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

January 31, 2015

Potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 10:20 am

COBA7® via Blog # 334 Copyright @ 1 February 2015

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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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.

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:

13 must be this week’s ‘lucky number’ for blog floggers (readers), since that’s the number of News & Views described in the following paragraphs. And hey, when you see, read or hear of MH-related matters to likely interest our peers, let me know ASAP!


The Occasional Potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views!

Collection of News & Op/ed Bites, Interesting to Read & Ponder

COURTESY. There’s at least one, and maybe the only one, HUD-Code home manufacturer executive, who answers the telephone, accepting calls from businessmen and women in the MHIndustry. Recently, a young home designer in southern California heeded my advice and phoned this particular CEO. He not only took her call, but assisted with factory connections she needed to expedite the fabrication of a prototype two story HUD-Code home with a small footprint. Guess who’ll likely get her business in the future, as she markets this forward-looking home design? A unique home design, by the way, featuring ‘green materials’, modern interior & exterior finishes, energy efficiency & photovoltaic-ready options. ‘You GO, Sabrina!’

FROST FREE FOUNDATIONS®. Speaking of HUD-Code home manufacturers. COBA7® recently polled HUD-Code home manufacturers, requesting sample Installation Manuals featuring factory-approved Frost Free Foundation® protocols. Once research is complete, we’ll inform land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owners/operators, from coast-to-coast, which HUD-Code home manufacturers, by including HUD-approved FFF® protocols in their Installation Manuals, are helping them avoid expensive retrofitting (i.e. estimated minimum of $5,000 per site) of performing foundations on rental homesites! Bottom line? Guess where informed LLLCommunity owners/operators will likely purchase their new homes in the future?

DOE STANDARDS. One LLLCommunity owner/operator, who sells and self-finances new HUD-Code homes on-site says, “I see a possible silver lining relative to DOE standards. If they come with a reasonable payback period, financially-challenged home buyers might well be able to afford our homes! And maybe we should be sending the ‘energy tax credit’ directly to homebuyers, to be used as part of their down payment. If legally doable, such a move would add many potential homebuyers to the prospect pool, rather than keeping them from it. GREEN and AFFORDABLE; now we’d have something to SELL!”

RENT vs. BUY HOMES. Another LLLCommunity owners/operator opines: “A reemerging business model appears to emphasize ‘rental homes’ as opposed to ‘buying homes’ in LLLCommunities. While I’m a strong proponent of filling vacant rental homesites via lease-option, to families with a ‘buyer’ mentality, many of today’s prospects don’t want home payments and maintenance responsibilities, preferring to rent their homes. From my perspective, ‘rentals’ are more management & maintenance intense, and experience higher turnover & more rehab costs, making frequent inspection of home interiors a necessity.” Five Tips for Successful MHRental operation, assuming tacit support of one’s local housing market: provide truly habitable shelter, establish & enforce screening standards, collect rent weekly not monthly, enforce posted rules & regulations, and inspect interiors regularly while changing air filters and engaging in pest control.

COBA7®. Did you read the Chapter # 1 of ‘COBA7® History’ in the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, a.k.a. ‘Who’s Who Among LLLCommunity Portfolio Owners/operators Throughout North America!’? If not, the ALLEN REPORT is still available for purchase @ $544.95 (postpaid), or via Option II affiliation (same $ amount) with COBA7®. Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 to order or affiliate. Year 2015 is one of likely transition for the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, as affiliates grow in number from more than 200 now, to 400 by year end 2015. For more information and to affiliate, use the COBA7® brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) introducing this week’s blog posting at

HUD & UL. A manufactured housing industry pioneer opines: “Whoa ________! I guess you’re not a fan of big government. Well, neither am I, but guess we’re stuck with it for the foreseeable future. I see NO charm in seeking government aid in any fashion, but it’s my opinion the HUD-Code is a done deal. One option would be to negotiate with UL, or some other credible independent party, to replace HUD, and pay what it costs – probably no more than we already pay at present. That worked well in Canada, the last I knew. But even that would require a degree of leadership and industry cooperation that’s nowhere in sight. I suspect we’re stuck.”

NO to AD CAMPAIGN. From yet another MHIndustry pioneer opines: “Never mind a national ad campaign! We have no significant single market to address. Our industry has become a game of niches, just as it used to be. So the best course is to utilize our one great strength: low construction cost, to provide the nation with good low coast housing everywhere we can, however we can. Build no trash! Clean up our soggy image – the most important thing we can do. For that, we’ve clearly demonstrated we need someone hovering over all our shoulders, lest we cheat. Our industry is as honest as any other, but we’ve earned ourselves a terrible image and we can’t afford backsliders.”

YES to AD CAMPAIGN. “Speaking of selling, someone mentioned selling GREEN as part of a national campaign. I for one, have had enough of the stonewalling on the national campaign issue. It is painfully obvious the controlling interests in manufacturing are not interested in pursing this strategy. We may have to work through state associations to raise money for a campaign. Car dealer networks pay to have commercials made that can be bought into by individual dealers, and then at end of the commercial, they insert a ‘tag’ with the dealer’s info and short message. That way the heavy cost of production is spread amongst users. I see this as having to be regional. If I am selling houses in Indiana, I don’t want palm trees or desertscapes in my commercial, and I’m sure desert dealers don’t want oak trees and streams.”

