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

September 26, 2022

A Week of Nostalgia…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 10:25 am

Blog Posting # 708. Copyright 30 September 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, and textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit educatemhc.com

A Week of Nostalgia & Week of Land Lease Community Education & Networking

57 years ago I was a 22 year old second lieutenant of U.S. Marines. I’d just graduated from Eastern University, in St. Davids, PA., then relocated with Carolyn, and our 10 month old daughter Susan, to Woodbridge, VA., – near Quantico, VA., where I’d be attending The Basic School (‘TBS’) during the last half of year 1967. Next, following a month of combat engineer officer training at Camp Lejeune, NC, in early 1968, I settled Carolyn and Susan into an apartment in Drexel Hill, PA., and headed off to the Republic of South Vietnam for a 13 month tour.

A half century has passed, and except for very infrequent contact with Marine officers I trained with at TBS, I’m about to be reunited with 80 or so who’ll convene this week for our first and only reunion. Our TBS class numbered 200+; many were killed in action (‘KIA’) in Vietnam and many have died of natural causes since then. Carolyn will rekindle relations with a half dozen or so wives who were with us back in 1967 (married officers were the extreme exception at the time, children even fewer). Will likely be a happy, but also bittersweet, time together once again.

Of particular interest to me will be seeing John Dietz; he and I traveled to Junior Platoon Leaders Class (‘PLC’) together in 1964, and then TBS. John was an infantry platoon commander in Vietnam, and returned to the states to begin a career with the IRS, eventually forming his own private investigation firm in Texas.

And Chris Ray. He and his wife Jeanie were with us in Quantico. Chris and I spent the first half our combat tours, as combat engineer officers with the 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd MARDIV. He’s a New Englander, and we’re looking forward to catching up the half century since we were last together.

Then there’re the Marine officers who won’t be present at this reunion. One in particular, Marcus Fiebelkorn. He and his wife and infant were with us in Quantico too. Marcus was KIA a month after he arrived in-country. To this day I wonder what happened to his family….

And our class has its’ noteworthy alums: General Pete Pace, the 16th, but first USMC Chairman, of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George Bush (2005-2007); and Colonel James Buchli, astronaut (1979), and now member of the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Some of you reading this will recall my tale of Jim’s three ‘life objectives’ shared at TBS: Go to Vietnam & come back a hero – which he did; become an astronaut and fly to the moon – which he came close to doing with several shuttle flights into space; and become Commandant of the USMC. Hey, two out of three is a worthy performance!

***

Onto the SECO Conference in Atlanta, GA!

Other than the annual RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in Elkhart, IN., last month, this trip to SECO 2022 will be my first participation in a manufactured housing-related event since the Final Networking Roundtable during mid-August 2021. Why? Because when you’re retired, and no longer have a business enterprise ‘paying your way’, one becomes very selective as to where one invests his/her retirement income. So, SECO ‘Here I come!’

Hope to see many blog floggers (readers) at this seminal event. This is the 11th year it’s been hosted in Atlanta. If you attend, look me up poolside on 5 October. I’ll be there with Lou Vela and other ‘old timers’, sharing tales (all true) from years and decades past in the ‘mobile home’ world. EXAMPLES: How many of you know of the Chicago mob’s past involvement (& why) in mobile home parks back in the late 1970s. Or the convicted murderer of single women (for their money), who did his nefarious work while his wife managed manufactured home communities in the Midwest. And the one time multi-community owner, circa late 1970s, who became a mass murderer before committing suicide over a business deal gone bad. And there’s more….

For more information about the SECO Conference program, google it – and then register.

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One More Reason You Should Be Reading MHInsider Magazine

As I was penning the previous paragraph, the thought occurred to me: I wonder how many blog floggers (readers) also read MHInsider magazine. Hopefully, many of you. But here’s the additional reason why you should. My ‘marching orders’, so to speak, as Allen Legacy columnist, is to share a wide variety of true stories, from both manufactured housing and land lease community camps, that have historic and contemporary importance and application. In essence, I’m relating personal and corporate adventures and experiences that have occurred since the late 1970s. Nowhere else will you ever find this sort of interesting information. EXAMPLES: In single section ‘mobile homes’ why were entry doors always on the curb side of the home (there’s a hint within that question). Today we think of ROC USA, but there was a pre-REIT firm by the name of ROC Properties. Know the firm that ROC abbreviation represented? Who coined the much-used term ‘community owner/operator’? No, it wasn’t me. And finally, for now, what Florida-based, now retired, fee manager of land lease communities introduced the concept of ‘good resident relations’ to manufactured housing during the early 1980s? See what I mean? All this comes out in MHInisder magazine!

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

September 22, 2022

What You Need to Know for This Week

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:38 am

Blog Posting # 707. Copyright 23 September 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!
EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, & textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America!
To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit educatemhc.com

What You Need to Know for This Week

From a faithful blog reader: “So sad to hear about John Boll and Steve Waite. I knew Steve and learned early on about John’s legacy. And your first paragraph about overvalued land lease communities is simply ‘the same story, new decade’! Wall Street guys throw their money into the manufactured housing industry and get burned – every time! I well remember how many independent (street) MHRetailers sold their businesses, circa 2007. The ones who took stock got suckered and lost big time! Those who took cash won big time! And some were able to buy back their former business at a steep discount!” The MH industry simply ‘spins’ the wheel’ every 25+/- years! “(Edited. GFA)

Clear proof of these sorry phenomena? Year 2022 – 1998 (our last ‘big year’ for new MH shipments) = 24 years; and, 1998 – 25 years = 1973 (When 579,940 new ‘mobile homes’ were shipped nationwide!). These production statistics quoted from SWAN SONG, ‘History of land Lease Community Real Estate Asset Class (1970 to present day) & Official Record of Manufactured Housing Shipments (1955 to present day)’, George Allen. Book available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com

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According to MULTIFAMILY EXECUTIVE magazine for September 2022, “The average U.S. asking (conventional apartment unit) rent in July is $1,717.00, up $10.00 from the previous month.” So, what does that mean for rental homesites in land lease communities on average across the U.S.? Simply divide the $1,717 figure by ‘3’ to calculate $572. Estimated rental homesite rate. But remember, rental housing market rates are all local; ranging from below $200/month in rural south locations and up to $1,500/month is select high rent areas, e.g. Newport Beach, California and Lewes, Delaware, for starters – where land lease communities are concerned.

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I’m oft asked about heretofore (‘before this time’) standout personalities in the manufactured housing business, among land lease community owners/operators, and related fields of endeavor. Have two for you this week.

