Tidal Shifts, Time Warp and the Next Level

November 30th, 2015 No comments

USA Today reported that: “As retailers seamlessly transitioned from Black Friday deals to Cyber Monday deals as early as Saturday, they were riding the tailwind of a shopping weekend that found more than 103 million people say they had or planned to shop online Thursday through Sunday, according to the National Retail Federation’s consumer sentiment survey of 4,281 people out Sunday. That’s compared to nearly 102 million people who shopped in stores during the four-day period.


Kohl’s in Lakeland, FL Thanksgiving after 7 PM. Photo credit, MHProNews.com.

NRF is catching flack for shifting from hard data to polling-style samples. We’ll see how that plays out.  Here’s more from USA Today:

While the organization (NRF) can’t compare to last year’s figures, initial feedback from retail executives and shoppers show that the holiday season is on track to hit an expected 3.7% increase in sales, says NRF president and CEO Matt Shay….”

“…More than 151 million people shopped, compared with about 136 million who said they were going to shop, NRF found. And despite earlier start times to sales, Black Friday remains the most popular day to shop, as more than 74 million people hit stores the day after Thanksgiving, compared with 34.6 million who shopped in stores on Thanksgiving, NRF says.”

We were part of all of the above – as you likely where too – and the photos captured Thanksgiving Thursday reflected amazingly long lines at retailer Kohl’s. There are a number of possible takeaways in the above numbers for our industry.


Lakeland has about 100,710 population. The Kohl’s store at Lakeland Center had 12 open registers, and two lines for check out that went from the front of the store, around both sides and clear to the back of the store.

MHMarketers, Heads up…

For example. It’s still a trickle, but the full blown clicks vs bricks race in retail is seeing some late blooming mirroring in MH. While still tiny in the MH Industry, there are more anecdotal reports being heard of MH buyers who shop, order, apply and buy a home without ever walking into the MH retailer’s office. That’s clicks vs. bricks.

Savvy MH pros wants to be on both sides of that equation.  Please look at these images from the retail stores.  Tell me what they ought to suggest to MH retailers, communities, manufacturers and other vendors?

Naturally, online sales aren’t nearly as likely to happen for firms that have a poor website, or who fail to provide shoppers what they need to know via the Internet and by phone. Part of that involves online reputation and recommendations, and we’ll be carrying another column in the upcoming December from MH veteran Wayne Coakley on that topic.


The National Retail Foundation (NRF) projects that gift cards alone will hit $25.9 billion this Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas shopping season. Deloite’s projected some $965 billion in total holiday sales. Meanwhile, MH is muddling along 4.52 billion for the year in new MH sales. People are spending money. There will be a trillion dollars spent on housing in 2015, and a trillion dollars on cars, and nearly a trillion dollars on holiday sales. Do you see that we could be doing so much better than we currently are as an industry?

The Time Warp

Needless to say, we all have the same 24 hours in a day, but odds are that we’ve all known occasions when time seemed to move fast, and other times, slowly. Starting around Thanksgiving, the ‘time warp’ effect of the holidays hit. We’ll suddenly be in 2016, as well as the primary season in politics, and the show season for manufactured housing.

The Next Level


Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO and MHI Chairman.

Let me thank Tim Williams – 21st Mortgage CEO and MHI Chairman – for a very thoughtful and valued letter he provided last week on:

The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

We are closer than ever to passing the Dodd-Frank fixes into law we need for our consumers and sellers. Don’t let the time warp of the holidays distract you from taking the few minutes need to do the following. Call your two Senators offices and ask them:

To support inclusion of Section 909 – which has S 682 – as a rider to the Senate Appropriations Bill S 1910.”

S 682, as regular readers know is The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which the House passed last spring in their bill – HR 650. You can find your Congressman and two U.S. Senators via www.ContactingTheCongress.org in seconds.

Then, get and stay engaged in what’s happening in your industry. Set an example for your colleagues and team members, by reading, writing, calling and sharing.  As CU’s Barry Noffsinger said, you be the change.

3 years ago, MHI cited the number of full time equivelents (FTEs) working in MH at about 100,000. Let’s say that’s closer to 150,000 FTEs (+?) today. Almost all of you have a Facebook page. Almost all email, are online, and know others in and out of MH. When a growing number of MH Pros shares what’s on MHLivingNews.com with the world, the world will increasingly understand MH. Educating the public on the facts vs. the myths will yield more sales.

When more in our industry are into the best practices that associations and the expert writers on MHProNews.com shares,

> we’ll serve the public better,
> we’ll have fewer legal hassles,
> we’ll sell more homes.


15 minutes a day on MHLivingNews.com and 15 minutes a day on MHProNews.com. It pays off.


John Bostick, Sunshine Homes CEO and prior MHARR Chairman.

John Bostick, CEO of Sunshine Homes and prior Chairman of MHARR likes to say, “Easy Doesn’t Pay Well.” Taking a few minutes a day to keep up and grow professionally, that may not seem easy for those who are not yet into the habit. Others would have to cut back if they went DOWN to 15 minutes a day. Those who do those extra steps, are often the leaders and better performers.

