention! Gotta confrontation issue? First, everyone sits (i.e. Eliminates ‘fight’ & ‘flight’ options); then, HEAT, where H = hear both sides of the story; E = empathize, where possible, with offending party; A = ‘apologize’ or request same, as appropriate; and T = take Action!

• Marketing Homesites. Start with the 5 – Ps of Marketing, where Product = rental homesites & property amenities; Place = property location re jobs, schools, shopping, recreation; Price = competitive site rent rate per 3:1 Rule, where LLLCommunity site rent is, or should be, 1/3rd of 3BR2B conventional apartment rent; Promotion = via print & online emphasis of USP (Unique Selling Proposition), signage & referrals; People = use SUCCESS Triangle to screen, considering ‘skills/training’ on one side, ‘experience’ on the other side, and all important base, comprised of ‘high motivation’ & ‘right attitude’ for job at hand!

• Marketing Homes. Again, use 5 – Ps of Marketing; here Product = right models for local housing market; Place = rental homesite size, configuration & placement; Price = decide to market new and resale housing Price Points ‘affordable’ or ‘risky’ for the homebuyer/site lessee – use ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’ – free via aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE; Promotion = via print & online message, Open House, Guest House, etc.; People = same SUCCESS Triangle, plus ensuring there’s enough sales potential on – site to justify full or part time – manned Sales Center.

Again, some of the handout material distributed during these eight 15 minute talks, is available at no charge to blog floggers (readers). Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 and ask for the specific training aids.


National Advocacy, CSH Model Homes, C.A.S.H., & Rebranding!

My final assignment, at this year’s historic SECO Symposium, was to conclude the day with as many positive indicators of HUD – Code manufactured housing industry renewal or rebirth, as possible. Here’re the points shared with this audience of land lease lifestyle community owners/operators:

• National advocacy at the Manufactured Housing Institute. First off, every manufactured housing businessman and woman needs to be supportive of MHI’s efforts to seek passage of HB3849 and SB 3484. Thanks to hard work and advocacy by MHI Treasurer Nathan Smith, PHC, and others, these two similar bills contain components relative to the S.A.F.E. & Dodd – Frank Acts; specifically, certain exclusions for MHRetail salespersons, and some amelioration regarding predatory lending. Also watch for a new paradigm to maybe emerge at the institute’s annual meeting in October. Why no comment on the ‘slight increase’ in new home shipments year to date? Until chattel finance returns (Read paragraph to follow), I don’t see the small YTD up tick in home shipments as any more significant, or lasting, than the so – called (hurricane) Katrina Factor of a few years ago. Perhaps history will prove me wrong; and if so, Good for Us!

• HUD – Code home manufacturers becoming more enlightened on two fronts: home design & ‘affordability’. In the first instance, more home manufacturers are endeavoring to sell more new homes, of Community Series Home (‘CSH’) design, into land lease lifestyle communities, using Business Development Managers (‘BDM’) assigned to this target market. AND, a real surprise, has been the near epiphany, on the part of some manufacturers and MHRetailers, as to how new home Price Points are indeed, either ‘affordable’ OR ‘risky’ for would be home buyers! Why is this such a surprise? Because heretofore – and in most cases continuing today, we – as an industry, sell and mortgage new homes, whereby conventional wisdom’s ‘30% Housing Expense Factor’, or HEF, is comprised solely of loan principal, interest, taxes & insurance or PITI – but NOT including household expenses (e.g. electric, water/sewer & heating fuel). Bottom line: When household expenses are paid outside (i.e. ‘in addition to’) aforesaid 30% HEF, homeowner’s total HEF winds up being a burdensome 40 & 50% (of their annual income), hence ‘risky’! But when the same household expenses are factored ‘into’ said 30% HEF, the homeowner can not buy as much house as before, but now lives ‘affordably’, and is far less likely to abandon their home (an built up equity) at the first sign of economic hardship. Some of us have waited decades for this reality check to move front and center stage! Let’s hope this ‘affordable’ (vs. ‘risky’) approach to selling and mortgaging HUD – Code manufactured homes trickles down to all the new and resale home transactions we effect!

• Independent, third party chattel finance sources returning? Some folk think so; I don’t – at least not where the financing of new and resale home transactions within LLLCommunities is concerned. Here, there’s only one game in town, and to date, that’s 21st Mortgage Company’s C.A.S.H. Program, a cooperative program involving homebuyer, LLLCommunity owner, and the lender. And this comment is not an ‘endorsement’, simply a sobering ‘reality check’. The other three ‘players’ among the Big Four + 1 independent, third party chattel finance lenders? Simply, their required personal credit score and loan underwriting standards are too difficult, if not impossible, for most would – be (manufactured) home buyers today! Proof of this? Attend the 21st annual Networking Roundtable in San Diego, 12 – 14 September and observe how many chattel lenders are present this year, when 200+/- of the largest and most actively selling homes LLLCommunity owners/operators meet to network with their peers and lenders.

• Land lease lifestyle community. We introduced this latest – and hopefully final tweak, to the decades old term describing the realty component of manufactured housing, weeks ago in this weekly blog source. Why the adjustment? Several good reasons. First, the unique, income – producing property type is no longer populated by just ‘mobile homes’ and manufactured homes. Now we routinely site modular homes, ‘park model’ RVs, RVs for a season, and on occasion, site – built homes constructed to appear like HUD – Code manufactured homes. In addition, the ‘lifestyle’ addition is long overdue, as it’s ‘for decades’ been just that, a preferred lifestyle among millions of young marrieds, retirees, and other segments of American society. And finally; there’s a quiet evolution taking place, throughout and within our industry and realty asset class, where Advocacy, Research, and Resources are concerned. That’s about all that should be said about the matter for now, but watch what comes out of MHI’s annual meeting this Fall, and other developments likely reported in this weekly blog posting; again, relative to national Advocacy, industry & asset class Research, and ‘comprehensive Resource servicing’ – in this latter case, where land lease lifestyle communities are concerned.


There’ll be one more blog posting before the 21st Networking Roundtable begins 12 September at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay, in California. As of the writing of this posting, 1 September 2012, we’re just shy of 200 registrants. That said, and given past experience, we’ll be hosting well more than 200 land lease lifestyle community owners/operators, and a dozen or so of their favorite realty – secured mortgage lenders and brokers, by the time the event begins with Marcus & Millichap’s Buyer’s Symposium at 4PM on the 12th.

If you’re reading this and haven’t registered, do so by this Friday, 7 September. Why? When Carolyn and I leave the office at the end of that workday, we won’t be easily available to you until the Roundtable begins, or back in the office until 17 September. So don’t miss this stellar annual event because you missed us. Phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 this week and register. Your peers in the manufactured housing industry and LLLCommunity asset class want to network with YOU in San Diego, CA. We do too!

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry,
The Land Lease Lifestyle Community Asset Class &
Affordable Housing Purists & Enthusiasts Nationwide
Box # 46024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247
(317( 346-7156

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