Remember Chrissy Jackson, ACM? Well, according to my research, she is happily retired in St. Petersburg, FL., and part of the time enjoys being a ‘discussion colleague’ for the Academy of Senior Professionals at private Eckerd College in that city.

Many of us knew and enjoyed being with Mary Frances de la Pava, founder and owner of the Jefferson Group in Arlington, VA. She marketed land lease communities throughout the east. Now retired, she spends her time with her daughter Carla’s family.

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Last chance to register and participate! As many of you know, Carolyn and I will be attending ‘the first and only reunion’ of USMC officers I trained with during late 1967 and early 1968. We’re convening in Quantico, VA., next week for 3 ½ days. Expecting to renew friendships with 50 fellow officers from nearly 60 years ago.

And then I’ll be flying down to Atlanta to participate in the 11th annual SECO Conference for land lease community owners/operators from throughout the U.S.. This is the largest annual gathering of land lease community owners/operators – for property management education, viewing new HUD-Code manufactured homes, and best interpersonal networking available anywhere in our industry and realty asset class! Hope to see you there!

***

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

September 16, 2022

A Letter & Death Announcements….

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 8:11 am

Blog Posting # 706. Copyright 16 September 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter. Education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com

A Letter & Death Announcements….

“Thanks for the good blog, George! For the first time, I’m seeing overvaluing of land lease communities causing operational issues (e.g. not enough $ to cover debt & operational expenses). And those not able to operate profitable communities are marketing them in hopes of finding someone to pay their investment back and more. Surely one must be a savvy property manager these days to succeed in this generally overheated market! (Edited. GFA)
***

The late Steve Waite of Fayetteville, TN., was better and more widely known than I realized when I first learned of his 26 August 2022 passing. Steve was 67 years of age at the time, and at this writing, no obituary has been published. But the memories and positive recollections have been arriving here almost daily.

Rick Rand, president of Great Value Homes in WI recalls: “I first met Steve sometime in the early 1990s. He was a loan officer with, I believe, Goldome Financial. We met again when Steve joined ROC/Chateau Communities, and operated a regional portfolio of land lease communities for them. Steve was a real gentleman and very nice guy. He was kind, soft spoken and always had a smile. We last talked at an MH Congress. Told me he was enjoying his family and life back home on his farm in TN.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

And this from Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties in GA. “Steve knew so much about the manufactured housing industry, particularly community development and management, from his days working with Jim Clayton. Yet he was so soft spoken, humble, and willing to help any other community owner.”

Lou Vela in FL. “Still remember when I gave him a $400,000 commission pursuant to the selling of Gary McDaniel’s land lease communities.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

And finally, Kurt D. Kelley of Mobile Insurance in TX. “Steve was a gentleman, trustworthy, hard-working and a good example for all those around him. Rest in Peace Steve Waite! The world was a better place because you were in it.”

***

While I didn’t know John Boll or MI well, I was still surprised to learn of his 24 August passing. What follows here is quoted from a screen shot, penned by James R. Hagerty, and forwarded to me by Matt Follett in CA. “One of (John Boll’s) goals was to escape the ‘trailer trash’ stigma (with new) developments that were comfortable and stylish. The name he chose for his company: Chateau Estates. (These were) five star communities (where) residents weren’t allowed to let weeds grow or to perch old cars on cinder blocks. He provided clubhouses, swimming pools, and sometimes fitness centers. Through organic growth, acquisitions and mergers, the company, renamed Chateau Communities, Inc., (now a REIT) spread to more than 200 locations in 36 states in the early 2000s. In 2003 he sold Chateau to Hometown America, LLC…for about $1 billion, plus $1.2 billion in assumed debt and preferred stock.” And active philanthropist, he shuttled between homes in Key largo, FL; Grosse Pointe Shores, MI., and Beaver Creek, CO. He was 93 years of age when he died.

***

Chalk this up to nostalgia if you must. But yesterday, 15 September 2022, I attended an OPEN HOUSE hosted by General Supply here in Indianapolis, IN. Tom Todd, owner and CEO was host. Besides really good food and drink, the fun and games throughout the early afternoon, was equaled only by opportunities to network and interact among manufactured housing businessmen and women past and present. In my case, I got to catch-up on land lease community news with Rick Roethke of Barrington Investments (in town for a couple days before returning home to southern California); Bill Young, Jr., independent (street) MHRetailer recently relocated to Greencastle, IN; Jimmy Laser and Brian Moench of Anchor Solutions (Helical Screw Pile Foundations); and Don Geddert, local manufactured housing icon. Oh, there were others, but no one you’d know. And a little surprising, but certainly welcome, was the fact that well more than 100 premium gifts were raffled off during the event.

Why tell you all this? Events such as this occur throughout the U.S. on a regular basis – we just don’t hear about them very often. Few states have meaningful newsletters anymore, and on the national scene, no monthly publications at all. So this weekly blog posting has been my way of encouraging you to attend the 11th annual SECO Conference at Stone Mountain, GA., @ 13-16 October 2022. For more information, just google SECO. I plan to be present for a couple days, and hope to see you poolside in person, at the Old Timers’ Panel, one afternoon. Are there any other industry events you should patronize during the month of October? Sure. But you’ll have to seek them out, as they express no interest in anything I do in your behalf.

***

More details next week, maybe. But I may have lucked onto an engineering firm that routinely engineers new land lease communities nationwide, and is the duty expert, so to speak, in helical screw pile foundations.

George Allen, CPM, MHM Educatemhc.com

September 8, 2022

I Can’t Tell You How Many Times…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 12:12 pm

Blog Posting # 705. Copyright 9 September 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com
***
We get letters! Nary a week goes by that we don’t receive one or more reactions to blog content, along with ideas on how to solve various manufactured housing industry challenges.
Well, this past week, after we talked – once again – about the extravagant sales prices of land lease communities, along with consequential exorbitant rental homesite rate increases, we received the following heart-tugging letter from a conscientious fee management firm exec.

“I managed a 75 rental homesite community in Indiana for 14 years, taking it from rundown chaos to beautiful, well-managed property. We had people banging on our door wanting to move-in. And we couldn’t rehab manufactured homes fast enough to meet the need.

Well, it sold three months ago for an astronomical price. The new owner claimed to be unable to afford professional property management – so our services were terminated. Now I receive text messages from residents desperate for help – reporting their leases not being honored, drastic rent increases, yards overgrown with weeds, little on-site management; and what there is, having a nasty attitude.