Be a leader. Start now doing what leaders do, because all leaders are readers. Leaders don’t just talk,

  • they do,
  • they encourage and
  • they lead by example.

The tidal shifts, time warp and next level are at hand. Retail has recovered far more than MH has. We have to be more professional if we are to grow into the kinds of sustainable selling that will make us the powerhouse of housing in the future we can be.


Manufactured housing’s recovery is way too slow.  No doubt, CFPB regulations has harmed us, as their own HMDA data suggests.  But let’s be clear, we can, should and must set our sights higher as an industry. Please see Tim William’s message, linked here. Image credit, Calculated Risk.


The video linked above has been one of the most viewed on MHLivingNews during November. See why. Joey Tidmore, Chet Murphree, Robert Gann are featured in the video linked from the still graphic above, or click here.

Programing note: expect the new issue to be live on the home page Wednesday, December 2nd, around mid-afternoon. We’ll have some great columns, business protecting and building items and new videos for you to get into! Until then, go do or sell something good! ##


L. A. “Tony’ Kovach will be presenting on marketing and sales the evening before the start of the 2016 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

I Believe in Giving Thanks…

November 26th, 2015 No comments

Let’s set aside the heavy topics, and focus on this Thanksgiving day on some of what should matters the most in our lives.

I Believe in Giving Thanks…

  • …For The Faith

  • …for the Family

  • …for the good represented by our Flag

  • …for true Friends

  • …for the good Fortune found in the Fabulous Factory-Framed Freeholds, Flats and Fountainheads of Fine Living.

We’ve gathered a sampling of quotes for Thanksgiving. The credits for each are as shown. We’ll finish those quotes and images below with George Washington’s Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, made and first celebrated 226 years ago.



Image credit – Enjoy Festivals.








Image credit, LoveThisPic


Image credit – Indulgy.


Image credit – Veterans Day Quotes.


Image credit – Patheos.


Image Credit – Ministry to Children.

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”


Image credit – WhiteHouse.gov.

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

George Washington 

—– end of Thanksgiving Day Proclamation —–


We’re thankful you’re here. I’m thankful for each member of our team, supporters, colleagues, volunteers – and of course friends and family. We hope you’ll enjoy the start of the ‘time warp’ of this holiday season – as we move from Thanksgiving Day towards Hanukah, Christmas and New Years. May you and yours be richly blessed! ##


The MHProNews and MHLivingNews family Team, (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced “So Hey La”), Tamas (pronounced “Tah Mash”) and Tony Kovach (prounounced “Co-Vatch” like “Watch” with a v). Matthew Silver, Jan Hollingsworth and Charles Drake – plus the many volunters and sponsors who join together to bring you the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. © Photo credit above, from 83 Degress Media.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

Top Shelf Manufactured Housing Professionals

November 23rd, 2015 No comments

Tony, everyone I’ve met in this industry has been top shelf. Just good people.” With such words our videographer, Charles Drake, spoke about the various professionals he has met during our journeys for the Inside MH Road Show episodes, as well as numerous video interviews with pros at events like the annual, upcoming Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

As I reflected on those words, there is no doubt that Charlie is right.


MH home owner/retailer Joey Tidmore, as well as Deer Valley’s Chet Murphree and Robert Gann are featured in the video linked from the still graphic above.  Videos like these dispell the myths that collectively cost MH billions of dollars in sales annually.

We’ve met many good people who are MH homeowners. They ranged from retirees who were salt-of-the-earth from the working class, to millionaires who sold valuable conventional housing to live in style in a quality, appealing manufactured home, and all types or groups in between.

We’ve interviewed and spoken with individuals of Asian, European, African, Latin American and North American ancestries. We have pros from key MH industry segments on camera, as well as video with public officials and other professionals and experts.


All homes appreciate or depreciate for similar reasons. The still captured from the video interview with Kim Capen shown above proves that MH can gain in value, and cites some of the reasons why. Equally important, it shares great, appealing images of what the MH lifestyle is – and when understood,  that will appeal to others who are financially capable – and thus sell more manufactured homes. To see the video, click the link here, or click on the still graphic above.

Image and Education by Telling the MH Industry’s Stories

There may be no better way to begin to dispel the various myths and misconceptions about modern manufactured homes (MH) than by videos with the home owners, professionals and independent third party experts who know MH best.

Of course, at some point, people must see and experience the MH product first hand.

But until some of those myths, outdated or false notions are dispelled, millions would never consider MH at all. Since some 90% of home shoppers are looking online, having online videos and reports that tell the powerful truths about our homes is a common-sense way to advance the industry.