CHRIS STINEBERT. If you were listening to NPR radio on 28 January, you likely heard MHI’s former president & CEO, Chris Stinebert, now with the American Financial Services Association (‘ASFA’), in discussion with other auto finance execs, discussing used car loans and subprime financing of same, with all its’ challenges. Chris handled himself well in the face of sometimes stiff questioning by other radio program guests. Just goes to show you, there’s life after manufactured housing….

AFFORDABILITY of HOUSING. “Housing expenditures are conventionally considered affordable if they do not exceed 30 percent of family or household income. Since 1975, housing has become increasingly unaffordable for poor and minority families, and households with children that are burdened by housing costs has more than doubled. Sixty-five percent of children in low-income families now live in households that are ‘housing cost burdened’, meaning they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing-related expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance.” This quoted from ‘Housings’s & Neighborhood’s Role in Shaping Children’s Future’, a feature article in the Fall 2014 issue of HUD’s EVIDENCE MATTERS publication, page #7.

SUPERBOWL 2015. According to media reports, its estimate that at least 46 percent of those viewing tonight’s Superbowl Game will be women. As a result, watch to see how much of the program material, throughout the day, is geared towards the woman viewer.

ALLEN LETTER professional journal for February 2015. Besides carrying Part II of the series parsing the past, present, and future of HUD-Code manufactured housing & the LLLCommunity real estate asset class, there’ll be at least three lagniappes: the Signature Series Resource Document: ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’ outline to use when you brief employees, stakeholders, etc.. And there’s a really handy month-by-month Maintenance Checklist for Manufactured Homes, prepared by the Factory-built Owners of America! You’ll want to copy and distribute this seminal HOW TO document to all your residents. And Robert Coldren, esquire, has prepared an interesting piece describing his newest project: El Dorado! The Allen Letter professional journal is available only to COBA7® affiliates. So, if YOU own/operate one or more LLLCommunities, you owe it to yourself to be reading this timely, helpful monthly material. Affiliate with COBA7® today! Simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. This sort of information is available from no other source in the U.S. and Canada today!

COST EFFECTIVE MEANS of FILLING VACANT RENTAL HOMESITES. I’m cautiously optimistic about the viability of this ‘whole new method’ of filling vacant rental homesites with new HUD-Code homes, especially in the smaller, one-off LLLCommunities NOT in anyone’s property portfolio. Seriously. Just learned of the unique opportunity, so will be researching and ‘proofing’ the methodology during the next week or two, before ‘going public’ with a step-by-step description in the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter, then the Allen Letter professional journal. So, as they say, ‘stay tuned’ and be prepared (hopefully) to help set our industry on its’ ear, as we sell and ship more new HUD-Code homes during year 2015, than any previous year since 97,000 in 2007!

Well, that about does it for this week’s potpourri of MHIndustry News & Views! Hope you enjoyed it…


January 24, 2015


Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 10:42 am

COBA7® via Blog # 333 Copyright @ 25 January 2015

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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:

My-Oh-My; as YOU likely know, WE – as an industry & realty asset class, are engaged in an exciting NEW ERA regarding the ‘Evolution of the Manufactured Housing Business Model, Past, Present & Future!’ & ‘Look(ing) into Manufactured Housing’s Uncertain Future’ – these being the dual titles of last week’s blog posting at this website!

So much response from nearly 1,000 blog floggers (readers), we prepared and posted a rare mid-week follow-up op/ed blog titled ‘This Has Not Happened, in this Volume, Before!’ Hopefully you read both postings. If not, scroll back into this website’s blog archives before proceeding. Then, move onto…

‘NEW ERA MH Trade Lingo, circa 2015’; ‘What this observer experienced at the MHShow in Louisville, KY’ this past week; and a heady ‘WISH LIST for YEAR 2015!’

We’ll likely revisit the ‘Evolution…’ & ‘…Uncertain Future’ responses in next Sunday’s blog posting. So, keep those responses a-coming! And respond to these three parts following, as well!

Know what? Talked to a former MHI chairman recently, and a top level executive who continues to be active in the manufactured housing industry, and they tell me they value the news & views gleaned from this blog posting and the Allen Letter professional journal. Do YOU? If not reading both, phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE today!


NEW ERA MH Trade Lingo, circa 2015

It’s time to stop messing around with the way we casually and formally write and talk about (manufactured) housing. There’ll always be Luddites hanging onto ‘trailer talk’ & ‘mobile homes’, even ‘status quo you know’ folk putting ‘manufactured’ in front of everything homey and community. But that doesn’t mean YOU have to do so…

Those of us with present and future Free Enterprise business prospects anchored in factory-built housing and investment real estate, understand the NEW ERA that dawned in early 2014, and is maturing during 2015, provides a unique platform and opportunity to revisit, restart, and routinely use, nearly a dozen, image-enhancing trade terms in our routine business communication. Try these on for size…

Housing = formerly, manufactured housing

Homes = formerly, manufactured homes

Community = formerly, manufactured home community & before
that ‘mobile home parks’; and in contemporary
journalistic circles, land-lease-lifestyle community
or simply landlease community & LLLCommunity

Independent (street) MHRetailer = formerly, dealer & dealership

New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender=No single precedent, as this new trend supplants
decades old symbiotic relationship between (then)
‘dealer’ & ‘mobile home park’ owners/operators.
Now it’s communities selling & oft self-financing new & resale homes on-site to fill vacant rental

Resident = formerly, tenant; a.k.a. ‘homeowner/site lessee’

Transporter = formerly, toter

Singlesection (home) = formerly, singlewide mobile home

Multisection (home) = formerly, doublewide mobile home

Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance = formerly, all the products & services
provided to community owner/operators by GFA
Management, Inc., dba PMN Publishing

Is it really so difficult to adjust one’s use of trade terms, like these, to reflect today’s appealing new designs of homes and, in many instances, the desirability of the community lifestyle? Methinks not, but the transition must begin with YOU! GFA

The 2015 MHShow in Louisville, KY.