It grieves my heart, but there’s nothing I can do legally, to help these people. They were cared about and nurtured under our management, but now they are being ‘raped & pillaged’, as you described in your blog last week. You and I have been around the manufactured housing industry for several decades. I now see the value of these communities about to plummet, as some folk who can afford to do so, move their homes elsewhere; others will abandon their homes; and those leasing or renting will walk away when their leases expire. Word gets around when a community becomes an undesirable place to live!

It grieves people like me, who have lived and breathed manufactured housing, and have it ‘in our blood’, to see short-lived, opportunistic (new) owners raping our resident base and giving our industry a ‘trashy’, ‘shyster’ type reputation. Many of us have worked hard to change the negative perspective of our industry, only to have our reputation shoved back several notches by those who give little attention to the operation of these properties, and only care about the bottom line.” (Lightly edited.)

And yet another epistle chastises me for “…bringing up the fact buyers are overpaying for our asset class – which in turn, drives up rental rates….” But the writer goes on to say, “I like the idea of pegging site rent to the cost of a three bedroom apartment” in the same local housing market as a land lease community.

And this writer ends his commentary with this salient observation: “I can’t tell you how many times I hear municipalities begging for someone to build affordable housing. Just do not mention manufactured housing or you will lose their attention quickly.” (Also lightly edited. GFA)

Well, some of us – hopefully many of us, will soon be packing our bags and making the trek to Stone Mountain, GA., for the 11th annual SECO Conference. For more information, google SECO. I make few manufactured housing-related business trips anymore, since retiring during August 2021. For me to spend personal funds (I’ve liquidated all our business entities) for travel and lodging, an event had better be pretty good and worthwhile. I feel SECO meets this requirement. Hope to see you there too.

The week before SECO will find Carolyn and I in Woodbridge, VA., attending the first reunion of USMC officers I trained with during late 1967 & early 1968. It will be a bittersweet experience. Many of the young lieutenants I trained with that year wound up being Killed in Action in Vietnam. While I’ll be happy to renew old friendships, after 55 years, we’re already reminiscing about friends we lost back then but, to date, have not had an opportunity to honor. Sure, their names are engraved on The Wall in Washington, DC., and many of us have made ‘rubbings’ thereof, but not said a proper ‘Good-bye’ to them or the few spouses and children they left behind, e.g. Marcus Fiebelkorn and his wife and now grown child. In my case I’ll see John Dietz, who I entered the USMC officer program with in 1964; Chris Ray who was a fellow platoon commander – but not Dick Brooks, a USNA grad, who was a platoon commander in the same company, but has since died. One of our group is an astronaut who’s been inducted into the Astronaut Hall of Fame. Yes, I’m looking forward to the event, but wary of emotional consequences.

If you’re going to be in Indianapolis on the 15th of September, plan to swing by Capitol Supply between 11Am & 3PM to participate in their Open House. Anyone ask you why you’re there, tell them ‘George sent me!’ I will be there too. GFA

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

September 3, 2022

Perspective

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 6:22 am

Blog Posting # 704. Copyright 2 September 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!
EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America!
To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com
***
As often happens here at EducateMHC, we received a pithy and thought-provoking paragraph penned by a veteran multi-land lease community owner who’s as frustrated with the predatory purchasing and operation of this unique income-producing property type as we are. This time around however, his/her (You ‘woke’ folk out there like that? I don’t) comments stimulated some deep thinking on property prosperity-to-failure cycles that have occurred since the mid-1970s when I got into this business. First comes the pithy paragraph, then an historic timeline that should interest every one of you.

“Who me?”, “Screw you!”, and “A wing and a prayer!” are colliding throughout the land lease community asset class these days! One can argue, ‘sellers’ shouldn’t be criticized for selling their land lease community at dumb-high prices, e.g. ‘If someone wants to buy your 10 year old Timex for $1,000, sell it with ‘buyer-beware’ innocence.’ The fallacy here, within our property type, means having to justify ultra-high prices by firing existing employees (Who made the property what it is) and raise rents 50-100 percent. On the other side of the equation are investors who think homeowners/lessees have no choice but to pay higher rents. Wrong. They move out, leaving community owners with abandoned homes, vacant rental homesites, increased ‘common area maintenance’ costs, density that prohibits move-in of new homes, and frankly, prospective homebuyers/site lessees reluctant to move into the community because of the ‘rape & pillage’ attitude of the property owner. Meanwhile, state regulators, legislators, and lenders are now questioning the efficacy of ‘affordable housing’ in land lease communities! (lightly edited. GFA)

Please reread that paragraph before proceeding. Why? You’re about to learn how history repeats itself in the manufactured housing industry and among land lease communities.

My history in this ‘double dual industry’*1 goes back to 1978, two years after the infamous HUD-Code was implemented, in effect, driving annual new ‘mobile home’ production from a record high of 579,940 units down to 274,901+/-*2 in 1978! The fallout? Thousands of newly developed ‘mobile home parks’, nationwide, built to handle the 500,000 new homes per year volume – went begging, for move-ins that never materialized.

Well, during the late 1970s, investment real estate syndicators arrived on the (then) mobile home community scene. Syndicators oft sold ‘tax loss’ positions to wealthy investors who’d use them to offset high incomes from professions, etc., (e.g. doctors, lawyers, etc.). All this came to an end in 1985-6 when the federal income tax laws changed, pretty much outlawing use of tax losses in underperforming properties. Many syndicators stopped their deal-making at that point, and some early portfolio owners/operators went out of business, e.g. Ellenburg Capital.

Another casualty of this tax law change was the widespread failure of S&Ls (savings & loan associations) across the U.S. In 1989 the RTC (Resolution Trust Corporation), a federal agency, launched – to sell off bad loans and investment realty accumulated by the S&Ls. For a while there were many low-priced acquisition opportunities for interested investors. And, for a while, the (now) manufactured home community property type rebounded as an opportunistic investment.

Then, in 1994-5, four portfolio owners/operators, of this property type, went public as real estate investment trusts (‘REITs’); those being ELS, Inc., (formerly MHC, Inc.), Chateau Communities (merged with ROC in 1997, acquired CWS in 2001 & Hometown America in 2003), Sun Communities, and UMH Properties. There have been two other REITs: the original ARC in 2004 & 2005; followed, from 1998 thru 2008, by American Land Lease, until it was acquired by Green Courte Partners. And today, there’re two additional REITs: Flagship Communities (Formerly SSK Communities, and traded on the Canadian stock exchange) and MHPC, Inc. (Manufactured Housing Properties, Inc.)

