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

November 24, 2013

Land-lease-lifestyle Communities = Future of Manufactured Housing!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:51 am

Blog # 272 Copyright 2013 24 November 2013

George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns – & More….

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

Purpose of this blog. To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: Critical responses & helpful ideas Welcome for future blog coverage;; Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764


News for Today, Tomorrow & 2014, You’ll not get from anyone or anywhere else!

Some reading this blog posting, have not been making my transition to semi or full retirement easy – or even possible. Several weeks ago, I’d pretty much decided to sell – out (Yes, there was a verbal offer on the table, ‘to pick up where I leave off…’, but that’s all it turned out to be); even discussed the sensitive matter with a ‘mutual friend in the MHBusiness’, while on Marco Island, FL. during Rent Manager® annual user’s conference. OR, whether to launch the much ballyhooed NEW ERA business alliance for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide.

Well, now comes word of a national meeting maybe being planned (Not by me) for ‘seriously interested parties’, early in 2014, to gauge the level of interest in, and garner commitments to, found a new national entity that’d ensure even – handed national advocacy, apropos statistical research, resource updating & distribution, regular print & online communication, affordable peer networking & deal – making opportunities, along with professional property management training & certification. Since those are the same seven function areas identified with the new Community Owners Business Alliance, the announcement caught my attention. Main Difference? This latest initiative is apparently inclusive of ALL post – production components or segments of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry, not just the land-lease-lifestyle community folk.

As I’ve said before, I have no desire to head any new organization! After all, I’m trying to slow down, not assume more responsibility. But I’m certainly interested in any credible national presence, new and otherwise, focused on providing the seven aforementioned functions to MHBusinesses Large and Small! And frankly, we won’t really know until (1) the sale of GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing assets is consummated with a qualified, industry experienced, motivated entity or party; or (2) an alternative new national presence is established; or, (3) the much heralded NEW ERA dawns for land-lease-lifestyle communities at the start of the New Year 2014! So watch your postal mail closely, and read the December issue of the Allen Letter professional journal, for details as to how YOU can participate in the Community Owners 7 Part Business Alliance, or ‘COBA7’, for short. GFA

I. I.

Land-lease-lifestyle Communities=The Very Future of Manufactured Housing Industry!




Where Will YOU Be on 21 January 2014?


Visit New Manufactured Home @ RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.


We Continue to Receive Responses to this Blog & Pithy Matters Contained Therein…


OK, This is a Long Blog Posting, so Hang On & Let’s Go!


Land-lease-lifestyle Communities=The Very Future of Manufactured Housing Industry!

The following bold statement by a veteran land-lease-lifestyle community owner was posted online recently, ‘setting the new home shipment stage’ for the present & near future of HUD-Code manufactured housing nationwide…

“We, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators ARE the future of the manufactured housing industry! Independent (street) MHRetailers can not compete with us because

1) We can, and should, sell new manufactured homes at or near COST (i.e. ‘Making new manufactured homes sited in land-lease-lifestyle communities, the most Affordable Housing alternative available in the U.S. today!’); and,

2) We have superior ability and experience cultivating chattel finance lending models (e.g. Securing $ support from private investors, lending sources in local housing markets, etc.) to support the on – site marketing and sale of new and resale homes!

Therefore; HUD-Code home manufacturers, continuing to suffer historic low new home shipment levels, have little to no choice – if they’re paying attention and indeed want to prosper, than to cater to the housing design, size restrictions, and feature needs/wants of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, nationwide – as we buy their new homes, to resell to prospective homebuyers/site lessees!” (Edited. GFA)

‘WOW!’ And to that pithy and challenging statement, I’d simply add: It’s estimated there’re approximately 250,000 vacant rental homesites among 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide! HUD-Code ‘new manufactured housing shipments’ continue, after five years, to languish in the 50,000 – 60,000 range, down from the short – lived renaissance of 372,843 new homes shipped during 1998. Yes, some HUD-Code home manufacturers have learned how to market Community Series Homes, or CSH models*1, by the dozen, to some, but not all, 500+/- known property portfolio owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities in the U.S. and Canada (A half dozen Canadian firms own many LLLCommunities throughout the U.S.) – by accessing the exclusive, confidential ALLEN REPORT contact data base via PMN Publishing.*2 However, most of them do NOT have A CLUE how to reach the 85 percent of 50,000 properties, numbering fewer than 100 rental homesites apiece! THAT will (should) be their corporate challenge during 2014, IF they want to push new home shipment volume above 60,000 during the next 12 months. Is that possible? Sure. Not as easily as the ALLEN REPORT -based Direct Mail campaigns (@ $1,000 per access) to 500+/- portfolio ‘players’; but doable, nonetheless.