Short takes on what & who I saw and heard this past week in Luavul…

• Overall, the MHShow was ‘OK’. Far too few Community Series Homes & far too many ‘Big Box = Big Bucks’ show-off units! And, time for a program change!

• Colorado-based real estate investor, & ARC founder, Scott Jackson is back! Just acquired a large turnaround challenge community in Indianapolis, IN. Go Scott!

• Illinois MHAssociation likely established a new practice, by affixing bright orange ribbons, bearing the ILLINOIS name, to their member’s show ID tags

• Jim Clayton & Kevin Kimsey were easy to spot, but a tad bit difficult to identify, as they sported Abraham Lincoln beards with gray and black color schemes.

• Sad news! Sherrie Clevenger of NADA is leaving manufactured housing next month for other pastures. Her successor? Eric Westermeyer. (800) 966-6232X238

• Day before the MHShow, 13 Manufactured Housing Managers®, or MHMs® trained & certified nearby, by Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®!

• Kudos to ‘Maynardville Communities’, a Clayton Co. Just enough pre-show promo to motivate one (me) to visit & photograph their Community Series Home.

• This MHShow was a swan song of sorts, for retiring Wisconsin Housing Alliance executive Ross Kinzler. But with Amy in place, it’s a succession plan that’ll work

• Familiar with NextStep? I wasn’t until this show. Now working with them on pre-purchase counseling of prospective homebuyers project, and possibly more…

• I must have introduced Mark Weiss, MHARR’s newly named president & CEO, and successor to recently retired Danny Ghorbani, to 20+ friends & associates

• Here’re two startling exhibit firsts: only one community portfolio owner/operator: ROC USA; & only one real estate broker: MHRE, Inc., at this year’s MHShow!

• Greetings to Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI’s newly named Sr. VP of Government Affairs, (703) 558-0660. Hopefully, she’ll be with us for the long haul & successful!

• COBA7® signed up several new affiliates, enroute to serving 400+ ‘MHInsiders’ by year end 2015! You affiliated yet? Call MHIndustry HOTLINE this week

• If I heard ‘lease-option’ mentioned once, I heard it a dozen times, as L-O guru Spencer Roane, MHM® circulated thru the MHShow, connecting with associates

• Looking to buy resale manufactured homes in IN & KY? Contact Tamar Pierce @ (502) 643-2920. And Jackie Tucker in Indianapolis, IN. ((317) 717-3390

• New chattel capital lender, ParkLane Finance Solutions was present, testing the market. Rick Cason @ (434) 975-5088. And they hosted Best Reception of all!

• Finally, life continues to be good, as long as Don Westphal exhibits at the Louisville MHShow! Who doesn’t enjoy stopping by and chatting with him?

OK, so when am I going to see YOU again? Depends. Due to family reasons I won’t be attending MHI’s Winter meeting in New Orleans in February.

COBA7® affiliates are clamoring for a much needed planning meeting, in late February or early March, maybe even during the MHCongress in April.

Then there’s the New York Housing Association-sponsored Northeast Super Symposium, 25-27 March in Albany, NY! I’ll be presenting the ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’, plus describing the latest multifamily consolidation wave. Also hear Pam Danner from HUD & Jenny Hodge from MHI’s NCC division For meeting info, talk to Nancy Geer via (518) 867-3242.

Then there’s the annual MHCongress in Las Vegas. I’ll likely be attending this year, but maybe not the NCC Forum. Why? No invitation to be a presenter, even though I’m an NCC founder and board member. But know what? Craig White, ACM® and I used to host an early morning ‘Prayer for Our Nation & Its’ Leaders’ meeting during this event. If you’re interested in restoring the practice, let me know, via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

Hopefully you’re planning on attending the RV/MH Hall of Fame’s Induction Banquet on 3 August, in Elkhart, IN., when we fete Joe Kelly (Iowa MHAssociation exec) and nine others being inducted that evening.

And, of course, there’s the 24th annual International Networking Roundtable, 9-11 September, likely in San Diego, CA. Some very Special Speakers & Topics are being invited and scheduled for this Best Educational Event of the Year – with as many as 25 offerings! Hint: Some are ‘movers & shakers’ from segments of the MHIndustry in favor and support of meeting sponsor COBA7® and its’ motto: ‘U support US & WE serve U!’


WISH LIST for YEAR 2015!