Pam (l) took our son Tamas on a tour of their home, where the young fellow met pets, saw the garden and had fun indoors and out. Tamas was also outfitted with the Sunshine gear you see. Do you think Tamas (Tamas is prounounced like “Tah Mash,” Kovach sounds like “Co-Vatch”) had a grand time, and that our video guy Charlie Drake noticed how the Bosticks – and all the others we met on this trip – dealt with our son and all of us? Of course. L-Pam Bostick, Tamas Kovach, John Bostick. R-Weekly Service Meeting at Sunshine Homes, Inc balcony offices overlooking their production center in Red Bay, AL.  New features from this Inside MH Road Show trip will begin in December.

We’ve shot videos from as far west as Nevada and heading east to states along the Atlantic coast, and so many states in between. It’s an ambitious, evolutionary project with a revolutionary goal.

The Goal?

That goal is to promote the acceptance, understanding and respect for MH – and thus the increased sales – of manufactured homes. We believe that with financing now available and given current market conditions, MH could and should be selling at record levels in any state.  Its not.  Why not?  At the heart of it is a lack of proper understanding by the public of our amazing product.  Whose job is it to change that sad reality?  Its obviously up to pros like you and us.


What happens off camera is as or more important as what happens during these Inside MH Road Show videos. Jerri Lynn Campbell, left – with award-winning Southern Colonel Homes in Hattiesburg MS – having fun during dinner with Tamas. Jerri’s husband George gave our son a sampling of new hats during this stop. Just good people, as their upcoming videos with customers and team members will begin to demonstrate, in our December to Remember issue.

This image/educational plan – which an award-winning state association executive called “a pioneering effort” for MH – is working.

A major university-level educator researching our industry recently praised what he seen as the quality work we are sharing with the public. He and other professionals see the value of informing, inspiring and promoting the MH Industry via articles and videos. Investors from the U.S. and abroad see the value. The list goes on…

The fact that it’s working should make it obvious that more should be done.


Our ever-growing collection of video interviews with MH success stories and home owners, plus experts who know MH – all featured on MHLivingNews.com. Videos and reports give a positive view of our industry, based upon THE FACTS.  This makes each video more compelling to those who are new to our industry and who view them.

Jan Hollingsworth, Matthew Silver, Soheyla and Tamas Kovach are all playing unique roles in advancing various elements of this pioneering effort.

But our growing MHProNews and MHLivingNews team is just part of the picture. Because ultimately, it is the MH Pros and home owners who behind the scenes or in front of a video camera are making this happen!

Sharing the Good News of MH, Telling the Good Stories about MH Pros and Homeowners

For years, we’ve said that every challenge that the industry faces finds its potential answer with the pros active and “retired” who are in MH. The investors and the tens of billions in potential capital that could be coming into MH would be icing on the cake.

Let me share one quick story to finish today, to make the point.

Tom Fath hales from an award-winning third generation MH family. We’ll share a video with Tom talking about industry issues – focused on HR 650/S 682 – and financing – soon. But for today, let’s note that Tom and his family understand the pressing need to change the image of our industry. They are not whining about what they don’t have; they are pro-actively going after what’s needed to change the MH image in their market – and beyond.

With his family’s and their team’s support, Tom recently ran for the town council in his community. Here below is the outcome of the 5 wards in the race for seats on the Westville Town Council.


Tom Fath, at right, in an upcoming video interview about the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act – S 682 – HR 650.

Westville, IN – November 3, 2015 election results

Town Council, Ward 1

Michael Albert (D) 180 (55.05)

Nicole Clem (R) 147 (44.95)

Town Council, Ward 2

James Bechinske (D) 253 (100)

Town Council, Ward 3

Lisa Mayes (D) 151 (47.04)

Thomas Fath (R) 170 (52.96)

Town Council, Ward 4

Regina Ruddell (R) 221 (100)

Town Council, Ward 5

Olga Pecanac (D) 186 (57.76)

Ronald Stallings (R) 136 (42.24)


Regina Ruddell is one of those “good people” that Charlie Drake was referencing, others are in the same video Regina is featured in, linked here or via the image above.

Please note that of the 5 seats on the town council, Regina Ruddell ran unopposed and garnered 100% of the votes. Regina is a resident in New Durham Estates, where we’ve interviewed her and others for part of a segment in the Inside MH Road Show.


Olga Pecanac’s story is inspirational…she came to the U.S. the old fashioned way, legally. ;-)  Olga’s story, video and comments about MH are found linked here or by clicking the photo.

Olga Pecanac was featured in two episodes of Inside MH, the most recent one was published just before their town’s election. As the interview linked here shows, Olga is very open and positive about being pro-MH.

Tom also won his race. He is active in their chamber of commerce. Tom is active in a local parish. Their team recently hosted an event that drew dozens of professionals to an open house of a staged model home in their community. Here is a video example of one of their model homes in New Durham Estates.

If you do the math, after this election, 3 out of 5 ward members are positive about MH. Can you see the value to that in their town?  Can you see the value to accomplishing something like that result in your market too?

These are among the many steps the Fath’s are taking, and it is and will continue to make a difference for the image and success of their business and for the broader MH industry too.