HOW? Let me first suggest how NOT to strategize marketing CSH Model homes to the estimated 42,500 smaller land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide.

1) Do not announce and host a national meeting, to this end, with a generic ‘feel good’ agenda, in some high – priced downtown venue! That’d be a patent waste of time and valuable resources, with little to no useful results. Rather;

2) Announce the nature and goal of this major problem – solving challenge, via every manufactured housing and land-lease-lifestyle community – related print and online media available! Invite anyone and everyone – businessmen and women owners of factories and land-lease-lifestyle communities alike, large and small, but willing to Invest in a FOCUS Group Strategic Brainstorming Session, to do these three things:

• Prepare and send advance correspondence to the meeting planner, listing ideas, as well as creative, even routine ways to identify & reach out to this difficult to reach market (i.e. 42,500 Mom & Pop – sized, often passive investors, who don’t belong to MHTrade bodies or read MH print & online newsletters, & ezines.)

• Register for, and arrange to arrive the night before said meeting, at an economical host hotel located an easy distance from a major Midwest international airport. Come prepared to spend a full day engaged in the most important Strategic Brainstorming Session of their business career! Use a professional facilitator.

• Walk into that FOCUS Group Strategic Brainstorming Session committed to fully participate, and not be satisfied until this national MHInitiative® has generated ideas, creative and routine ways, to identify and reach out to market and sell new manufactured homes into 42,500 land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide!*3

Hey Out There! Are the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s ‘elected & salaried national & regional leaders’ listening, reading, paying attention to what’s going on around them, and how – at present – we’re ‘Going Nowhere Slowly’?! Here’s how to tell. Watch to see & read what ‘They say & do’ during the days & weeks – not months, ahead

In the meantime, as usual, let me know where YOU stand on this timely, key issue: ‘How to market and sell more HUD-Code manufactured homes into land-lease-lifestyle communities – of all sizes, filling as many as 250,000 vacant rental homesites ASAP, from coast to coast!’ Use contact information listed at the beginning of this blog posting.

End Notes.

1. Community Series Homes description and list of features, available FREE, by phoning Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Also contains names of manufacturers’ Business Development Managers.

2. What’s a portfolio owner/operator? Sole proprietor, partnership, corporation, or REIT, owning/fee managing minimum of five LLLCommunities and or minimum of 500 rental homesites. To access the 500+/- name list of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, phone the same number listed in end note # 1.

3. What’s an MHInitiative®? It’s the catch-all term that’s replaced the National State of the Asset Class caucus moniker used successfully during 2008 & 2009, to rally MHIndustry & LLLCommunity businessmen and women to 1) take control of their collective business future, and 2) agree on a new line of manufactured homes for placement in LLLCommunities, i.e. Community Series Homes or CSH Models. Frankly, it’ll take a new and fresh MHInitiative® to get the MHIndustry ‘moving again’. But this time it’ll be up to our elected and salaried national leaders to seize the initiative and exercise leadership in solving this five year long stalemate, now malaise.



BUILDING EXCELLENCE is the (annual) Official Magazine of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute. Well, the 2013 edition arrived this past week, filled with interesting and enlightening articles relative to manufactured and modular homes (design) in Canada. And there were articles headlined as follows:



And, this one: Parkbridge, ‘Your bridge to smarter living’. But know what really caught my attention about this? The full and proper name of the firm:

Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Inc.

If the firm’s name sounds familiar, it should. In the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT, Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Inc., was listed as the eighth largest owner/operator of land-lease-lifestyle communities in the world!