Now, since the turn of the century, we’ve seen continued consolidation of the realty asset class (a.k.a. land lease community portfolio count now at 500 sole proprietors, corporations, REITs, ROCs, and more), via equity deals (Think Green Courte Partners), hedge funds (from outside the manufactured housing industry) – too numerous to name here. But therein lies the perennial question: ‘When, and among whom, will the next great shakeout occur?’ Why is a ‘shakeout’ almost inevitable?

During the past decade, first among larger institutional investment grade land lease communities, but now – it seems – among all-sized such properties, traditional valuation of investment real estate has been ‘thrown out the window’ and exorbitant prices are being paid, i.e. 10% ‘average’ cap rate deals now sell for 7 & 8%; and top grade properties, previously sold at 7 or 8% now go for 5% or less income capitalization rates. But that’s only half the story.

Once the transaction deal has been consummated or ‘closed’; in order to cover very high mortgage payments on the newly acquired land lease community, operating expenses are trimmed, and rental homesite rates are increased far greater than CPI (Consumer Price Index), and new fees introduced (e.g. water and sewer fees, etc.). Decades ago, discouraged homeowners/site lessees could relocate their manufactured homes across town at reasonable moving fees. Not today. Homes, especially multisection homes, are far too large to move, and given generally high occupancy elsewhere, there’s nowhere to go. So, discontent and frustration reign. That’s why we see efforts ‘everywhere’ it seems, to introduce and pass various forms of landlord-tenant legislation.

So, what’s next? Time will tell. But we’ve kinda been here before. On one hand manufactured housing is ballyhooed as being our nation’s answer to ‘affordable housing’; but at the same time, a relatively few predatory income-producing property owners sour the barrel for everyone.

What do I see? Perhaps state and national advocates for manufactured housing will implement some of my past advice in this arena, i.e.

• Voluntarily peg rental homesite rates in sync with other forms of multifamily rentals in the same local housing market. How’s that done? Simple. Via market survey, ascertain the average 3BR2B rent rate among conventional apartment communities (not subsidized); then divide by ‘3’ for a suggested base rental homesite rate rate among land lease communities, e.g. $1,200/month for apartment rent, then $400/month for rental homesites.

• Voluntarily implement long term rental homesite leases that extend beyond the mortgage term of a homeowner/site lessee’s residence.

• Voluntarily promote professional property management training and certification among on-site personnel, along with implementation of positive resident relations measures.

And Yes, there’s even more that can be, should be done, to improve today’s questionable, sometimes discouraging environments among land lease communities nationwide. What ideas and suggestions do you have? Please let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

Don’t you find it strange that no one else, anywhere, in the manufactured housing industry seeks your input on such critical matters as this? Well, here’re two suggestions to make that happen.

First off. If you haven’t already registered to do so, plan now to be present at the 11th annual SECO Conference in Atlanta, GA., on 3-5 October 2020. I’ll be there; and I believe, timely matters such as what’s covered in this blog posting, will be addressed in panel discussions. Google SECO for more information.

And those of you who’re MHI/NCC devotees, particularly the latter, do you find it strange that my services have never been retained, as an industry/asset class resource, to lead a discussion of this matter at any of their meetings? What is everyone afraid of?

End Notes:




1. ‘double dual industry’. A term I coined decades ago to describe how our overall ‘industry’ is comprised of four parts: housing manufacturers and independent (street) MHRetailers; and, land lease community owners/operators and property management operations (to now include on-site home sales and seller-financing)

2. These MH production statistics are quoted from the only deeply-resourced and published history of said information (from 1955 to present day): SWAN SONG, George Allen, PMN Publishing, 2017, updated 2018. The (+/-) designation cautions readers that there are parallel presentations of this key data; that provided by IBTS, HUD, MHARR, & EducateMHC, and that adjusted by MHI.

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

August 25, 2022

Attending SECO 2022?

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:00 pm

Blog Posting # 703. Copyright 26 August 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com
***
SECO 2022. Have you registered to participate this year? The dates are 3-5 October 2022, in Atlanta, GA. Google SECO for more information. When you see me there, ask for a FREE 3”X5” plastic wallet card containing ‘Four Steps to Selling & Financing New Homes Within Land Lease Communities’, & the ‘Six Right Ps for Marketing New Homes Within LLCommunities’.


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MH FACTOURY Summit 2022. Too late, you missed it! This was the annual two day program of ‘New home sales within land lease communities’ seminars and guided tours of five manufactured home plants in northern Indiana. Debuting in 2016, the IMHA/RVIC of Indiana hosts this annual event at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. It’s the only such program in the U.S. today, mating the HOW TOs of knowing what homes to buy, how to buy and finance them, and how to market and sell them to prospective homebuyers/site lessees. For more information, phone (317) 247-6258. Frankly, every state should host a program like this!

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Raw land for development ‘for sale’. While at the Hall of Fame induction banquet on 15th of August, I renewed my acquaintance with Don Gedert, long time (since 1967) land lease community developer, owner, and independent (street) MHRetailer in western Indiana. He shared the following ditty on the verso side of his business card:
• “I am fully aware my youth has been spent, my ‘get up & go’ has ‘got up & went’.
• But I really don’t mind when I think, with a grin, of all the places my ‘get up’ has been.
• When I was young, it was wine, women & song; now it’s beer, Medicare & ‘what else can go wrong’?”
Don owns five parcels of raw land ready for development, near Cloverdale, IN., he wants to sell. For more information contact Sam Karozos via (317) 371-0128.

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‘GIVE & GET’. Ever heard of it? Well, if ever tapped to be a board member of a charitable organization you will. It’s a policy most boards consider and oft make part of their bylaws. Goes like this: ‘…Give & Get refers to how much $ board members are expected to ‘give’ as a part of their service on the board; the ‘get’ part refers to how much $ they’re expected to help raise!’ Now you know.

***
Regular readers of this weekly blog posting know I’m spending most of 2022, and first half of 2023, transcribing more than 400 letters I sent home to Carolyn from Vietnam, back in 1968 & 69. I recently shared a paragraph describing little known but critical actions Marines take at night, when manning defensive positions around their base camp, out in enemy territory. Well, here’s a similar paragraph, this time describing how Marines ‘gear up’ when moving from secure environs into unknown territory.