During the MHShow in Louisville, KY last week, I asked many businessmen & women for their ‘WISH LIST for 2015’. Together, they want to…

• Clearly and accurately identify the total number of new HUD-Code homes shipped directly from factories into land-lease-lifestyle communities! Knowing this would encourage increased production of Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, confirming the seven year paradigm shift away from independent (street) MHRetailers, to the ‘New Breed of MHRetailers & Lenders’ (i.e. LLLCommunities with vacant rental homesites to fill). Yes!

• Encourage LLLCommunity portfolio owners/operators selling new homes on-site, to start marketing product outside their property, to home buying prospects throughout the local housing market! Factory Expo Homes does this online, throughout the U.S. (Google it & see!), ‘Why not here?’ More sales!

• Encourage single LLLCommunity and small portfolio owner/operators to learn how to market, sell, even self-finance new and resale homes transactions on-site, to fill vacant rental homesites and sustain profitability! This alone would activate 85% of the 50,000+/- LLLCommunities not presently selling (shipping) new homes. Hard parts? Identifying and training the owners/mgrs.

• See HUD-Code home manufacturers, upon purchase of one or more new homes by LLLCommunity owners/operators (i.e. ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), allow for allocation of some or all the ‘floor fee’ $ line item on the unit invoice, to national advocacy and or resource entity of their choice!

• See more Community Series Homes, or CSH Models, with WOW! factors & durability-enhancing features, on display at regional MHShows! In addition, home manufacturers to ensure Business Development Managers, or BDMs, are listed in ‘Official Directory of HUD-Code Home Manufacturers’ when updated and distributed during October of each year, via the Allen Letter professional journal, to COBA7® affiliates & ‘MHInsiders’ nationwide.

• Have a pre-purchase counseling and training program in place, tailored to the MHIndustry ‘experience’, and encourage routine usage by independent (street) MHRetailers, ‘company stores’, and the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ (i.e. LLLCommunities selling new & resale homes on-site)! Needed!

• Finally codify the lease-option alternative, for enhanced application in states where this method is permitted, making it easier for LLLCommunity owners/operators, large and small, to effect transactions on-site! In progress!

• See professional property management given more than ‘lip service’ among portfolio owners/operators of LLLCommunities nationwide! Ensure hiring of a minimum of one Certified Property Manager® as executive or regional property manager; and either Manufactured Housing Managers® or Accredited Community Managers® employed as on-site property managers.

These eight WISH LIST items came up, time and again, during conversations at the MHShow. They are not listed in any particular priority order, though the first four were most frequently cited by LLLCommunity owners/operators selling and self-financing new and resale homes on-site. Interestingly, few complained about the ‘lack of easy access to chattel capital’, almost as if they’ve learned to ‘make do’, on their own, and have moved beyond that business restriction.

Let’s hope HUD-Code home manufacturers are reading these WISH LIST items too, and take the initiative to implement the first four ASAP.

For more on these matters, read Part I (in January) & Part II (in February) of the MHIndustry retrospective & future, respectively, in the Allen Letter professional journal!

Finally, the 12 page, 26th annual ALLEN REPORT is now available for general purchase. The price is $544.95 for the report alone, OR, same price, @ $544.95 for one year affiliation with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®. In this latter case, the COBA7® affiliation also means you receive the Allen Letter professional journal for 12 months, and an updated Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD, each month. February = ‘Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class!’, February = 17th annual National Registry of Lenders – both real estate-secured mortgage originators, and chattel capital sources and servicers. Plus ten more SSRDs thru year end. To affiliate, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


January 18, 2015

Immediate Responses to Blog Posting # 332

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 11:59 am

Copyright 2015 George Allen, CPM® & MHM® First North American Rights Only

This Has Not Happened, in this Volume, Before!

Within hours of today’s (1/18/15) blog posting at, multiple pithy responses, telling observations, & insightful questions poured back in response to ‘Look into Manufactured Housing’s Uncertain Future’ & ‘Evolution of the Manufactured Housing Business Model, Past, Present & Future!

These email responses came from HUD-Code home manufacturers, land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators, state MHAssociation executives, and at least one freelance manufactured housing consultant. Obvious by their absence, was anything from national advocacy entities.

A sampling of what we’ve received so far, in no order of priority.

“Good commentary, you account for the ills of the industry! By mentioning tiny houses and energy efficiency momentum in the (same) sentence, it makes readers think how old HUD-Code (home) factories have not kept in touch with other forms of housing.”

“What do repurposed shipping containers and Tiny Houses have in common? Neither comes close to complying with building codes, and building inspectors are turning a blind eye to them. Why? Because both (forms of housing) are sexy and inspectors don’t want to be seen as anti-green.”

‘Excellent post today George! Unusually well written. Is there a soon-to-be-announced editor in the works for COBA7®?” (Answer: Yes; stay tuned to this weekly news source)

“I say ‘bring on the new (DOE energy efficiency) rules’. Let’s be the most energy efficient housing (type). BUT, only if we are willing to tell that story in a Big Way, and we tie it to the 40th anniversary of the HUD-Code.” – (coming in 2016)

‘When will we hear more about the Pre-Purchase Counseling (‘PPG’), and lease-option?” (Answer: As soon as I hear and see more material on the two timely, strategic topics!)

‘I hope to see something other than a 1970s ranch home in Louisville (this week). Our designs are boring. Affordable doesn’t have to be boring. If (manufacturing) plants say ‘Yes they do’, then lack of sales (i.e. home shipments) is their fault.”