But that’s only half the story. Everyone reading this blog posting is also likely familiar with the real estate investment trust (‘REIT’),

Equity Lifestyle Communities, Inc., or ELS, Inc.

According to the 24th annual ALLEN REPORT, ELS, Inc., is the Largest Owner/operator of Land-lease-lifestyle Communities in the world!

Boy, talk about confirmation of ‘being on the right track’, where the evolution of business terminology is concerned, relative to our unique, income – producing property type! If the largest U.S. owner/operator, and Canada’s largest owner/operator of property portfolios comprised of land-lease-lifestyle communities, find it appropriate to incorporate the word ‘lifestyle’ into their full and proper name, why not YOU? Think about it!

Furthermore, reading of ‘landlease communities’ throughout BUILDING EXCELLENCE, also confirmed my conviction that we’ve finally, after decades of experimentation, hit upon the right choice and combination of descriptive words to describe our (again) unique, income – producing property type! And perhaps during the next year or two, our Canadian neighbors will follow our lead, and insert hyphens into the descriptive term:

Land-lease-lifestyle Community!



Where Will YOU be on 21 January 2014?

Me? I’ll be attending Rishel Consulting’s One Day $95.00 Seminar in Louisville, KY (That’s the day BEFORE the Louisville MHShow begins), Learning What Can & Not Be Said & Done, by Sales Professionals, While Selling Manufactured Homes – so as not to run afoul of regulators! Ignorance of regs is not an excuse.

For more information, and or to register, simply phone (217) 899-9268. A friendly piece of advice. This special, one day specialty sales seminar will sell – out quickly, so don’t delay signing – up. I’ve already done so! See YOU there? Hope so!

When we do see each other, ask me for a FREE plastic wallet card featuring the ‘5-RPs of Marketing!’ (‘RPs’ being Right Product, Right Place, Right Price, Right Promotion, Right People!) No one else has this practical marketing tool, so be sure to get yours at the Rishel seminar, and use it to fill more vacant rental homesites throughout your land-lease-lifestyle community!

George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master


Visit New Manufactured Home @ RV/MH
Hall of Fame in Elkhart, Indiana.

Visitors to the RV/MH Hall of Fame now have a new manufactured home exhibit to tour, outdoors and adjacent to the museum and library facility, thanks to the generosity of Nappanee, Indiana – based Fairmont Homes, according to Barry Cole, chairman of the board of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation.

What’s the RV/MH Hall of Fame? Well, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation was formed on 22 March 1972 by a group of trade and consumer magazine publishers attending an MHMA (‘Manufactured Housing Manufacturers Association’ predecessor to the Manufactured Housing Institute) meeting in Washington, DC. In early 2007, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation moved into its’ new facility at 21565 Executive Parkway, in Elkhart, IN. The 56,000 square foot building houses the RV/MH Hall of Fame, honoring hundreds of industry leaders past and present, a museum of vintage RVs & MHs from 1913 into the 1970s. For hours of operation, phone (800) 378-8694. And when phoning, inquire about becoming a Lifetime RV/MH Wall of Fame member of the heritage foundation!


We Continue to Receive Responses to this Blog & Pithy Matters Contained Therein…

“George, I love your piece on Meeting Fatigue, and critique of the (lack of) balance of power in national MH (advocacy) trade groups. I think you are ‘spot on’ in your analysis, and as always, I admire your courage to ‘Speak the truth to those in power!’” CC

EDITORIAL RESPONSE: If you missed ‘Meeting Fatigue’, at this website, simply scroll back to blog # 271 to read it. AND know this: ‘Speaking the truth to those in power’ can have uncomfortable consequences. FOR EXAMPLE. Thirteen months ago, I walked into a meeting of one of the groups referenced here, and was verbally ambushed in public by its’ leader – and given NO opportunity to respond to charges he made, and that have been left unsubstantiated to this day! Nor has there been any apology for this cowardly breach of public propriety by the individual or host national advocacy body. POINT? Be careful and steadfast about what you say and or write about business matters. And be prepared to stand your ground when challenged or assaulted by those who should be’ listening & learning’, rather than ‘reacting & fighting’! GFA


“I agree with your comments about our national (advocacy) organization. I’m afraid it, and one of its’ divisions, have run their course, as far as representation of smaller and mid – size land-lease-lifestyle community owners is concerned! Let’s face the fact, it is only interested in larger LLLCommunity operators. With that said, let’s form a new organization that better supports the interests of thousands of smaller owners/operators in the U.S. Considering the buying power of such a group, I don’t think we’d have any trouble getting home manufacturers to send (floor) dues, for the new homes we buy, to such an organization.”