“Ever wonder what I carry when I gear-up for possible combat? I’ll give you a quick rundown. My helmet, liner and camouflage cover together, have a bottle of insect repellant, an ammo charging guide, and Chap stick attached to it with a rubber strap. My flak jacket has a K-Bar (12” fighting knife), three full ammo mags (magazines), with gas mask and case attached to it. Then my web belt has six full ammo mags, a first aid pack, lensatic compass, two full canteens, rifle cleaning gear, bayonet, 25 cal. automatic backup pistol, along with three fragmentation hand grenades, a tear gas grenade, an area map, platoon commander’s notebook, two more full ammo mags, personal ID, a photo of you and Susie, two small tins of peanut butter (for quick energy), and two full bandoleers of ammunition ( 280 rounds), and my rifle with one magazine in the well. Ammunition wise, all this comes to at least 496 rounds of M-16 ammo and 100 rounds of pistol ammo. Would you believe, I have a reputation for traveling ‘light’? I do, as I carry fewer frag grenades than anyone else, and a little less ammo. All told, I figure I weigh about 210 pounds when I go out ‘loaded for bear’. And then there’s my large field pack….”

Of course I have one dog tag laced onto one boot, and a second tag around my neck on a chain. Also on that chain is a P38 (a.k.a. John Wayne can opener), the small gold signet ring you gave me shortly after we met, and a steel-jacketed 7.6mm rifle round salvaged after a firefight.

***

Looking for a new book to read, by someone in the manufactured housing industry? Well, that might well be Rick Jebb’s Mexican Sunset memoir. Here goes….

Anyone who’s lived a life of adventures, successes or historical note should pen their memoirs (‘short stories’); better yet, their autobiography (i.e. collection of memoirs) for posterity, family, friends, and interested parties.

As the late writer William Zinsser reminds us, “one…of the deepest impulses is to leave a record of what we did and what we thought and felt on our journey.” (P. 74 in the Writer Who Stayed)
Well, up to a point, that’s what commercial real estate broker Rick Jebb does in his collection of memoirs, subtitled, ‘The Vision Quest of a Modern Day Explorer’. Therein, Rick describes his early life in Florida and then Illinois, onto his adventures as a teenage canoeist and student at colleges in Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois.

“In the wilderness, my life was more than just childhood bliss. It had been the place where trial and challenge required me to make sacrifices and face my pain.” P.9 (&) “I recalled so many splendid nights I had slept beneath the stars, two hundred campfires I had known in the last eight years.” P. 217. Rick’s personal and home life was far from being settled; he faced father abandonment at an early age, relocation from FL to IL, untimely death of his stepfather, and dealt with a learning disability only by incentivizing himself to focus on mattes at hand.

During his first 20 or so years, author Jebb struggled with”…the fear of not living up to the standards of my family and my community….” (&) “…picking a path in life. That was the real challenge. There were so many options, and the more I saw, the more I learned, the range of possibilities kept expanding.” P.157. Fortunately, Rick had friends along the way, access to money, and a spirit of adventure.

Describing life experiences in terms of education, family, drugs, girls, booze, and travel, consumes the bulk of this narrative. In latter pages however, Rick focuses on his inner journey, subconscious, periods of euphoria, and indecision. “…my innocence had been lost beyond my understanding of any prior experience. Now, an awareness resided within me of some deeper truth that tainted every geography, each time and place where I had experienced aspects of the world for the first time, revealing a collision of dimishment’s (sic) when the remaining sweetness of my childhood seemed to have been scrubbed off me, along with my skin. This feeling only added to my exaggerated discomfort.” P.269.

The good news, in this reviewer’s opinion, is how Rick concludes this collection of teenage and young adult memoirs, believing his variegated life experiences were finally “…leading me towards God’s will and away from mine….” P.277.

On a personal note, I disagree with Rick Jebb’s characterization of the Viet Nam war as one “…we had never won.” P.244. As a combat veteran of that conflict, I agree with the prevailing view of peers who served there and then, that ‘We were winning when I/we left!’ It was only the politicians in Washington, D.C. who lost this war.

Mexican Sunset is available from Amazon.com

George Allen
EducateMHC

August 18, 2022

Shut Up! Once and for all

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 12:41 pm

Blog Posting # 702. Copyright 19 August 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com

***

SHUT UP! Yep; that’s the sad conclusion to the past six months or so of squabbling about, whether or not, to launch a new national advocacy entity focused on all post-production sectors of the HUD-Code manufactured housing industry! We’ve certainly ‘heard enough’ about this need (some real, others less so) for improved representation and advocacy before legislators and regulators in Washington, DC.  Said proposal emanating from an online MH newsletter, MHARR, and other interested parties. Well, since NO ONE was willing to step forward to press this issue, I publicly set a deadline of 15 August 2022 (Date of this year’s RV/MH Hall of Fame induction banquet in Elkhart, IN.) for these parties to PUT UP! or SHUT UP! After all, what better time and place to come together, in behalf of the entire MH industry, than when 500 businessmen and women (mostly corporate leaders) are gathered in the sole legacy location in the U.S. with room to handle several large meeting events simultaneously? But ‘it’ didn’t happen, not even a whisper of an attempt to do so. Hence, to those parties: ‘SHUT UP!’ Shut up, once & for all, til ready to bring organizing structure and effort to this perennial need!

***

Speaking of this year’s RV/MH Hall of Fame ‘Class of 2022’, one member in particular, Eugene Landy, founder (1968) and chairman of the board at UMH Properties, delivered the following heartfelt message and challenge to the manufactured housing industry.  

“How should I respond to this distinguished honor in such an important industry? I think the appropriate way to respond, is to say ‘I could do more!’ Now, to my wonderful team of people who actually do all the work today, they’re hearing they too have to do more – as we need more housing, and it is a critical matter.”

“The affordable housing crisis is real. The shortage of workforce housing is interfering with our national economy. The size of it is overwhelming, and our industry cannot solve it alone, but we can certainly participate! And the goal we should set, as an industry, is to build 500 new land lease communities a year with 200 homes apiece, or 100,000 additional homes in all! That means, as an industry, we must produce 200,000 homes a year and I think it can be done. It’s not going to be easy, but I believe manufacturers can get the material and manpower, and the demand is certainly there.”

“At UMH Properties, we have waiting lists everywhere, and we want to build more housing! That’s our ambition, that’s our goal, but it’s not the easiest task to accomplish. It’d be easy now, with waiting lists and good financial performance, to rest on our laurels, but we want to build our little company (Well, it’s not so little anymore, with 500 employees and 25,000 rental homesites nationwide), but we do want to build two or three thousand new sites per year. Today, that’s $100,000 to build a rental homesite, and $100,000 to put a new manufactured home on it. That’s millions of dollars per year we have to raise, but it’s something that has to be done!”

“You can’t have a society with no housing. You can’t have a society where employers can’t hire people. So this is something we all must work hard to do, and we’re doing it!”

“What a wonderful team we have at UMH Properties. Just today we toured local land lease communities we acquired five, ten, 20 years ago. When we buy a community, we make it a better community! And we try to be fair with everyone. ‘Good faith and fair dealing’ is our corporate motto; and we practice this with our customers, suppliers, and residents.”