My closing message today is this. YOU be the change in YOUR market. Establish a short, middle and long range plan to profitably change the image in your market.

It is working together – in concert – with pros like yourself that positive image change will happen in MHVille. Action trumps apathy, anger and anguish every time.

Thanksgiving is almost upon us. Set the planning and wheels in motion now, to make your next Thanksgiving one that will be memorable for you, your team and for the customers you serve.

We are an industry with good people and have a great product. Together with other forward thinkers, we must tell that story. Happy Thanksgiving to all! ##


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, speaking at the recent New York Housing Association meeting. Tony will be presenting at the 2016 Tunica MH Show.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

Influencing the Narrative – Policy, Billionaires and Quality, Affordable Manufactured Housing

November 19th, 2015 1 comment

Public policy and the media impacts business, domestic and international affairs. How policy is influenced by the news can be done in many ways. Influencing the narrative the mainstream or social media carries to the public often drives sentiment one way versus another.

The ISIS bombing in Paris and the Syrian/Middle Eastern refugee crisis are current examples of the insight that former POTUS Barack Obama Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel said about never allowing a crisis to go to waste.


(Keep in mind that a quote can be insightful, even if you disagree with
who said it and what their purpose or goal might be. Photo credit, WikiCommons.
poster credit, MHProNews.com )

Our industry needs to learn this lesson in influencing the media and the public discourse narrative. Why? Because we have solutions the nation needs! Those positive solutions are worth tens of billions of dollars that could flow annually to MH.

Let’s look at how engaging or guiding a narrative for or away from a given position can take place.

 An Example from Current Events

The deadly Paris terrorist attack claimed by ISIS – and the fact that one or more Syrian ‘refugees’ were apparently involved in those mass murders – is bringing the issue of U.S. and European policies towards refugees front and center.

There are those who now flatly oppose anyone coming from Syria or other hot spots were Islamic terrorists are active.  Meanwhile, the Obama Administration is pushing a narrative that claims they can successfully screen refugees for terrorists, and that our nation should accept potentially tens of thousands of those fleeing the wars in Syria and the Middle East.

Overlooking an Easier, Safer and Less Costly Option

But an obvious solution to the needs of those refugees is being overlooked.

An Egyptian billionaire offered to buy an island and accept all the Middle Eastern refugees there. CNN, HuffPo, MSNBC and scores of other news outlets in the U.S. and Europe reported this in mid-September. Why is an obvious and safe answer that appears to be good for America, Europe and arguable those refugees being ignored?


Why are those headlines of this seemingly generous offer by this Egyptian being pushed off the front pages, when the need for his island-for-Middle Eastern refugees solution is greater than ever?  We should note that factory builders could potentially benefit from building that proposed island haven for hundreds of thousand of refugees.

We won’t digress to answer that question, other than to say, there is clearly an agenda at play.

DrudgeReport headlines on11_19_2015

DrudgeReport headlines on 11.19.2015.

Some in places of power and influence may desire this refugee/terrorist crisis, for whatever Rahm Emanuel style  – ‘we don’t want this crisis to go to waste’ – reason.

Rather than turn to a safer solution, they are ignoring it, grabbing the narrative and pushing it in an entirely different – and more dangerous for the U.S. and Europe – direction.

While these refugee and related terrorist issues are important to “We, the People,” the point for today’s column is that MH must learn to engage the media and become part of the narrative of any issue directly or indirectly impacting our home owners and the MH industry.

We can’t just let the latest headline push back what could be years of effort by industry pros on issues such as DTS, HR 650/S 682, and others.


Some of the many interviews with MHPros and home owners
on MHLivingNews.com and MHProNews.com

Trade Media Influencing the Public/Policy Discussions

We as an industry have tremendous stories to tell, and they reason the stories are so great is because they are true. Part of that story telling must be through the lens of our home owners, pros like yourself, and the experts who know the truth because they took the time to look past stereotypes to see an amazing reality.

Scaling what works is just common sense.

We know – for example – that the videos and articles shared on MHLivingNews.com has directly resulted in the sales of homes. We know because front line sales pros who’ve tried sharing them in the ways we suggest have reported the deals closed and happy home owners that were the result.

On the Road Again…

Our team and I are in the middle of a 3 day, 2 state “Inside MH” video shoot, so I’ll invite you to check back and read here about various family operations that we’ve had the opportunity to get to know better.  These are pros who love MH.  They live what they love. They leave a trail of have happy customers in their wake.

We know, because we’ve interviewed their home owners!

When we share that story as trade media, that story can and does influence the public, policy influencers and makers. One senate staffer emailed me, after getting from us and digging into some of the articles and videos.  The staffer told me how powerful they were.  The senator in question was on the wrong side of S 682, but the staffer stressed that the importance of these views would be shared with that senator.

Story telling is only part of what we need. But it is a part we’ve neglected for far too long. We should influence the narrative for the good, just as others manipulate to influence a narrative that suit their purposes…which are often questionable for our nation at best, or dangerous at worst. ##

(Quote credit: BrainyQuotes.)

