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

August 1, 2015

‘Smiling All the Way to the Bank!’ & more…

Filed under: Uncategorized — George Allen @ 5:16 am

COBA7® presents Blog # 359 via Copyright, 2 August 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 national advocacy voice, official ombudsman (press), 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.

COBA7® Motto = ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’, & Goal of its’ print & online media = to ‘Not only inform & opine, but to transform & improve our MHBusiness model!’

INTRODUCTION to blog posting # 359. ‘What a Foursome! Just how really bad the MHRetailer massacre has been! Anyone who’s anybody in the MHBusiness will be in San Diego, 9-11 September, for sure! Announcing plans for the most interesting book in LLLCommunity history! And, keep those Decade ‘names’ a – coming!’ George Allen


75% Reduction in # of MHRetailers Since 1998!

We all knew it was bad, but my guess is few thought it could be this severe. In a recent IBTS census report of independent (street) MHRetailers & ‘company stores’ in the U.S., we learned by year end 1998, when new HUD-Code home shipments peaked at 372,843 units, there were more than 13,000 MHRetailers in business. However, by year end 2014, a scant 16 years later, when only 64,331 new HUD-Code homes were shipped, fewer than 4,000 MHRetailers remained ‘in the MHBusiness’!

Additional MHRetailer census details were featured in the August issue of the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter; and there will likely be a story on this heady – but sobering subject, in the September issue of the Allen Letter professional journal. To receive either or both seminal publications, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.

As you likely know, COBA7® has long been the statistical resource among land-lease-lifestyle community owners/operators nationwide. Just read the 26th ALLEN REPORT. (By the way, questionnaires pursuant to preparation of the 27th annual ALLEN REPORT are ‘in the mail’. However, if YOU own and or fee manage five or more LLLCommunities and/or 500 rental homesites, and don’t receive one of the 500+/- questionnaires being distributed, phone us at the aforementioned Official MHIndustry HOTLINE, and we’ll send you one right away.

FYI. Every ALLEN REPORT, in support of the ‘mixed use trend’ among LLLCommunities nationwide, includes RV rental sites within rental homesite count totals used to rank the 500+/- property portfolios, from largest to smallest, throughout North America! Be aware, there is an imitation out there that does not include RV rental sites, unnecessarily confusing the audience it seeks to document and inform.

Speaking further of statistics. We’re still awaiting definitive word from our source, regarding the percentage of new HUD-Code home shipments being delivered directly into LLLCommunities, by year end 2014. This information was delayed from June/July to September. You’ll be the first to know when we receive the important trend data.

All this is part and parcel to the COBA7® goal of being the manufactured hosing industry’s primary statistical resource – where possible, seeking unity in reporting among all national advocacy bodies representing the industry and LLLCommunity asset class!
Recalling the COBA7® motto: ‘U Support US & WE Serve U!’


24th Networking Roundtable Only a Month Away!

This is shaping up to be a very special event for many reasons. You already know of the superb networking opportunities during the two day period, and the nearly two dozen educational sessions. But this year’s emphasis on ‘Selling more HUD-Code homes into LLLCommunities’ has attracted unparalleled attention – as registrants sign-up to learn what Community Series Homes to buy, what marketing and sales support is available to them, and status of the Frost Free Foundation as an installation alternative. And there’s even more! Meet top execs from four of the largest home manufacturing firms.

For example. Did you know the Official Directory of Registrants, for this and every Roundtable to date, is the most highly sought after, and frequently referenced contact document in the manufactured housing industry? Well, it is, and for good reason; Not only do attendees receive said list when they arrive – to check off networking targets during the popular ‘Everyone Introduced’ hour, when the event begins, they’re emailed a corrected and even more comprehensive directory after the event ends! Who else does that for you, anywhere, anytime in the MHIndustry? No one!

Bottom line? Within a week or two after every annual Networking Roundtable you attend, YOU have a fresh list of more than 200 of the top ‘players’ in this industry and realty asset class. NO wonder they’re still in regular use more than a year later!

To register for this year’s 24th Networking Roundtable, use brochure attached to the BEBA (Blast Email Blog Alert) announcing this week’s blog posting, or phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.


One Heckuva MHIndustry Book Idea!

