Outstanding October, Trending Turbulence and Re-energizing Manufactured Housing!

October 1st, 2014 No comments

Years ago, a speaker said that without positive and negative polarity, you have no (…electric…) power. The truth is what it is. Some is good, some not good, or even ‘negative.’ When a commercial airline encounters turbulence, there are a few choices –

  • change course,
  • go higher or
  • descend until it eases up.

Here on the Masthead, based upon feedback from key pros, we think the turbulence we face is due in part to the need to go higher and make some course corrections.

Starting with “Trending Turbulence,” we’ll move on to other manufactured housing (MH) professional news commentary.


  1. Breaking is the CFPB’s published comments on MH lending and interest rates – linked here – which we’ve asked experts to sound off on.  Interesting to note that among the CFPB’s sources (see footnote 15) was an article from MHProNews….hmmm. We’ve been saying for some time, the feds are all over our sites. So are investors, more media, not-for-profits and – based up our ever growing numbers – so are more of MHPros and MH Enthusiasts (aficionados) like you.
  1. The Cavco – Skyline dance is all over the business/market news. Some of this was quite predictable, and expect more such events with suitors for MH firms within the industry seeking to consolidate, even as players from outside the industry eye and calculate their best paths to move in.
  1. TheThink Google” report on housing trends – including MH! – in conjunction with others like – the Senior Tsunami! - is but the most recent one that ought to reminds us  why manufactured housing pros can and should be bolder and opportunity oriented. Hitting turbulence? Escape up!
  1. The multi-millions-to-billions buying spree we expect to accelerate should clearly say, ‘Manufactured Housing is Quality Affordable Living – and thus the Land of Opportunity for Forward Looking Investors and Professionals.’

The reason pros like you should think ‘bigger and more’ is because the players in and outside of our industry are planning big moves. They are putting or seeking to place their money in MH. So shouldn’t you be thinking and planning for growth too?

More on all of these in the days ahead; my thanks to those who’ve given us tips, thoughts and talking points for the items shared.

Pressing on now to the ‘welcome’ message’ for our 5th anniversary celebration edition!



The Fifth Anniversary of MHProNews.com!

The MH world is trending up for over 4 years! We’ve been part of the efforts, reporting, plans and action in support of moving UP from our launch 5 years ago. Keep in mind part of what “makes us different” is that your Masthead scribe has been in the trenches with you in MH, starting in 1981: selling, managing – owning a retail center before selling it at a profit – managing MHCs, working with lenders on remarketing repos, etc.

More recently consulting/web/marketing and sales training besides publishing.

We are as much MH veterans as thousands of you are! Maybe that’s why thousands like you vote with your browsers, smartphones, laptops, tablets and desktop browsers daily by joining us here? Thank you!

Lots of great articles below. Don’t forget to keep up with our news Daily Business News, Industry in Focus Reports, MHARR, MHI news modules too! In fact, if you haven’t toured the site in a while, please go to the home page and click those menus! Remember, another MHProNews face lift – version 3.0 – is coming!

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews(2) (1)

Kindly see for yourself why thousands of articles are accessed here every month. Most of our experts have shared timeless tips, which is why researchers are doing deep dives daily in our ever-growing online archive.


Thank you!

Many thanks for the call, messages and encouraging comments for our 5th anniversary, which we hereby share and point to the those writers and team members who make this possible! Before sharing the October line up, lets dally for a moment about our initial vision and how it has evolved.

From the start, part of our desire was to create a place where the widest possible numbers of experts, MH Pros and thoughtful writers would have an opportunity to sound off. You and I don’t have to agree on everything to have you published here. Different perspectives are healthy for understanding and growth.

As to my own commentary, let me be the first to say what some gently said privately. Paraphrasing: Some of your early commentary is okay, some better, but other parts are frankly an embarrassment. I confess, there some things I wrote that I wish we didn’t publish! My thanks for your mercy to me on those…

Thanks to wiser Industry souls who pulled me aside and counseled me, we continue to grow and evolve.

We now get routine tips from the trenches to the C-Suites and owners from large players – mid size, “mom and pop” independents to the leasing manager, suppliers or sales people!

Thank you all:

      • who followed from our launch in mid-October 2009,
      • those who have shared their talents here by writing,
      • or doing an interview,
      • plus of course to our team members, then and now, naturally!