TonyKovach-MHProNews-com-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

Terrorists, Politics and Manufactured Housing

November 14th, 2015 No comments

The apparent Muslim terrorists who struck Paris are the visible consequence of a variety of festering factors.  Pre-attack anti-immigration sentiment has been rising in Europe and here in the U.S.. Don’t be surprised if that sentiment spikes in France and elsewhere after this terror event. Any who thinks the mass killings in the French capitol won’t effect politics here in the U.S. are missing elements of the big picture.

We naturally mourn those who suffered and died. In the midst of that, one must not become paralyzed. Like you, I recall the eerie lack of air traffic in the hours after our 9/11.  The economy took a hit then…and now?

Islamic extremists are not bound by the PC (politically correct) conventions of the West. Significant numbers of Muslims believe they’re called upon to subvert, conquer, convert or kill those who don’t follow their understanding of the ‘prophet Mohamed.’ 

For those who want to kill or rape, there is an attraction to their jihad on those levels, along side of any ‘religiously’ motivated thinking.


Original image credit, WIkiCommons. Poster credit – MHProNews © 2015, all rights reserved.

History’s lessons are clear. Aggressors must be stopped. One doesn’t appease aggression, that only fosters the bully’s or a rouge regime’s attacks. If the Western response is to sit back and wait, the militant Islamists will keep coming. Beyond military/law enforcement type actions, we better become more committed to converting them as they are to conquer, kill and convert us.

Talk, pin pricks and drone strikes alone won’t stop the zealots. 

We’re an industry trade publication, not a world affairs corner. So let’s segue with a parallel from the tragic lessons of current events and past history and apply them to our industry and profession. 

MH’s 9/11

There are areas of life we can compromise in, and not suffer. You might like more salt and pepper, your spouse or other loved one likes less. No problem, acceptance or compromise are easily done among reasonable people.

By contrast, there are arenas that are literal life and death (eg: health, crime, terror); still others that are economically or politically limiting, crippling or that can become professional life and death. Just ask a coal miner if government mandates have impacted his work in the last few years. Ask those who wanted Keystone what they think about Big Brother’s stopping they’re plan, in favor of riskier rail transit of that same heavy oil.

So MH is not alone in being harmed by the policies of the federal government.  


Dr. Lesli Gooch, MHI.

The Manufactured Housing Institute’s (MHI) Dr. Lesli Gooch recently reminded an audience that the Duty to Serve (DTS) was passed as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA 2008). 7 years later, we now ‘hope’ that the reluctant GSEs will be prodded into supporting chattel lending, to fulfill their Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing.

For the next few moments, we’ll keep the following a generalization; this is not about DTS per se. This can easily include fire sprinklers, energy or other desired-by-others mandates.

In struggling for the rights of MH home owners, home buyers and professionals, we must not fail to see that you can compromise yourself into a corner. You don’t negotiate with jihadis, and some MH Pros say there is only so much negotiating you can do with public officials before you harm your own industry’s interests.


The video interview with Marty Lavin, an important video to share with policy advocates, public officials, local media and of course MH Pros.

When the economic collapse of 2008 took place, Manufactured Housing took it on the chin for the 3rd time in a decade. The first bust that began after the peak of 1998, that one was on the industry’s own. But as Marty Lavin and others have said, the industry cleaned up that act. We didn’t need to wait for regulators to do it for us. The market punished, the industry responded. That’s how its supposed to work in the U.S.A..

The other two big hits on MH? A case can be made that federal policies harmed our industry in a variety of fashions.


There are those who agree with the Masthead position that MH ought to be doing half-a-million a year in annual shipments. Why are we struggling along with sub-100,000 shipments?

But unlike America after 9/11, which galvanized the public in the wake of terror attacks; MHVille failed to truly pull together when we experienced our industry’s ‘9/11’ in 2008.  The result is reflected in facts shown in the chart above.

Without a vision, the people perish (cf: Prvbs 29:18).

The Proper Role of Government?

An essential role of government is defense of a nation. There is also the internal security against crime or threats from incidents such as fire. Water, sewer, trash and roads can be and is done privately, as many MHC owners know. But in a populous area, those utility and infrastructure items are commonly delegated to government. Legal and judicial processes are in the public authority’s domain. 

Talk to a strict Constitutional constructionist, and they’ll tell you that the federal government has long blown past its designated limits. Let’s stop and think!

We freeborn Americans are begging the CFPB – ‘our government’ – to give us a break. We’re asking Congress to force the CFPB’s hand by passing a law – The Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, which HR 650 passed last spring, and S 682 is currently attached to the appropriations bill in the U.S. Senate. The irony is that the Dodd-Frank Act already allows the CFPB to do on its own what HR 650/S 682 would compel it to do.


Jess Maxcy, President, CMHI. Quoted in the Hill Blog, see this link for a strong case for passage of HR 650, S 682.