Can’t even tell you who came up with the idea, but it’s been floating around in conversation and thought for awhile now. Half the fun has been toying with titles and subtitles. Let’s see if you can guess the overall topic:

Smiling All the Way to the Bank!

Subtitle: ‘Not Your Glamour Investment, but Cash Cows Nonetheless!

Yep; our peers want me to start penning vignette-like tales about ‘mobile home park cum land-lease-lifestyle community owners’ we’ve known, endured and honored during the past three and a half decades. Then collect and publish said memoirs into a history tome focused on our unique realty asset class. Who to include?

Everyone. From the couple billionaire LLLCommunity owners – one of whom is a living legend and known as the Grave Dancer, is still around; the other ‘sold out’ years ago. And then there’re the perennial ‘flashes in the pan’ guys who hustle grandiose ideas and aggressive plans, only to ‘blow & go’ almost overnight.

What might be other categories of owners to research and describe in colorful detail?

Young wealth builders. These are the antithesis of the ‘flash in the pan’ guys; they’re young men and women who make wise and informed investment decisions along the way, like Ryan Hotchkiss in MD, Ben Braband in CO, and Jefferson Lilly in CA. Now there’s a national spread in names.

Pioneers. They’re mostly gone now, but certainly not forgotten – by many of us, e.g. LLLCommunity owners Myles Sampson (PA), Warren Huddleston (IL), Jim Overstreet (PA), Paul Stiner (IN), and Bud Zeman (IL) – this last guy has a LLLCommunity poem composed in his memory.

Visionaries. You know, those special individuals who dream the ‘best manufactured home & finest community’! Their ‘proof is in their pudding’, i.e. converting said dreams into practical reality! For starters, thinking here of land developer/home manufacturer Chuck Fanaro of SaddleBrook Farms in IL., the Tunnell family in DE, and Gary McDaniel of REIT Chateau Communities, and YES! Communities of CO.

Eccentrics. Boy, we’ve suffered more than a few of these! Almost always entrepreneur owners, as they usually ‘didn’t play well with others’, oft foisting their rants and peccadilloes on friends, acquaintances, and employees alike. Guess who?

Good leaders. While some micro-managed, and others were maybe too laissez-faire, we’ve benefitted, as a realty asset class, from their presence, actions, and often largesse. Hmm. Here I’m thinking owners Randy Rowe (IL), Spencer Roane, MHM® (GA), Tom Horner, Jr. (KS), Michael Sullivan, CPM® (CA) – and frankly, quite a few more I’ll identify and describe later.

.Quiet leaders. By their nature, not out in the forefront, but always encouraging and helping leaders lead, every step of the way: Jamie Dougherty, CPA® (MI), David Hess, MHM® (FL), Dennis Ohnstad, MHM® (IL), Rick Roethke (IN & CA), Kevin Shauaghnessy (IL), Matt Follett (CA), Spencer & Ross Partrich (MI), Nelson Steiner, MHM® & Bob Young (FL), Win Moses (IN), David Leichtman in OH – and more here too.

Bad leaders. Easy and kinda fun to identify. You now, those who’ve foisted (i.e. palmed off as genuine) their ‘leadership’ on us by dint of association political maneuvering or corporate employment circumstance. Can think of at least a half dozen right off the bat. But know what? Not one of them is an ‘owner’! So, will have to give this category more thought, or drop it….

Power couples. While I could ID many praise-worthy on-site property manager couples, there have been some notable ‘property owner power couples’ as well. Think Troy & Cheryl Brost, MHM® in OR; Ken & Katie Hauck, MHM®, as well as Ed Zeman & Dee Pizer, MHM® in IL, plus Mike & Luann Carrillo in CA. And there’re more that will come to mind.

Women owners. Really not that many women who’re sole proprietor owners of LLLCommunities, but the ones we know are special: Joanne Stevens, CCIM® & Barbara Hames in IA; Sharon Niccum & Adriane DeRose, MHM® in IN. And that list too ‘goes on’…We’ll find more names in the Manufactured Housing Executive Women (‘MHEW’) directory. Bet you didn’t even know there is one.