“Good comments about the changing (or changed?) MH business model and ‘green’ interest in manufactured housing. The Community Series Home (trend) during the past 5+ years (i.e. since National State of the Asset Class caucus on 2/27/2009 in Elkhart, IN.) has had significant affects on the MHIndustry. We’ve always had two to three distinct (HUD-Code) housing segmentations, e.g. lower priced & functional, versus ‘big box – big bucks’. Now we clearly differentiate between the two. While profit margins in the former are lower, I think it represents the sustenance of the MHIndustry today, because the latter segment is much smaller – competing head to head with site-built housing, and financing is tough (i.e. those who qualify for a $75K MH can also qualify for a lower interest $100 K site-built home.” We now know CSH Model homes, with one or more WOW! factors and a plethora of durability-enhancing features (to ease make-ready, between homebuyers and renters), are the favored housing type for in-LLLCommunity installation on rental homesites.

“Comments from a leading MH manufacturer, recently, that ‘MHIndustry can survive with 80,000 homes shipped per year, (given) increasing stability of LLLCommunity owners/operators, (a.k.a. ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), suggest to me, we may actually have a future! A national advertising program supported by an organization representing interests of those actually selling new manufactured homes – (Again, the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’), with more focus on ‘green’ and a return of ‘some form of chattel financing’ – that works when homebuyer and owner/operator have ‘skin in the game’, are what the MHIndustry needs most and now!”


January 17, 2015

Repurposed Steel Shipping Containers or Manufactured Housing?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:31 am

COBA7® via Blog # 332 Copyright @ 18 January 2015

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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:

Beginning this Introduction differently from previous postings, as Parts I & II following, have to do with the gist of what’s quoted here from the January 2015 issue of RISMedia’s REAL ESTATE magazine. First the quote, then my introductory comment:

“As the McMansion era continues to fade into the abyss, the green building movement is picking up speed with each passing day. In fact, many of today’s buyers are trading square footage for spaces that are not only smaller, but eco-friendly to boot. There’s also much more attention being paid to unique building materials such as re-purposed steel shipping containers.” P. #6.

But wait! Why are these folk overlooking the greenest, efficiency supportive housing type manufactured in the U.S., to consider living in re-purposed steel shipping containers? Probably because 1) HUD-Code manufactured homes are no longer ‘affordable’, and will be less so in the days ahead, as our industry acquiesces to comply with expensive DOE energy standards; 2) we lack easy access to (chattel capital) financing needed to mate homebuyer/site lessees, to rental homesites in land-lease-lifestyle communities; and, 3) we do nothing to ‘spread the word’ about the desirability of contemporary singlesection and multisection Community Series Homes, or CSH

Models. Now, ‘read on’ for the details…


Not a fan of crystal balls! But now. in manufactured housing history, I clearly see what ‘projects’ & more, must be done, if this industry & its’ real estate component, LLLCommunities, are to be revived as this nation’s main source of affordable housing!


‘Evolution of a Business Model’, continues the challenge described in Part I of this week’s blog posting; and let’s you know, as a blog flogger (reader) where to go for, as radio commentator Paul Harvey, used to say, ‘the rest of the story’, and how to get it!


A Look Into Manufactured Housing’s

Uncertain Future

There Are Projects Afoot & Planned That’ll Affect All of Us!

Sometimes searches for the hidden and obscure cause us to overlook the obvious, even what’s ‘hidden in plain sight’. Such was our experience recently, when pondering, ‘Why aren’t manufactured housing’s national advocacy bodies communicating contemporary paradigm shifts occurring throughout the industry and land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) realty asset class? ANSWER? Because, for the first time in the 70 year history of the manufactured housing, we have NO print trade publications reporting industry’s news beyond publication of self-serving Press Releases! If you think I jest or err, pick up the sole remaining tabloid and search for ‘new news’ & ‘new columnists’ therein. You’ll find neither. Take a look at the Allen Letter professional journal. What do you find there? ‘New news’ yes, but only pertaining to the LLLCommunity income-producing property type. And yes, there’s also the Allen CONFIDENTIAL!, but that’s a high-priced business newsletter featuring strategic MH & LLLCommunity ‘stats & info’ for dozens of senior corporate executives and portfolio owner/operators who insist on ‘Knowing what’s going on’ well before their peers.

Hence the gist of this week’s blog posting. A taste of projects afoot and planned, that’ll affect all of us, during the weeks and months ahead:

• Did you know? There’re efforts afoot, right now, to create a web-based Pre-home Purchase Counseling Program for individuals and families contemplating buying a new or resale HUD-Code manufactured home sited within a land-lease-lifestyle community. Yep; sure is. And if you’d like to be in touch with the folk preparing said aid, to serve as a resource, or perhaps ‘user’ of the program, let them know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. Hint. Yes, these are Community Owner (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® affiliates hard at work in your behalf.

• Lease-Option. To date, much talked about, but little done, to fully articulate a practical $ program that’ll ‘pass regulatory muster’ across most state lines, and enable small to mid-sized LLLCommunity owners/operators to effectively consummate home transactions on-site in LLLCommunities. Again, if you’d like to be considered a resource person, or potential end user, of such an L-O program when ready, make your presence known via the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE. Yes again; COBA7 affiliates at work on your behalf.