EDITORIAL COMMENT. This is the opinion and suggestion of the person who penned this response to the Meeting Fatigue blog posting. And frankly, it contains more than a kernel of truth, when one observes how few direct, dues – paying members there are after 17 years of existence, how very few (less than a dozen) attend periodic meetings, and how present leadership continues to be in the hands of a very few large property portfolio operators (Not owners). Personally; I’m not interested in forming a new organization for the 85% of 50,000+/- LLLCommunities in the U.S. But what I ‘am for’, is the launching of a NEW ERA, during January 2014, in how product and service needs of land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide, are researched, prepared, paid for, and distributed! As was pointed out in the introductory paragraphs to this week’s blog posting, during December, be watching your USPS mail for information on this new business alliance, and read about it in the Allen Letter professional journal! In the meantime, ‘if you want to talk about it’, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. GFA


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

November 17, 2013

MEETING FATIGUE Triggers Insight…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:43 am

Blog # 271 Copyright 2013 10 November 2013

George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns – & More….

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

Purpose of this blog. To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: ‘Critical responses & helpful ideas Welcome for future blog coverage;; Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764


In Cape May, NJ, last weekend dining on fresh seafood, then attending 50th high school reunion; so, no blog posting on Sunday. Sorry bout that.



Meeting Fatigue

INHALE! Nearly two dozen manufactured housing industry – related national and regional meetings have finally ‘run their course’. EXHALE! Between the RV/MH Hall of Fame Banquet in early August, and two meetings occurring a couple weeks ago (LCS’ Rent Manager User Conference in FL., & ULI’s Manufactured Housing Communities Council in Chicago), we’ve endured ‘meeting hell’, while seeing the latest MHIndustry ‘new trend’ unfold….

Oh, the old standbys are still with us – as they should be. One of them, the RV/MH Heritage Foundation is the protector and perpetuator of ‘our legacies’ relative to manufactured housing and recreational vehicles. Were you among the 400+/- aficionados at this year’s Hall of Fame Induction Banquet? You should have been! More important though; are you a faithful financial supporter of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation? You should be! Phone (800) 378-3466 to donate & become a Wall of Fame lifetime member.

And one has to expect the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’) will always have its’ annual meeting in the Fall, along with its’ now 17 year old National Communities Council (‘NCC’) division – even if only a dozen members of the latter attend.

But here’s where the aforementioned ‘new trend’ surfaces in grand style, showcased by three gatherings, one regional and two national, sharing this ‘telling’ common denominator: Not one was planned or hosted by a state or national manufactured housing – related trade or advocacy body!

The 22nd annual International Networking Roundtable took place, this year, in the Chicago region, enjoying its’ second highest attendance ever, at 222 attendees – mostly land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, and their favorite realty mortgage originators, from throughout the U.S. Planner and host? GFA Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing, and

Then came SECO2013. This is at least the third year in a row land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators domiciled in Georgia, pulled together to put on a terrific display of product (i.e. More than a half dozen new HUD-Code manufactured homes of the Community Home Series or CSH Models), along with pithy seminars dealing with various aspects of self – finance of on – site home sale transactions, using private investor funds, all the while being compliant with the plethora of state and federal finance regulations! Why can’t our state and national MHAssociations do the same? For info on future SECO gatherings, contact Spencer Roane, MHM® via (678) 428-0212. He’s, by the way, our industry’s expert on use of lease-option (

And, for that matter, if you want someone to bring a chattel finance compliant workshop to your ‘neck o the woods’, contact Rishel Consulting via (217) 971-3968. He and Donna will be hosting a day long seminar on 21 January, the day before the annual Louisville MHShow begins. It’ll focus on ‘selling manufactured homes’ effectively and in accords with today’s regulation – rich business environment! Know what? I plan to attend and learn more about this timely and pithy subject. See you there!