“What a strange company we are, as we don’t try to charge the highest rent possible. Rather, we try to charge rent that’s lower than everybody else, and at the same time, produce a better product (home and community). And you want to know something? If you do that, you are going to be a tremendous business success! So, we’re working very hard now to build new communities, and at my age, it’s not easy – but it’s something we really have to do! So, the proper response to being honored, as an RV/MH Hall of Fame inductee, is to do more! Thank You for this honor!” (Lightly edited. GFA)

***

  Have you heard? Candace Holcomb, formerly with Newport Pacific Capital (35 Years) is now the VP of Operations, in the MH division, or the Watt Company in southern California.

***

Speaking of southern California, I recently received an email message from a longtime friend in our business, informing me that, at the Lido Peninsula land lease community (26 homes/acre) in Newport Beach, CA., a new 1400 sq. ft. HUD-Code home (small footprint) sold for $1,275,000, with monthly rent at $5,747 on a CPI lease that ends in 2026.

***

By now you’ve heard of the impending changes to DOE (Department of Energy) regs. But have you heard how, if and when implemented on 18 May 2023, they’ll likely add $7,000 to the price of every new HUD-Code manufactured home? We all have a ‘dog in this fight’, so contact the two national advocacy organizations, MHI & MHARR, for more information.

August 10, 2022

New About MH Personalities Past & Present

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 9:14 am

Blog Posting # 701. Copyright 12 August 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America! To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815 and or visit www.educatemhc.com

Remember Troy & Cheryl Brost, developers and past owners of Songbrook land lease community in Eugene, OR? Well, they sold that property several years ago and ‘retired’ to Cheryl’s native Hawaii. Their two children are in college now, and Cheryl – for a few years, has been competing in the Cross Fit World Games. Well, just recently she finished high enough in the standings to be rated the 4th fittest 50-54 year old female in the entire world! (You’ve likely seen her on the televised games but had no idea she was ‘one of our own’.) Now for some backstory. A decade ago, the Brosts hosted a one day Manufactured Housing Manager class on-site at Songbrook; hence they’re MHMs. And their popular business cards featured, on the verso side, a photograph of the landscape between parallel back rows of HUD-Code manufactured homes, featuring walking paths with water features and park benches for use by community residents. Congratulations on your outstanding achievement Cheryl! GFA

And another manufactured housing pro has a new book available for purchase from Amazon.com Rick Jebb, perennial marketer of land lease communities in Bloomington, IL., has authored Mexican Sunset, subtitled: ‘The Vision Quest of a Modern Day Explorer’. Haven’t read it yet – though I have it in my possession – but will publish a ‘review’ here during weeks to come. This from the book’s back cover: “Seriously writing since 2011, Rick has sought a voice to speak hopefulness and adaptation into the midst of uncertain times. His writing includes poetry, essay and existential spiritual memoir focused on facing the challenges of life’s transitions and adaptations.” Rick joins Ted Boers (Think DATACOMP & MHVillage), Rick Robinson (Think manufacturedhomes.com), and Charles Irion (male adventure & mystery writer), among others from the manufactured housing industry, who’ve authored non-fiction and fiction books in various sub-genres. Know of other such books? Let me know via gfa7156@aol.com

Do you know the new home office address for Newport Pacific Capital Company? It’s 1201 Dove St., Ste. # 300, Newport Beach, CA. 92660. That’s where you’ll find Mike Sullivan, CPM, and Maria Horton, MHM.

Now, call this a ‘flashback’ if you will. But since April, I’ve been transcribing (from handwritten to typed) the first fifty of more than 400 letters I mailed home to Carolyn, in 1968 & 69, from the Republic of Vietnam. It’s been quite an experience (again), like it was then – refreshing old memories long suppressed (Haven’t been in combat yet, so they’re manageable recollections), and experiencing new emotions – mostly in tears, as I read how much of our daughter Susan’s early years (She was 16 months old when I left) I missed, but am now experiencing them in person via our youngest great granddaughter Emerson, who’s 14 months old, and with us two days each week. Emerson is Susan’s youngest grandchild. I penned the preceding to introduce one of the more interesting paragraphs I’ve transcribed to date; penned during early June 1968:

“When we bed down for the night up here, we take individual precautions, like placing our flak jacket and helmet between ourselves and the barbed wire to our front – to stop rifle rounds when they come. And we keep our K-Bar (12” jungle knife) very close at hand (i.e. stuck in the ground next to where our hand normally lies as we sleep), and we have our rifles ‘locked and loaded’ by our side, in such a position that, as we roll onto to our stomach, the weapon falls naturally to our grip. All this is sound preparation, because on occasion we have intrusions along our defensive lines; and, as the ‘watch’ Marine, awake and on guard at the time, fires his two rapid signal shots, and pops a parachute flare, every one at that post, rolls to their stomach, digs our feet in, grabs rifles and K-Bars; and by the time (two seconds) the flare has popped, we’re ‘on line’ and ready to repel a possible assault. All this is very serious business these days, as we know for certain there are several hundred NVA enemy troops surrounding our base here at Landing Zone Stud, just east of Khe Sanh combat base.” (Lightly edited. GFA)

Unlike my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, and our co-authored George & Carolyn collection of memoirs, it’s unlikely these 400+ letters will be published in bound book form. Already, four months of typing (three months of RVN letters) have filled 150 pages of typing paper; so 13 months will likely total more than 600 such pages. No, I’ll be satisfied leaving copies of these letters with our adult children, Susan and Adam, to share with future generations of the Allen and McCarty families. However, if you’d like to purchase a copy of SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, simply visit educatemhc.com

George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

August 9, 2022

700 and Counting…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 7:35 am

Blog Posting # 700. Copyright @ 9 August 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’

EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America. To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815, email gfa7156@aol.com and or visit www.edcatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION:

This is my 700th consecutive blog posting via GFA Management dba PMN Publishing, now via EducateMHC. That’s 14 years of empirical and op/ed writing for the manufactured housing industry and land lease communities nationwide.

Have you purchased your ticket for the 50th anniversary RV/MH Hall of Fame Induction Banquet occurring on 15 August 2022? If not, do so soon via (574) 293-2344. In a recent email to industry leaders I shared how this will be a unique opportunity to rub shoulders with notables as Jim Clayton, Spencer Roane, Kevin Clayton, Tim Williams (21st Mortgage), et. al. Also, this is our first opportunity to visit the new huge MH exhibit hall at the Hall of Fame!