• LLLCommunity owners/operators = as you likely already know, the ‘New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’. In fact, that moniker will go into the new edition of the MHIndustry’s Official Lexicon when updated in June, and distributed with the Allen Letter professional journal. Anyway, the project here, is to quantify the number of new HUD-Code manufactured homes being shipped directly into LLLCommunities nationwide! We already know certain large property portfolios buy new homes in bulk, need to know what percentage of 2014 & 2015 shipment volume is being affected in this manner. Why? Think about it….

• Frost Free Foundation or FFF. As you likely realize, this is the third blog posting covering this subject. See blog postings # 326 & 331. The project here is to encourage every HUD-Code home manufacturer to include complete description and protocols of FFF in their firm’s Installation Manuals shipped with new homes. To not do so, subjects LLLCommunity owners, siting new homes, to $5,000.00+/- in reconstruction of rental homesite costs – even if existing decades old foundations haven’t failed, but do NOT meet the federal manufactured housing installation standards codified in 2007, but not fully enforced until year 2015 and beyond. When will national advocacy bodies get on board with this timely and cost savings project, where our housing product & LLLCommunities are concerned?

• The Big Picture in Two Parts, maybe Three. Huh? That’s right; someone has taken the time, and made the effort, to – once again – describe the sorry and sordid events, of the past few decades, that brought the manufactured housing industry, and by extension LLLCommunities, to its’ knees, shipment wise, for the past six years (@ average of 53,000+/- new homes/year). Part I was the feature story in the January 2015 issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. Part II, a detailed description of manufactured housing’s flawed operating model and ‘Ten Recommended Model Changes’, will be the feature in the February 2015 issue. Hopefully you’re reading the newsletter. If not; well, you’re missing the effort to turn our industry and asset class around, to reclaim national market share of factory-built housing! To participate, phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE and affiliate with COBA7 at any one of three $ option levels.

There’s more, much more going on, but these five projects suffice for now. That’s why you need to read this weekly blog posting – to get ‘new news’ available nowhere else!



‘manufactured housing’


There was a time when state MHAssociations together, were as politically powerful as the (then) one manufacturer-funded national advocacy body; when there was only one such trade entity (pre-1986) ‘inside the capitol beltway’; mobile home park owners did not buy new homes – ever, to fill vacant rental homesites; and everyone, for awhile, seemed to be in collusion to turn our homebuyer/site lessee customers ‘upside down’ in their new home transactions.

Yes, all this occurred until the turn of the 21st Century. The HUD-Code manufactured housing industry’s Business Model, prior to year 2000, was a lively and profitable interaction among 1) home manufacturers, 2) independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’, 3) (then) manufactured home community owners/operators, and 4) independent third party chattel finance companies. Then the $ bottom fell out, as easily accessible chattel capital went away, nary to return.

Today? 1) home manufacturers now ship new homes at 20% of their estimated optimum capacity of 250,000 homes per hear, and 2) two thirds of independent (street) MHRetailers are gone from the marketing scene, and 3) easily accessible chattel capital, after 15 years has not returned to manufactured housing. BUT, some of the shipment slack has been picked up by 3) land-lease-lifestyle community (portfolio) owners/operators, a.k.a. ‘The New Breed of MHRetailer & Lender’ – buying and selling new homes on-site and often self-financing the transactions. And what ‘cherry picking’ of $ deals there is to be had, is garnered by the now ‘3 Lenders + 1’ who remain active in the MHBusiness: 21st Mortgage Corporation, Triad Financial Services, Inc., & CU Factory Built Lending, + Vanderbilt Mortgage& Finance, Inc.…the first and fourth firms being Berkshire Hathaway companies.

Tomorrow? Depends on whether the ‘selling & self-financing of new homes on-site in LLLCommunities’ trend continues to grow in $ volume, and breadth (i.e. spread among smaller owners/operators not presently engaged), OR we realize a new and practical means of filling vacant rental homesites with new homes (e.g. modular homes, ‘park model RVs’, ‘tiny houses’, etc.) – complete with financing. If NOT, manufactured housing will continue to languish at 60,000 new home shipments per year – until home manufacturers treat their LLLCommunity partners with respect, relative to home design, emphasis on Community Series Homes (characterized by WOW! factors & durability-enhancing features), and market their product like they want it to SELL, i.e. emphasis on ‘affordable pricing’ rather than default, every time they have an opportunity, to the fallible ‘Big Box = Big Bucks!’ mindset.

Specifically, here’s what some folk believe is needed to move this future scenario today?

• Manufacturers. Cultivate working ‘home sales & service’ relationships with not only LLLCommunity owners/operators with large property portfolio, but small Mom & Pop-sized properties too. Ask what they want on their Community Series Home, in the way of durability-enhancing features, and deliver at a truly affordable price and (now) reasonable freight charge. One example. Do you realize how much it’s appreciated when hot water heaters are mounted three inches off the floor, so drain hoses can be attached and effective maintenance effected? (Yes, we’re asking for that courtesy!) And, IF you want your firm, and your Business Development Managers included in the Community Series Home directory being updated, telephone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. By the way, COBA7® is negotiating with a national buyers’ group to secure bulk purchase discounts on building materials and aftermarket goods. If you want your firm to be part of this initiative, affiliate with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance® when you phone!