Survivors. Some have survived serious health scares, others the near failure of business interests, even hostile takeover attempts by rivals. David Nap (AZ) will always be one of my heroes in this category. Look at him now!.

Certified Property Managers®. In addition to a few mentioned elsewhere in this blog posting, there’re Curtis Harshaw, CPM® of TX.; Allen Alt, CPM® & WMA’s chairman in CA; Brian Fannon, CPM® in MI, developing a new LLLCommunity; Russ Petralia, CPM®, in NY; and Jon Zorn in CA. These owners gleaned from the list of 151 CPM®s identified by the Institute of Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) as having an affinity for LLLCommunities. There’re likely other ‘owners’ on the list, but they’re unknown to me.

Resident-focused. Now retired Martin Newby (NC) brought resident relations to the (then) manufactured home community asset class more than a quarter century ago! And that torch is carried still, by the firm he founded, Newby Management, Inc., in FL.

Recluses. Believe it or not, when push comes to shove, there’re probably more LLLCommunity owners in this category than any other. Seriously. The dozens of them I know, rarely appear in public at MHIndustry or LLLCommunity events. They reach out for assistance only when absolutely necessary, and seek no recognition of any sort at all. Though several probably deserve to be in the prestigious RV/MH Hall of Fame, it’s doubtful they’ll be nominated for that singular honor – because so very few people even know who they are, yet they ‘smile all the way to the bank’, as this blog’s subtitle suggests.

Murderers. Yes, there’ve been a few! I worked for one of them years ago, and talked to another on the phone about his proposed business deal. The first is deceased, the other in prison. Oh yes, and then there was…Read the short story, ‘An Error to Die For’, page #5 in ‘Landlease Communities, Manufactured Home Communities, Mobile Home parks’

Criminals – from tax cheats (in & out of prison), to a bagman for the Chicago mob – money laundering thru ‘mobile home parks’, until he was killed. Read about it in Double Deal.

Chieftains. Yes, as in gypsy tribes owning LLLCommunities on the East coast and out West. And maybe, ‘how to tell’, when you actually meet one. Hint. A particular piece of distinctive jewelry.

Doctors, veterinarians, dentists. There’s been lots and lots of them over the years. Think Larry, Matthew, et. al.

Twins. Property portfolio owners Darrell and the late Harrell Cohron in IN. Read their amusing autobiography, The Trailer Twins.

Authors. There’ve been a few. Jim Clayton, with a co-author, penned First a Dream after he sold his business interests to Berkshire Hathaway. And many years ago, the original Kris Jensen, of CT, wrote A Danish American, describing his fulfillment of ‘the American Dream’. Mike Conlon, in NC., tells his success story in Unconventional Wealth. And some of us anxiously await Al Schrader’s (MN) autobiography. (I’ve read an early draft copy and it’s quite a tale!)

Multigenerational. Many many second and third generation family businesses rooted in the LLLCommunity asset class. The Holefelder family in eastern PA is well into its’ fifth generation. How ‘bout yours?

Pro football players. There have been a few of them. Two have already been identified in previous paragraphs.

Academics? Dr. David Funk, head of the graduate real estate department at Cornell University, is the first one that comes to mind.

Well, all that gives you more than a taste of what to expect when I finally sit down and start crafting short stories about these, and other friends, in the LLLCommunity asset class. We are a very special group of people, and these stories deserve to be told.

I welcome your suggestions and input.


Next ‘Decade of Manufactured Housing’?

Yes, creative ideas and suggestions continue to arrive at COBA7®. Here’re the recommendations received this past week:

• Manufactured Housing Phoenix Arises! Spencer Roane, MHM® of Pentagon Properties; presenter at 24th Networking Roundtable

• Manufactured Housing Destined to Thrive! James Reitzner, MHM® of Asset Development.

• Decade of Manufactured Housing Partnering with Homebuyers! Ned Beach

And, as a reminder, here’re the recommendations from last week:

• Dawn of Factory-built Housing Efficiency! Steve Lefler of Modular Lifestyles, presenter at 24th Networking Roundtable

• Decade of Resident Service! Michael Power of MHCommunity Investors

• Decade of Affordable HUD-Code Housing & LLLCommunities!

And the list goes on. Your ideas? Let us know via the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE.

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