Last week we reviewed parts of MHARR’s comprehensive White Paper having to do with the ‘Exploitation of Federal Housing Finance & Mortgage Funding Assistance Programs & Potential Solutions’ thereto. Won’t rehash the commentary here but suffice it to say, this was the latest volley in the ‘PUT UP or SHUT UP’ challenge relative to forming a new national advocacy entity for post-production sectors of the manufactured housing industry. Now we wait to see if MHARR, an online MH newsletter, and like-minded individuals, take steps, on or before 15 August 2022, to bring this about. After all, 600+/- industry folk will be on hand in Elkhart for the just described festivities on the 15th.  And if you’d like a personal copy of the White Paper, contact MHARR via (202) 783-4075.

By the way, we did receive responses and reactions to the aforementioned commentary on MHARR’s White Paper. “Regarding two items. First, zoning, where we’ve earned what we have received. Zoning is a local matter and changing the mindset of locals is a prejudice thing. Changing that is coming slowly and the need for affordable homes is making MH a more acceptable option. Top down edicts from feds and states don’t work well. Education, like MHI is doing, is a slow but sure way to make this (change) happen. And, the number of units produced per year is a production thing. Demand is high, and it is very difficult to match the previous numbers, given current capacity and difficulty increasing plants and finding workers. Homes today can’t be banged out like in the past when the cheapo ugly 12 wides were knocked out by the hundred thousands. What we need today is more cooperation, not another voice, and certainly less of the competition between MHI & MHARR.” (lightly edited. GFA)

A couple weeks ago, in an earlier blog posting, we told you how Clayton Homes was reducing unit prices on some models of their HUD-Code manufactured homes. Well, we’ve just received notice that Fleetwood Homes and ScotBilt are doing likewise – in the latter case, ranging in price from $1055 to $2225 per home, effective 1 August 2022.  Now that’s GOOD NEWS!

“Ginnie Mae has now issued a Request for Input (‘RFI’) seeking comments from interested parties (No reason that couldn’t be you!) with respect to the revitalization of the Title I program, and changes to ‘issuer eligibility requirement’ (i.e. their nefarious 10-10 criteria.” (Lightly edited. GFA) Comment deadline is 26 September 2022. This quoted from MHARR correspondence dated 1 August 2022.

Have you read the URBAN Institute’s (July 2022) research report titled, ‘The Role of Manufactured Housing In Increasing the Supply of Affordable Housing.’? You should. It’s chock full of solid statistics relative to manufactured housing. And if you do obtain a copy, know every time they mention ‘community’, they’re talking about land lease communities. Space limits what I can review here, but a few gems:

  • US housing supply shortage has five causes: local & state zoning restrictions, stringent building codes,, chronic labor shortages, high costs of building materials, and financing difficulties for affordable options, such as manufactured homes, ADUs, etc.
  • “…smaller cities, towns, and rural areas have experienced rapid home price increases and dwindling inventory levels because of out-migration from large cities.” P.3 IMHO, think crime waves especially in blue cities and states.
  • “…manufactured home shipments as a share of new single-family production remains low. This share ranged from 15 percent to 27 percent between 1977 and 1995, but has averaged only about 9 percent in the past decade.” P.4
  • Did you know? The Big 3-C HUD-Code manufacturers command 78.3 percent of the new housing market share nationally?  47.3% @ Clayton Homes; 17% @ Skyline/Champion; and 14% @ Cavco Industries. P.5.
  • Here’s one place I believe the author of this report got it wrong, by not spotting a now decade old trend: “Sometimes, communities will buy homes directly from manufacturers and sell to borrowers for habitation in that community.” P.13 Last I checked, close to 40 percent of all new HUD-Code homes have been going directly into land lease communities as leased or sold homes, with property owner often providing the home-only financing.

There’s much more to this report; most of it good and helpful, though with a few questionable observations like the one just cited.

FYI – or someone you know. “The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline launched on 16 July, enabling callers to dial three digits to reach a trained crisis counselor. 988 is easier to remember than the 10 digit-number, 1-800-273-8255 – and the Federal Communications Commission predicts calls to the hotline will double in the year following (this) 988 transition.” Quoted from Journalists Resource.

That’s all for this week. Remember; you can always let me know your reactions to what I pen here. Also send me information you’d like shared among our peers in the business. Do this via gfa7156@aol.com

George Allen, CPM, MHM

EducateMHC

P.S.

If you don’t already have a copy of my autobiography, From SmittyAlpha6 to MHMaven, visit educatemhc.com to purchase one. It’s been a year this month since it was released at the final Networking Roundtable in Nashville, TN., and to date, more than 200 copies are in the hands of friends and associates throughout the manufactured housing industry and land lease communities.

August 3, 2022

Read MHARR report

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 1:17 pm

Blog Posting # 699. Copyright @ 27 July 2022. EducateMHC

Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing! EducateMHC is the online national advocate, realty asset class historian, trend spotter, education resource, textbook supplier for land lease communities throughout North America!To input this blog and or connect with EducateMHC, telephone (317) 881-3815,email gfa7156@aol.com and or visit www.educatemhc.com

INTRODUCTION: What follows is a ramble (or as they say in Australia, a ‘walkabout’) beginning with the months long ‘PUT UP or SHUT UP’ challenge per establishment of a national post-production trade advocate; then transitions into a loose review of the recently released (i.e. 7/26/2022) MHARR White Paper which touches on the same subject. And if we’re ‘lucky’, the ramble will end with a succinct statement as to why production and sale of new HUD-Code manufactured homes continues to lag at 300,000 & 500,000 levels of 50 and 24 years ago.

OK, here goes. The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (‘MHARR’) recently released a 16 pages White Paper titled, ‘The Exploitation of Federal Housing Finance & Mortgage Funding Assistance Programs and Potential Solutions’, presumably authored by Mark Weiss (his name does not appear anywhere within said document). To obtain a copy, phone MHARR via (202) 783-4075.

After reading the White Paper through, from start to finish, I thought: “This is almost a PUT UP response to the aforementioned PUT UP or SHUT UP challenge. Why ‘almost’? Because the timely topic of birthing a new national post-production trade entity while presented and justified, NO mention is made of meeting to organize and move forward with this idea!

So the industry challenge stands: PUT UP or SHUT UP! on or before 15 August 2022, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN. Which will it wind up being?

Let’s begin with the purpose of this White Paper report. “…to expose and explain the disconnect and disparity between claims (and the exploitation of such claims) on the one hand, and actual results on the other, which continues to deprive manufactured housing and its largely moderate and lower-income consumers of all the benefits that could – and rightly should – be derived from such federal housing, finance and mortgage assistance programs.” P.3 Yes, I know, this is about as clear as mud; but the report does, in the final analysis, expose and explain, from MHARR’s perspective, what’s holding manufactured housing back from success.