• Land-lease-lifestyle Communities. Face it, if we’re to have a viable FUTURE, as property owners/operators, we must separate ourselves from trade bodies tightly controlled by a few housing manufacturers and as few mega-portfolio players. As a realty asset class, our collective influence there numbers fewer than 100 firms nationwide, among 50,000+/- LLLCommunities and 500+/- property portfolios. A mere ‘drop in the bucket’. As one mid-sized property portfolio owner/operator recently put it:

‘When I buy a new MH, or a dozen MHs, the ‘per floor fee’ passed onto me – and ultimately the homebuyer/site lessee customer, should go to the national advocacy body or bodies directly promoting and protecting my political, regulatory, and business interests, not just those of the manufacturer(s) who sold me the home(s).” (Lightly edited re ‘homebuyer/site lessee’. GFA)

This is a message increasingly communicated, out of frustration over perceived marginalization during the past several years. It’s not too late to turn that situation around, but will it be soon and effective enough to make a difference? It’s going to take enlightened and bold leadership, the sooner the better.

• What else? Yes, there’s more, much more, but you’ll have to read about it in Part II, of the two part series, published in the (February) Allen Letter professional journal. To do so, phone the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINIE, and affiliate with COBA7®. Goal is to have 400+/- COBA7® MHInsiders by the end of year 2015.

Speaking of COBA7®. If you plan to be at the MHShow in Louisville, KY., this week, 21-23 January 2016, make it a point to look me up – and share your views on what’s good and not so good about manufactured housing and LLLCommunities these days. How to find me? Stop by the IMHA (Illinois) booth and ask for me by name. And if you have business interests in Illinois, take time to become a member of this rejuvenated state MHAssociation!

And know what? If you’ve read the 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, ‘Chapter 1 of COBA7® History’, you know ‘Luavul’ is where I was challenged, two years ago, to “Do what you’ve gotta do!”; and this time last year, we did so – birthing the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®! So, especially if you’re among the 200+ ‘MHInsiders’ affiliating during the past 12 months, stop by and introduce yourself! And if you haven’t done so, but want to affiliate, ask me for a COBA7® brochure! Plus, I’ll have special gifts for you, & MHInsiders, until my supply runs dry! See YOU in Luavul! GFA


George Allen, CPM, MHM
Box 3 47024, Indpls, IN. 46247
(317) 346-7156

January 9, 2015

‘FFF’ & your new MH in a LLLCommunity!

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:42 am

COBA7® via Blog # 331 Copyright @ 11 January 2015

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 primary national advocacy voice, official ombudsman, research reporter, & online communication media for all LLLCommunities in North America!

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

Introduction to this week’s COBA7® blog posting at website:


There’s a Perfect Storm a-brewing for land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators coast to coast, and most don’t see it coming, let alone know & understand it. Scroll back in the blog archives at this website to # 326, Part I: ‘FFF’= the ‘Silver Bullet’ of manufactured housing, before reading Part I in this blog posting # 331. So important!


In texting lingo, ‘OMG!’ If COBA7® affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsiders’, thought 2014 was exciting, they haven’t seen (hardly) anything yet! 200 new affiliates during past 12 months; plus 200 expected going forward. And now, not only ‘seven functions’, but official ombudsman (press), historian, & soon, ‘think tank’ to the MHIndustry!


Save $5,000.00+/- per Rental Homesite!

Your Decision!



If you own/operate one or more land-lease-lifestyle communities (a.k.a. manufactured home communities) and buy new HUD-Code manufactured homes, in general; and or Community Series Homes, a.k.a. CSH Models *1 in particular, purchase them ONLY from manufacturers who feature Frost Free Foundation® or ‘FFF’ protocols in Installation Manuals shipped with each HUD-Code home sent your way! AND, ensure the rental homesite foundation(s) upon which the home(s) will be installed, is(are) in full compliance with Frost Free Foundation® engineering guidelines prepared and sealed specifically for your property or properties! *2

Otherwise, install the new homes in accords with whatever other Installation Manual instructions apply to your LLLCommunity(ies) – including Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, Final Rule 24 CFR 3285, U.S. Department of HUD, October 2007

Now, here’s WHY we use the word ONLY in the opening paragraph, and HOW using the Frost Free Foundation® potentially saves you $5,000.00+/- per rental homesite?

The aforementioned federal installation guidelines, for the most part, appear to exceed what’s presently in place within most of the 50,000+/- LLLCommunities in the U.S. So, if present concrete ribbons, piers, floating slabs, or otherwise, do NOT meet said federal standards, it’s estimated the average new (replacement) foundation cost, to be in compliance, is in the neighborhood of $5,000.00+/-. per rental homesite!

OR again, one can have a licensed engineer prepare and seal Frost Free Foundation® specifications tailored to your specific property/properties, then effect needed improvement(s), if any are needed, for likely less cost, to be in compliance.

That’s why you want to buy new HUD-Code manufactured homes from manufacturers conversant about FFF, who include said protocols, in their official Installation Manuals, right among other factory-approved means of installing manufactured homes. If FFF isn’t there, expect local and state regulators and inspectors to challenge your use of the FFF cost-saving system.