And this past week, London Computer Systems, of Ohio, held their Rent Manager User Conference on Marco Island in Florida. 400+/- ‘users’ from a variety of multifamily and commercial property type applications were in attendance – including a dozen portfolio owners/operators of land-lease-lifestyle communities!

Know what all three latter (post RV/MH Hall of Fame banquet) well – attended ‘industry meetings’ had in common, besides being planned and hosted by grassroots businessmen and women, product and service vendors? Not a single representative from any of the national advocacy bodies was present as an attendee, or seminar leader, or special guest at any of these (and other) ‘new trend events’.

Is it any wonder, or surprise, this ‘independent meeting trend’ is growing throughout the manufactured housing industry? Answer? No. Think about it.

During conversations this past week – and earlier, in downtown Chicago; among manufactured housing purists and land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, this very question was the focus of attention. And know the common strain of logic that emerged? Simply this:

National manufactured housing trade advocacy bodies continue to be ‘dominated by HUD-Code home manufacturers’ – a few large ones in one instance, many smaller ones in the other. And of late, the division formed, years ago, to represent land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, large and small, has also become ‘dominated by a few large property portfolio firms’, seemingly with little to no sensitivity to the needs of the far greater number of smaller property portfolios and LLLCommunities throughout the U.S.

Is there a resolution to these lopsided representation and power issues? Sure; maybe in time. But only ‘if & when’ MHI’s bylaws are rewritten to – among other things – allow absentee members (i.e. Those who can’t afford – or won’t ‘waste $’, to attend national advocacy association meetings held in extravagant, high – priced venues) to execute Proxy Votes, making their leadership preferences known! And, there must be more emphasis on recruiting new members, once this ‘voter playing field’ has been leveled, and smaller ‘players’ truly made Welcome and assurance their needs will be met.

How do YOU feel about this and other issues being discussed by your peers around the country? To respond, use the contact information listed at the beginning of this blog posting.


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

November 3, 2013

Two Key Questions re LLLCommunities Future

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:58 am

Blog # 270 Copyright 2013 3 November 2013

‘George Allen Writes About Key MHBusiness Interests & Concerns!’

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

Purpose of this blog. ‘To be the national advocacy voice, statistical research reporter, & communication resource for LLLCommunities, of all sizes, throughout North America!’

Ways to respond: ‘Critical responses & helpful ideas Welcome for future blog coverage;; Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764



“…owns and operates portfolio of resort communities and lifestyle oriented properties. It leases individual developed areas with access to utilities for placement of factory – built homes, cottages, cabins and recreational vehicles.”

This euphemism* – heavy summary describes a land-lease-lifestyle community (A.k.a. manufactured home community, and before that, ‘mobile home park’) portfolio firm, and is copied from Yahoo Finance. GFA

Two hints & a question. This is one of 500+/- land-lease-lifestyle community portfolio domiciled in North America; it’s been listed in the annual ALLEN REPORT for 24 years – under different names. Why avoid mentioning manufactured housing?

* Euphemism: ‘Polite and often affected expressions used in place of common terms which can be considered offensive.’ From Collection of Figurative Language & Figures of Speech, PMN Publishing, Franklin, IN., 2011, p.13.


‘Two Key, ‘50,000 Land-lease-lifestyle communities’ – related Questions’

prompted by reading Ann M. Burkhart’s 16,478 word article titled:

‘Bringing Manufactured Housing into the Real Estate Finance System’

Copyrighted by Pepperdine University School of Law, as published in the Pepperdine Law Review during 2010, this ‘backgrounder’ was followed by the Uniform Law Commission’s adoption, on 19 July 2012, of the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act, recommending adoption of (state) statutes, enabling (manufactured) housing owners to title or re-title their homes as real property, “…if connected to electrical utilities and (when) a certificate of location is filed with the local deed office.” Quoted from Center for Economic Development’s 2012 Annual Report. And visit CFED online, for lender, homeowner and industry ‘briefs’ posted during year 2013.