In my opinion, the White Paper does not ‘hit its’ stride’ until almost halfway through, on page 6, where the writer identifies Federal Program Implementation Failures. And while he does a yeoman’s job doing so throughout the text, the absence of footnotes and end notes makes it difficult to follow his line of thought, e.g. “…specific integration of federal manufactured housing into all such programs….” What programs?

The author’s summary of “…negative impacts…concerning the U.S. Department of Energy’s (‘DOE’) proposed (and now final) manufactured housing energy standards.” P.7 was particularly informative and thought-provoking. You should make it a point to read this ASAP!

The two most compelling parts of this White Paper, for this reader, were as follows:

DISCRIMINATORY & EXCLUSIONARY STATE AND LOCAL ZONING LAWS, PP.8 & 10

DISCRIMINATORY AND EXCLUSIONARY CONSUMER FINANCE REGULATIONS, PP.9 & 11

It is without exaggeration that I state: Every businessman and woman in manufactured housing, and owning land lease communities, should read those two parts of the White Paper. I’m not commenting on their content, as I far prefer you to read and do so – directly to MHI & MHARR.

My epiphany.*1 During the reading of pages #7 thru 11 it hit me as to ‘why’ our industry and unique income-producing property type, have so darn much difficulty getting local and federal legislators and regulators to ‘play ball’, so to speak, with us. Now, nothing new here, just – for me anyway – an epiphany after working 40+ years in this ‘double dual industry’.*2

So here goes. Everyone, it seems, knows HUD-Code manufactured housing is, by far, the most affordable of all housing types in the U.S. today, priced at half – or less, than average cost of new site-built homes. But, at the same time, we are the only housing producer, to date, that routinely fights installation regulations, to properly and (Gasp!) permanently, attach our product to underlying realty. It’s like we want the cake (market popularity) and eat it too (but with shortcuts). No one knows how many, but a large number of new homes, for example, especially those sited within land lease communities, are installed at ground level with not even a nod to ‘best practice’ procedures, like Frost Free Foundations. No wonder banks don’t want to finance our housing product. And this is just the tip of the ongoing discriminatory, exclusionary state and local zoning laws albatross we bear.*3

Next there’s the confusing and complicated world of consumer finance. This White Paper does an excellent job, in my opinion, spelling out where the skeletons lie, e.g. “…unavailability of market-competitive consumer financing for such homes, as a result of failure and refusal of federal mortgage giants, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, to support manufactured housing personal property loans (comprising nearly 80% of the entire HUD-Code market….”P.9. And there’s this gem again, quoted from a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’) report: “…the ‘top five’ lenders in manufactured housing market made nearly 75% of all chattel loans, and an estimated 50 percent of MH chattel loan applications were denied, while ‘only 7 percent of site-built applications (are) denied”.” Doesn’t anyone else see what is being described here?

Back to my epiphany. As an industry, we continue to ‘cornfuse’ potential lenders who do not fully understand manufactured housing – and how the very same new home, on one hand going onto a scattered building site owned fee simple can qualify for a conventional real estate mortgage. And at the same time, its’ ‘twin’, so to speak, going into a land lease community (a.k.a. manufactured home community) on a rental homesite, is eligible only for a chattel or personal property loan (a.k.a. ‘home only loan’) featuring higher interest rates and shorter loan terms. Solution to this perennial dilemma? Well, at least we’re talking about it here today. What’s your solution? Mine?

As a longtime, but now former, land lease community owner/operator, I’d have been willing, given the opportunity, to finance new HUD-Code home on-site with conventional real estate mortgages (not chattel or personal property loans) if required to do the following:

• Agree to long term rental homesite leases, extending beyond the mortgage term limit.

• Keep my rental homesite rent rate in sync with other forms of multifamily rental communities (e.g. conventional apartments) in the same local housing market. How’s this done? Read end note # 4.

A particularly interesting part of this White Paper had to do with identification of those within and outside our industry, who benefit from Discriminatory & Exclusionary State & Local Zoning Laws, and Discriminatory & Exclusionary Consumer Finance Regulations. Here goes: “…extra-industry beneficiaries (include) on-site homebuilders, the real estate industry, the rental housing industry, and other types of homebuilders, site-built lenders….”; “…intra-industry beneficiaries (include) a small number of vertically-integrated industry-dominant producers…captive finance companies owned by those manufacturers, and large, corporate manufactured housing communities.” P.12 *5 Once again, it’d be so helpful to have these identities footnoted, so as not to continue the confusion that exists about such important matters.

Solutions to our industry’s challenges? This White Paper identifies two:

• “Creation of an independent national post-production manufactured housing Association.”P.14 But no definitive steps (i.e. meeting planning) taken to do so soon.

• “Legal challenges and congressional hearings to establish accountability for implementation of enabling laws.”p.14

This blog posting does not cover the subject White Paper in detail. For example, it does not explore what’s termed, the “Misuse of Public Relations to Make Baseless Claims of Success and to Cover Failures.” P. 7. Just one more reason for you to obtain a copy of the White Paper for perusal and inspiration.

As usual, your reaction to, and opinions regarding, this blog posting are welcome via gfa7156@aol.com And tell you what; if concerned enough about the aforementioned industry matters and desirous to discuss them, I’ll be pleased to meet with you personally, or in a group, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame library on 15 August 2022. Just let me know your wishes ASAP.

End Notes.

1. Epiphany. “a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into reality, or the essential meaning of something.” Random House Webster’s Dictionary.

2. Double Dual Industry. A term I’ve long used to demonstrate how, as an industry and realty asset class, we’re really four types of business models rolled into one: housing manufacturing & marketing/sales – and – land lease community homesite leasing and housing sales/finance.

3. Reference made here to Silas Marner and the albatross hung about his neck in the epic poem: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1797.

4. Use the traditional 1:3 Rule; where land lease community rental homesite rate is roughly one third the monthly rent for a 3BR2B apartment or townhouse, e.g. Apartment rent = $1200/month, divided by 3 = $400/month rate per rental homesite. Note: Important to treat utility charges (e.g. water, sewer, electric) in similar fashion.

5. Vertically-integrated industry-dominant producers? Guessing here, but maybe the Big 3-C firms? And large corporate manufactured housing communities? Guessing again, but maybe some of the largest property portfolio owners/operators? This is why it’d be so helpful to have End Notes or footnotes throughout this White Paper.

***
George Allen, CPM, MHM
EducateMHC

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