There should be outrage among MH pros and home owners alike on this issue. When enough outrage is vented to Congress and CFPB, then we will see the needed change. Period.

We’re close. Let’s not let it slip away, because this battle will be decided in the next few weeks.


You can call your Congressmen or Senator via the contact information found on the link here, and ask them to support passage of HR 650 and S 682 as part of the current appropriations bill. Image credit, ContacttheCongress.org

Beyond the Current Issues – Root Causes

Yes, we ought to work for that bill’s passage, which the Masthead supports. But let’s also look beyond that to the root causes, so we don’t keep fighting these multi-year battles forever!

The reason the Founding Fathers divided the powers of the federal government – and left so many matters ‘to the state and to the People’ – was precisely to avoid the kind of government overreach we’re seeing today.

That overreach is done by officials who may be hundreds or thousands of miles away from those they regulate, and fail to understand. That overreach by public officials can be so costly, that it restricts and kills off business.

So as a consequence, we are seeing more businesses of all kinds fail today than start up. Small business is normally the largest driver of employment. MH retailers, communities and even factories are by definition, among those small businesses.

Here we are in an affordable housing crisis, and the CFPB and their allies are making it hard for American’s most affordable form of green, appealing quality ownership to thrive to serve those market needs.

Do you see the domino effect of government getting too big, too powerful, and is often unaccountable for the impact of its actions?

What does it harm Richard Cordray in his palatial new CFPB offices, when his policies harm those MH home owners and businesses through the CFPB’s regulations?


Richard Cordray, CFPB. American Thinker reported in 2014 that the cost per square foot to update the CFPB’s rented office space was $590 per square foot. How does that spending help consumer protection? Photo credit, Bloomberg News.

So-called liberals in fact are imposing their will on others! War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength.” What those slogans from George Orwell’s classic novel 1984 reminds us is that we are living in that Topsy-Turvey Big Brother world in America today.


Lesli Gooch has said that MHI is there to listen. It’s there to be our national voice.

Okay, let’s take that at face value. The time is now for there to be a serious effort to pull together all the various elements of manufactured housing.

Sure, we want to see HR 650/S 682 pass and get signed into law. Yes, DTS would be nice to have – even if it only adds a similar number of loans annually as FHA Title I currently yields, as some experts are telling us to expect.

But if we are to become truly effective in DC and beyond, we must mobilize far more of the MH Pros and MH homeowners than we currently have been doing.

Further, there needs to be sensitivity to the interests of independents, such as the manufacturers represented by MHARR. The only times MH has truly advanced in DC is when MHI and MHARR have worked together.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.

M Mark Weiss, President and CEO of MHARR.


Don Glisson, Jr. leads Triad Financial Services, a 5 decade MH lender and prior MHI Chairman.

Shouldn’t that be a historic lesson we should heed?

It is in that context that the wildly popular Another Cup of Coffee with… Don Glisson Jr. should be read. Don understands the vital need for bringing independents into the broader discussion. We and others applaud Don for speaking out on such important topics.  At the recent MHI/NCC event, we heard lots of positive feedback on that topic and others in our current November issue of MHProNews featured articles.

Root Causes and End Games

At the root of our industry’s problems are a few basics. Among them, these 3…

  • Government over-reach at all levels, that keep Americans from doing what we were once freely allowed to do. That suggests we should align ourselves with others who want to see government be leaner and less inclined to the crony capitalism that plays favorites and thus picks winners and losers in the marketplace.
  • MHEducation. I will point back to James McGee and Chet Murphree’s fine point (near the end of the video, linked here), that can be

    Ron Thomas Sr., MMHF Chairman, RV MH Hall of Fame.

    summed up as education. MHPros and the public at large need different types of education, but that education is necessary. Ron Thomas Sr. said there is a hunger to know, especially among MH independents. That too is a call for MH Education. The government won’t do it, people like you and me must. We’re doing our part. Are you doing yours?


A recent educational video by MHLivingNews, is linked here.

  • Working for the common good. I’m not talking a Utopian, Pollyanna dream-world where we all get along perfectly. That’s not in the cards for a fallen humanity. But we are able to work with each other in respectful, common-sense and productive ways, and thus advance all segments of the MH Industry – naturally including the interests of some 8.8 million MH homes, and the 20+ million living in them.

There is talk of new structures at MHI, perhaps signaled in part by an effort to get more retailers and communities into the mix. Frankly, there is more change than that needed, and that too is being quietly discussed.


See the position proposal, Reinventing HUDs Role…, linked here.

One of the strongest takeaways from the recent MHI National Communities Council (NCC) event in Chicago was made in the hallway by a seasoned industry veteran, who (paraphrasing) said, The interests of MH homeowners and businesses are naturally aligned. Those alignment needs to become ever more a reality.

When the phenomenal value proposition that MH represents is better understood and appreciated, our industry’s challenges will slowly melt away. Unlike the war on terror, our conflict can be bloodless. Ours is an effort to win minds and hearts over, to get people to act, instead of griping and moaning or being apathetic…

…on second thought, maybe our war isn’t completely different than the war in terror after all? We must win the military battles to stop aggressors, but we must also win over minds and hearts of those terrorists and other foes, or we’ll be fighting that war far beyond Paris for generations to come.