Make no mistake about it, this proposal cum ‘would be’ statute is alive and well in the minds and plans of certain social activists, local tax assessors in search of more tax revenues, and certain bank(s) – none of which have examined the effects of such legislation on 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle community businesses nationwide!

Before we quote from said report, which makes many good points by the way, here’re at least ‘Two key, 50,000 land-lease-lifestyle communities – related questions’ to keep in mind as you read – and ponder – the effects of this proposed change, potentially affecting our business model, and your future as a LLLCommunity owner/operator:

1) Ms. Burkhart, why so little mention, let alone examination of, land-lease-lifestyle communities (A.k.a. manufactured home communities, & before that, ‘mobile home parks’) in this 38 page study, since this recommendation-for-change, if legislated, could/would profoundly affect this unique, income-producing investment realty asset class?!

2) And, just how do you see this proposed change (i.e. “Classifying all manufactured homes as real property from the time of sale to a consumer….” P.13) affecting the present day business model of owners/operators of 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide?

So, what’s in ‘Bringing Manufactured Housing into the Real Estate Finance System’, that’s prompted these two key questions?

Let’s begin with the LEXISNEXIS SUMMARY of the article, followed by its’ Conclusion. Then there’ll be quotations taken from three subsections labeled: ‘Today’s Manufactured Homes’, ‘Manufactured Housing Finance Model’, & ‘Increasing Credit Availability for Manufactured Housing’.

LEXISNEXIS SUMMARY. “…Misperceptions about manufactured homes are not limited to the homes but also exist about their residents. …Characterizing manufactured homes as real property would provide greater access to the secondary market, thereby increasing the flow of capital to lenders and lowering lending costs…The greatest potential for uncertainty exists in states that treat a manufactured home as personal property until it becomes a fixture or until the title has been converted to real property…Far fewer lenders make manufactured home chattel loans than make mortgage loans, especially since the manufactured housing market meltdown…In this situation, the legal protections afforded owners of manufactured homes should equal those afforded owners of site – built homes…Moreover, many state conversion statutes permit manufactured homes on leased land to be classified as real estate, which demonstrates the land ownership restriction is unnecessary.” P.1.

CONCLUSION. “Manufactured homes have changed dramatically since the introduction of their earliest counterparts in the 1920s. Unfortunately, the law has not kept pace. As a result, financing and other aspects of ownership are needlessly complex and uncertain, and access to affordable credit is limited, which has been a major obstacle to the industry’s recovery. Manufactured home owners are not accorded the same rights as the owners of site – built homes, though they often need greater protection. The failure to classify manufactured homes in the same manner as site – built homes has also caused the federal and state governments to overlook manufactured homes in the efforts to stabilize the home finance markets and to prevent similar crises in the future. Classifying all manufactured homes are real property from the time of sale to a consumer is a feasible and effective remedy for these problems.” P.13

Here we go…

Manufactured housing “…has the same characteristics as a site – built home and should have the same legal classification.” P.2. Perhaps NOT, if sited on a rental homesite within a land-lease-lifestyle community; as opposed to being built on a lot in a subdivision, or on a scattered building site -both conveyed fee simple.

“…manufactured home residents are less transient than residents of site – built housing. Whereas the average period of ownership for a site – built home is six years, sixty percent of manufactured home residents live in their home for more than ten years. Furthermore, seventy-eight percent of manufactured homes are owner-occupied, only sixty-eight percent of site – built home owners live in the home.” P.3. News to me, but reads well!

“Concerns about manufactured housing’s safety, appearance, and impact on neighboring property values are similarly misplaced.” & “Contrary to popular belief, manufactured home communities do NOT affect neighboring property values.” P.3. (Emphasis added. GFA) Again; news to me. Truth be told however, property valuation can go either direction; depreciation or appreciation, depending on 1) age and condition of homes sited therein, and 2) the overall care (e.g. curb appeal, rules enforcement, professional property management measures) in effect at the income – producing property.