At present, most HUD-Code home manufacturers presently, are NOT featuring FFF in their Installation Manuals. Look for yourself. Why the omission? Ask them. But know they can contact the Systems Building Research Alliance, or SBRA, to arrange for authorized permission to use FFF protocols in said Installation Manuals. Phone (212) 496-0900.

Bottom line, for now. In my opinion, the key question here is, ‘Why would you, as a land-lease-lifestyle community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) owner/operator, patronize a HUD-Code home manufacturer who does not provide every legitimate option to you, in their official Installation Manual – including FFF, for the installation of their housing product?’

End Notes.

1. Community Series Homes, or CSH Models. Manufactured homes designed especially for in-LLLCommunity placement; usually singlesection homes or modest-sized multisection homes with one or more WOW! factors and a host of durability-enhancing features. If you’d like a FREE copy of CSH Model design features, and list of HUD-Code home manufacturers marketing via Business Development Managers, or BDMs, simply ask for it by phoning the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7® via Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764. For that matter if you’d also like the Signature Series Resource Document, or SSRD titled: ‘Major Factory-built Housing Manufacturers, to include HUD-Code Homes, Modulars, & ‘RV Park Models’, & Major MHRetail Outlets’, affiliate with COBA7® for $544.95 and receive not only that SSRD, but the Allen Letter professional journal and 11 other SSRDs just as informative!

2. Frost Free Foundation® or FFF principles:

• There are three factors necessary for frost heave: frost susceptible soil, freezing temperatures, and soil moisture content above 80 percent saturation. Eliminating any single factor prevents frost heave!

• Due to the unique design of manufactured home foundations, the easiest frost heave factor to control is moisture content.

• The design is consistent with generally accepted engineering practices and embodies the approach commonly taken by civil engineers in preventing frost heave in other types of construction, such as roadways.

This material quoted from the conclusion to ‘A Frost Free Foundation® (FFF): an Alternative Shallow Frost Protected Foundation Design for Manufactured Homes’, by Paul W. Hayman, MS, PE, Hayman Engineering, Inc. For more information contact the Systems Building Research Alliance via (212) 496-0900.


COBA7® in Year 2015

What does ‘FFF’ (Reread Part I), group purchasing $$$ savings, MHIndustry history, debut of a ‘think tank’, as well as PM training & certification all have in common? COBA7®!

That’s right. As we kick off a new year (2015) all these exciting matters, and more, fill the activity bucket of your Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance! Here’s how…

You just read again, about the Frost Free Foundation®, or FFF. Tell me; has anyone else, anywhere in the manufactured housing industry told you anything whatsoever about this legislation cum enforcement, after 10 years, of Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards, in 2015? And how your likely best home installation strategy is to buy new homes from a manufacturer(s) who’ve paid for permission to write FFF written into his Installation Manuals? Didn’t think so.

Group purchasing…This continues to be a ‘work in progress’ as we negotiate an ongoing, working relationship, with a national buyers’ group.

MHIndustry history. I’ve long ‘played historian’ for the LLLCommunity segment of the MHIndustry, but now it’s pretty much official. Why? Because NO ONE else seems interested in stepping into recently retired Al Hesselbart’s shoes, certainly not where the LLLCommunity asset class is concerned. Here’re three evidences, to date, of our firm’s documentation of our MH business legacy to date: 1) Bruce Savage’s The First 20 Years! A worthwhile ‘read’ describing the birth and growth of MHI’s National Communities Council division (PMN Publishing contracted with Bruce to author this text). 2) The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT, now available for purchase, contains ‘Chapter # 1’ describing the founding of COBA7®. And, 3) in March, you’ll read of 40+/- MHIndustry trade terms (lingo) in everyday parlance, and ‘who’ crafted them over the years! Be prepared for some surprises. And there’s more ‘history’ yet to come….

Thought we had a ‘think tank’ a few years ago, but it’s pretty much faded into minimal existence. Several blog ‘floggers’ (readers) have asked COBA7® to pick up that mantle and advance forward with it. Seems these LLLCommunity owners/operators were inspired by first the Official White Paper, then two National Public Forums on 9/11/2014 at the 23rd Networking Roundtable in Peachtree City, GA. Their general comment? ‘If MHARR & MHI are reluctant to tackle major national issues, and chart the future of our ‘double dual industry’, fine; let’s organize, meet, and do it ourselves!’ SO, expect to read more about this ‘think tank’ opportunity for you, for all of us, in the not too distant future. And let me know specifically, if YOU are interested in participating, leading, supporting this novel effort.

PM training & certification. This certainly isn’t something new, but it’s the first one day Manufactured Housing Manager® class conducted during 2015. Expecting we’ll have 20 – 25 in the class on 20 January in Louisville, KY. What a great ‘twofer’ opportunity! Attend the MHM® class and become certified; then spend the night and attend the MHShow at the Fairgrounds, the next day or two! For more info on any of this, simply phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet affiliated with the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®, consider doing so soon. The 26th annual ALLEN REPORT is ‘in the mail’ as you read this blog posting. More than 200 copies were mailed, mostly to COBA7® affiliates, a.k.a. ‘MHInsders’ and many to LLLCommunity owners/operators who completely filled-in their questionnaires early in the Fall. And in February we’ll be distributing the Official State of the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asst Class (outline) Signature Series Resource Document, as a lagniappe in the Allen Letter professional journal. So, don’t be left out; affiliate today! How? Use aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE!


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