Let Freedom Ring! ##


“Proclaim Liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” Inscribed on the U.S. Liberty Bell, from Leviticus 25:10. Image credit, SodaHead.

(Editor’s note to regular readers: our plan to cover a Sam Zell related topic has been postponed, to do the timely article above.)


L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, outside the U.S. Supreme Court, Washington, DC.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

The Latest Unraveled MH Deal, GSE’s Bucking Too

November 11th, 2015 No comments

It’s axiomatic that you and anyone else will see various things differently. Of course you will. Even twins have differences.

So when there is a string of attempted deals for a group of MHCs, and one after another unravels, one must ask, why?


Frank Rolfe, right, Dave Reynolds, left.

Frank Rolfe and his associates’ alleged efforts to do a big deal covering dozens of MHCs were covered by an NDA, so he is not free to talk about this now reportedly ‘off’ deal. Is it a negotiating tactic? Something else?

Regardless, our source tells us that the MHC deal that could have involved dozens of properties is not going to happen now.

We’ve heard another interested party for that group of MHCs is waiting in the wings. Again, one must ask, tactic? Real?

Whatever the intent of the parties, the reality is that for some years, one suitor after another is said to have danced up to the seller’s line, looked around, and then danced away…

We’ll keep our eyes and ears open, please do be same.

A ‘deal’ that’s No Secret

We’ve said before there is not much enthusiasm by the GSEs to do their legally mandated Duty to Serve (DTS) manufactured housing. They want to have loans on MHCs count towards their DTS goals. We’ll do a story that confirms the point that the GSE’s are cool on doing DTS the way the industry wants to see it done.  As a side-note, without comment, we’ll merely not a recent column by MHARR suggesting that effort is potentially being undercut by parties within the MH Industry.

The reality is that the current MH personal property or ‘chattel loan’ lenders are successful at what they do. That’s in spite of the negative impacts of CFPB regulations we’ve shared numerous reports on (for example, see link below). It makes one wonder, of the GSEs see that other MH lenders are successful, why don’t they come into our space?


MH lending expert, Marty Lavin, JD –  is featured in an important video to share with policy advocates, public officials, l0cal media and of course MH Pros.

Then ask yourself; is Marty Lavin correct? Is there still an overhang from the late 90s impacting MH and more potential lenders? Keep in mind, Marty was tight with Fannie for years. Would it be a huge surprise if he has a keen insight on their historic take on this matter?


James McGee and Chet Murphree at Dee Valley Homebuilders have said that the key to MH advancement is education (see them among others in the video on the page, linked here.. The more I’ve pondered Chet and James’ phrasing, the more I like it. “Education” covers more than “image campaign” does.

Look carefully. Peel back almost any issue that you see MH is getting the short end of the stick on. Look at DTS. Look at installations/ placement or zoning. Look at…any regulatory matter. Each involves education, or a lack of proper education, about the modern MH realities!


We’ll keep it brief today, because the plan for this weekend is likely to be anything but brief.

Hint. The plan is to look at Sam Zell, and more.

Until then, let me leave you with an 11 letter summary of the key need identified, today’s takeaway from here on the Masthead.”MH Education.” ##


L. A. “Tony” Kovach questioning NY SAA team during New York Housing Association meeting. Photo Credit, Mark Simon, Dirty Jerz Images.

By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

Chinese MODs to U.S., Europe? Threat or Opportunity for MH Builders?

November 8th, 2015 No comments

Once again, we’ve been contacted by a Chinese firm, exploring the U.S. and North American market.

Published reports and input from other sources both suggest that China’s industrialized builders ship their idea of modular units to some 80 different nations. Most every continent, save Antarctica, has seen Chinese housing plays; many include ‘industrialized housing,’ as we’ve reported previously in our Daily Business News department of MHProNews.


This is just one of many styles of modular housing that China is shipping to some 80 nations globally. Container and other kinds of pre-fab housing are pouring from Chinese housing factories, its a market worth tens of billions and is growing.  This is both a threat to domestic U.S. housing, but also is a wake-up call to American factory home builders and savvy investors who want to make this work for U.S. and North American companies.

Muslim Refugee ‘Invasion’ of Europe fuels interest in factory-built homes

Areas of Europe impacted by the surge in refugees from Islamic nations rocked by war and violence are creating a growing interest in factory-built homes overseas. This is reflected in our site statistics, which senses (detects) the nation of origin.

So while some 95% (+/-) of our traffic is and has been domestic, the fluctuations of where that international website traffic comes from is interesting to monitor.

Before the shakeup earlier this year of Chinese markets, traffic from that nation was often a larger slice of that international traffic pie.

Other lands where investment dollars were plentiful also tended to be higher in our international readers.