“Manufactured home chattel loans should be included in the government relief programs not only because the homes are functionally equivalent to site-built homes…(but) because the manufactured home finance market and…rest of the manufactured housing industry has been struggling to recover from a meltdown that is virtually identical to the mortgage market meltdown.” P.4. It won’t happen; however, as long as (manufactured) homes, modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, etc., are sited on rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities, increasing the risk of said residences being moved elsewhere.

“…the demand for new manufactured homes more than doubled from 1991 to 1998. Manufactured housing’s market share of new single-family homes sold during those years remained consistently above twenty-five percent. Initially, the increased sales were attributable to improved product design and construction standards, the rapidly increasing cost of site-built homes, and the expanding national economy.” P.4. NOTE. As most manufactured housing aficionados know, replacing the words ‘sold’ & ‘sales’, with ‘shipped & shipments’ respectively, in these sentences, tells more of the ‘real story’ – that ‘demand’ was/is largely artificial, as home manufacturers, chattel capital lenders and brokers, as well as some LLLCommunity owners/operators, colluded to ‘keep housing production lines moving’, often flooding local housing markets with unneeded and unsellable new homes! To underscore that sorry point, read the following half dozen quotes…

“…increased demand also was driven by the same bad lending practices that created the mortgage market bubble and caused it to burst. Risky behavior by manufacture home loan brokers…” p.4 NOTE. Insert ‘artificial’ between the first two words, ‘increased’ & ‘demand’.

Furthermore, “Manufactured housing dealers often act(ed) as loan brokers for their buyers. And customers “…preferred the convenience and speed of relying on the dealer to find a loan.” P.5. NOTE. Plenty of blame to be spread around…

‘…higher interest rates on manufactured home chattel loans, than on mortgage loans, were particularly attractive to them. In the resulting competition for borrowers, lenders began relaxing underwriting standards and loan terms. “Down payments decreased and the number of years over which the loan could be repaid increased. …lenders began financing homes for borrowers who clearly could not afford them.” P.5 NOTE. Nuff said, but…

“Hyper-aggressive sale and predatory lending practices became more common. Some dealers sold (HUD-Code) homes for as much as twice their fair market value.” P.5.

“…decreasing interest rates on mortgage loans made site-built homes more affordable. Despite the decreased demand, manufactured home production continued to increase.” P.5. NOTE. Recall the earlier observation about (forced) ‘shipments’ vs. ‘sales’

“In 2001, one-fifth of the homes that were sold were repossessed.” P.5.

All the while…

“…securitizations of manufactured home loans also greatly increased – from $184 million in 1987 to $15 billion in 1999.” P.5. NOTE. By year 2008 however, securitizations had dropped to $307 million! According to the ALLEN REPORT, land-lease-lifestyle community owners started picking up the slack, by ‘carrying’ contract sale paper on homes they sold on – site. Their paper value skyrocketed from a few million dollars in 1999 to more than $3.2 billion by 2009, and $5+ billion the following year! At the same time, new HUD-Code home shipments plummeted from a too brief renaissance ‘high’ in 1998 of 372,843 new homes, all the way down to what’s now been a five year nadir of 50,00+/- new homes shipped per year – a nadir that’ll likely continue until ‘readily accessible’ chattel capital returns to HUD-Code manufactured housing, and financial regulators back off!

Here it comes!

“Credit for manufactured home purchases would increase by characterizing all such homes as real property.” P.6. NOTE. Question: Even for those (manufactured) homes, on rental homesites, within one, more, or all 50,000+/- land-lease-lifestyle communities nationwide?

“Recognizing all manufactured homes as realty, from the moment they are sold to a consumer, would eliminate the obstacles that have prevented so many owners from obtaining the benefits of that classification. Universal treatment of manufactured housing as real property also would benefit lenders by creating national uniformity and by eliminating uncertainty.” P.7 NOTE. Perhaps so, but again, ‘What are the anticipated consequences for owners/operators of LLLCommunities nationwide?’ This is not addressed anywhere in this paper! ‘Why?’

Here’s an interesting and apt aside. At least one large commercial lender (bank) backing this conversion effort, has apparently not considered the likely chilling consequences of this action, on the land-lease-lifestyle communities they presently mortgage, nor their loan origination dollar volume in the future.