With oil prices down, and China rattled some by its stock market slide, traffic from lands that benefit from oil or the Asian giant have slid.

However, now there is more traffic from counties hungry for affordable housing.


Does this Chinese prefab make you think U.S. single section manufactured housing? Which looks better, – theirs or domestic U.S. HUD Code product?  Let’s not let American opportunities – as well as those overseas – slip through U.S. factory builder’s fingers.

It seems the U.S. ought to be a player internationally. But all too often, America is not as active in the business of solving the global hunger for factory-built homes.

Which brings us back to the domestic U.S. housing scene.

Hawaii and other higher priced housing markets

Facts are facts, so let’s not oversimplify. We’re seeing higher readership on articles relating to Hawaiian manufactured or modular home news reports. Ditto some other markets in the mainland 48 states.

Affordable housing is a big issue in every state of the land. Bloomberg recently cited the fact that first time home buyers have hit a 28 year low here in the U.S.. that our Matthew Silver reported on in the Daily Business News. This at a time when rents are rising, and incomes for most Americans are flat or falling.

Tim Williams – MHI’s new Chair – said it, the historic conditions for an even stronger rise in MH shipments are ripe.  See the graphics he provided us, below.


The two panels above and below are courtesty of MHI’s new Chairman, Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage CEO.


Arrows and commentary in red from the Masthead blog, MHProNews.com.

The next chart below tells a different part of the painful tale of the big bite taken out of the budgets of so many Americans for housing.


The ligther colored states reflect 70 hours or less needed at mimum wage to afford to rent a 2 bedroom apartment in that market. While tragic, this represents an opportunity in disguise for MH. ELS’ Chairman Sam Zell said as much 2 years ago. Graphic Credit – National Low Income Housing Initiative.

These are some of the reasons why Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling invitation for plans to reform HUD and address the causes of poverty are so important.


NanoTech picked this story up as “technology news,” meaning for them, how the ‘technology’ of factory built housing could help solve the affordable housing and poverty crisis in America. Over 1100+ news, media, RSS, specialty websites and social media posts have appeared online within 48 hours of our press release. There is a hunger and interest on this topic!  Will more in MH catch the wave? Screen capture from NanoTechNews, original photo credit, Sunshine Homes, Red Bay AL.

The CBO study cited in my report to Chairman Hensarling on a concept to reform HUD speaks volumes for the opportunities in the U.S. to move the needle for MH.  Serious researchers should check that report out, linked now from over 1100 sites and is found in the proposal, linked here.

So far, in about 48 hours, over 1,000 sites has picked up our media release on the report shown.


Screen capture – credit – Google. Text credit, MHProNews.

Analysis and advocacy often can go hand in glove. Please see the Cutting Edge blog report on the traction being found in mainstream media from award winning journalist, Jan Hollingsworth’s report on fires, safety and MH.

Then imagine what it could be like if every week, many times a week, good news stories about MH were hitting the news and social media, from coast to coast.

There are companies in MH, typically publicly traded ones, that routinely do press releases.  Those are often treated as what they are, business news.  While important and valuable, their focus is narrow.

What we’re doing on MHLivingNews.com – reflected in the examples above – is broader, more general industry focused.  Yes, it will benefit individual firms.  But its news, and as a pro-industry trade publisher, designed to educate and raise the image of the MH Industry at large.

Trade publishing is quite rightly treated differently by others in media, researchers and special interest groups than a business report or an association report.  Each has value.  But our efforts are candidly filling a role that no one else in MH trade publishing is filling. 

A positive MH Image and solid, fact-based education supports every other good effort in manufactured housing.

Let’s tie this once more into the headline, and call it a session.

Change most commonly happens for one of two reasons; the carrot or the stick.  We frail mortals change:

(a) because we’re forced to change, because of some threat (Chinese mods in the U.S., you better believe we best secure our market now.  Think about what happened when Japanese and then Korean automakers hit America’s shores in numbers); or

(b) because of some opportunity that is crying to be tapped.

We have both threats and opportunities for MH.  The time for positive, profitable change is NOW.  The time to define ourselves and take our rightful place in the U.S. – and international – housing markets is NOW.


The time for defining (and redefining) ourselves in the marketplace is now. What we’re doing on MHLivingNews.com is the start.  Its scalable.  It is already getting results. Graphic credit, OpenSourceway and FlickrCreativeCommons

We could be shipping more factory-built homes in the U.S., and overseas too.

Nature abhors a vacuum. If good U.S. Companies don’t do this, you should not be surprised when China, Japan or others step in and fill that vacuum in Europe and the U.S., as they already are in Africa, Asia and Latin America. ##


Team Kovach – (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) and L. A. “Tony” Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch) – is heading to Chicago, MS and AL among the stops on our next Inside MH Road Show.  Photo above, credit, from 83 Degress Media.


By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

L.A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM - Publisher, Marketing Director and Industry Consultant
Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management trade journal
www.MHMarketingSalesManagement.com aka MHMSM.com aka MHProNews.com

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