“…if the manufactured home is sited on leased land, the home will depreciate in value because home value appreciation normally is attributable to the land on which it sits.” P.7 NOTE. That’s not the whole story, and flies in the face of an earlier statement, that LLLCommunities ‘do not affect the value of nearby neighborhoods’. Which way is it? Frankly, there’re examples of ‘homes & LLLCommunities’ ‘appreciating& depreciating’ together in value, depending on ‘the land on which it sits’, AND the ‘condition of the home(s) per se’.

“Classifying manufactured housing as real property…will significantly change the methods for creating, perfecting, and enforcing a security interest in manufactured homes, and has important implications for property taxation, marital property rights, and homestead protections.” P.8. NOTE. Not much said in this report about the probable effects of said conversion affecting the type and amount of (real estate) taxes to now have to be paid by the homeowner. For example: “Manufactured home owners in some states will pay lower taxes if their home is real estate, but owners in other states will pay more.” P.11 versus “…the annual property tax rate for real estate is substantially higher than for personal property.” P.11. NOTE. Here’s a hidden agenda item: How, and by how much, the conversion of ALL manufactured homes to real estate, from their present personal property classification, will likely increase the tax base of local county coffers?

“The median monthly housing cost for manufactured home owners is $407. For tenants, it is $755.” P.10. NOTE. Really? Are we comparing ‘apples to apples here’? For example; are the same ‘housing cost’ factors built into both figures – or not? Easy to see $755/month as affordable conventional apartment rent somewhere – but inclusive or exclusive of utilities? And how ‘bout the $407? Is that inclusive of mortgage PITI (or is home ‘free & clear’), site rent, and utility bills for a month – or is water/sewer built into the site rent fee? Until those questions are answered, the dollar comparisons are misleading, if not meaningless.

“By classifying all manufactured homes as real estate, from the moment of purchase from a dealer, the uncertainties and costs of the current system will be substantially eliminated.” P.11. NOTE. And once again; what will be the tax consequences for the unsuspecting homebuyer; and, what will be the likely (nasty) consequences for the businessman or woman who owns the underlying investment realty – as in a land-lease-lifestyle community, a.k.a. manufactured home community, or ‘mobile home park’?

“Moreover, many state conversion statutes permit manufactu4rd homes on leased land to be classified as real estate, which demonstrates the land ownership restriction is unnecessary.” P.12. NOTE. Perhaps on scattered building sites, where someone is leasing a small parcel of real estate from a family member (e.g. as oft happens on a farm, among extended family); but what about when sited within a land-lease-lifestyle community? Industry experience with attempts, over the decades, to condominiumize (or, subdivide and sell homesites, within) this property type have met with mixed success at best. Major issue? How to effectively replace enforceable (by eviction) Rules & Regulations, often emplaced per state statute, with Covenants & Restrictions, no matter how tightly written, that are next to impossible to enforce (due to property rights issues) – beyond executing and recording a lien to be (maybe) resolved at some future date?

“…to treat all (manufactured) homes as real estate can be accomplished quite efficiently because the necessary legal and administrative apparatuses already are well established. Deeds are used for title transfers. In fact, at least two states already have statutory form deeds for manufactured homes.” P.12. NOTE. What two states? And are these statutory form deeds applicable to manufactured & modular, as well as ‘park model RV’ homes in land-lease-lifestyle communities?

“Lenders have adapted a long – standing finance tool, the multi – draw construction loan, to ensure the mortgage the buyer executes, at the time of purchase, has priority from that moment.” P.13.NOTE. And again; is this applicable to homes sited on rental homesites within land-lease-lifestyle communities; and if so, what are the probable consequences thereof?

Well, there it is, a digest of information published three years ago in ‘Bringing Manufactured Housing into the Real Estate Finance System”, now ‘making the rounds’ as recommended (state) legislation per the Uniform Law Commission. Has interest in the Uniform Manufactured Housing Act come to your state yet? Expect it to do so….

This is one of those rare times when being forewarned (‘Think of the possible consequences to you and your land-lease-lifestyle community business model!) is akin to being forearmed!

End Notes.

1. CFED: Center for Economic Development


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

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