My thanks as well as those thousands who’ve found us more recently. The input of all are valued and appreciated. If you like what we say (for example, here on the Masthead) more than those early days, look in the mirror! Pat your own back! Input from you, your colleagues, peers and our team here makes that possible.


If you don’t like what we say or publish, look in the mirror then too, because industry commentary – on or off the record input – from you and your associates is welcomed!

And Now A Word…

Naturally, we thank our sponsors and more are welcome! For those of you looking to advertise to the largest professional MH audience, a brief plug for the fact that among those who’ve praised our work are those who’ve enjoyed good results in promoting on our sites.

We’ll talk about our plans soon to help you and others grow the industry even more as we move toward 2015.

With no further adieu, here is the line up for the Featured Articles for an Outstanding October, 2014!

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 1, 2014

Alphabetically by Category


• Why the “ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE” Wasn’t ‘Trademarked’

by David Baker, JD


Have you taken the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge”? If not, you may be one of the few Americans left who wasn’t caught up in the remarkably successful fundraising campaign made popular by YouTube videos of prominent celebrities, politicians, philanthropists, everyday folks, and even hand puppets, having a bucket of ice water dumped on their head.

Read more…


• “Hello, this call is a …”

by Nadeen Green, JD


What? A sales pitch? A political robo-call? Somebody calling to ask you to donate money (again!)? A TDD call?

Say what? A TDD call? What is that?

Read more…



• Manufactured Housing Industry – Phoenix Rising!

by Dennis Hill


You don’t have to look far for signs that manufactured housing (MH) is continuing the recovery since hitting bottom in 2009. I recall Ron Thomas, Sr. saying that we had to adjust our thinking about the new MH Industry baseline. When you do that, you see plenty of reasons to plan NOW for the best possible start for 2015!

Read more…


• Quotes from Manufactured Housing Industry Leaders and A Cup of Coffee with… 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


Some of the most popular articles we have every month are from our periodic interview with manufactured housing industry leaders. “A Cup of Coffee with…” appeals to some of the biggest names in our industry, but also connects professionals from any sized operation with keen insights that can spell SUCCESS.

Read more…


• Manufactured Housing Professionals News – MHProNews – 5th Anniversary Celebration, Kudos and Quotable Quotes! 

by Manufactured Housing Industry Leaders

5th-anniversary-fireworks-wikicommons-posted-mhpronews-com-quotable-quotes-industry-leaders-50x50-.jpgThousands of manufactured and modular home professionals recall the days of the MH Merchandiser and other now defunct trade magazines; but thousands more have never known any serious industry trade journal other than MHProNews.

 Read more…


• Marty Lavin’s Comparison – The Merchandiser Magazine vs. MHProNews

by Marty Lavin, JD

marty-lavin-50Editor’s Note: For those who know Marty Lavin, you know the man has a long, storied and successful career in manufactured housing retail, finance and communities. Marty’s commentary has for years often shaken things up, including the way he does things.

Read more…


 • The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Holds their 78th Annual Meeting 

by MHI Staff

mhi-logo-manufactured-housing-institute-posted-mhpronews-com-MHI held its 78th Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona with 143 members and guests in attendance.  The event was on September 14-16th, at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa, and MHI thanks their sponsors for their support that made the event possible.

Read more…


 • A Doctoral Dissertation on Manufactured Housing and why it matters to the Industry 

by Lisa Tyler

lisa-tyler-walden-university-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-The doctorate journey is a cycle of processes that is often misunderstood. The designation of “doctoral candidate” signifies the completion of post-graduate coursework and focus on completing the dissertation process.

Read more…


• News of the New

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-by Bob Vahsholtz

New fangled news media can befuddle old timers like me, but fresh, crisp and honest? Wow, what’s not to like! I’m spending more time on Tony’s sites than my retirement schedule calls for … the stuff is hard to resist.

Read more…



 • Remember – It all started with a Mouse!

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50I only hope that we never lose sight of one thing — that it was all started by a mouse.” - Walt Disney. Disney’s legendary creativity and vision lead him to do things successfully that few before or since could have dreamed possible.

Read more…



• What does it take to Change Minds?

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


The headline is a question every manufactured housing (MH) professional worth her or his salt should ask regularly! How does one change a mind? Why is this important?

Read more…


• Get Business Exposure With Facebook Ads for Cheap

by Joe Karns

joe-karns-web-tech-social-media-mobile-web-design-email-marketing-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-latonykovach-com-50x50-facebook adsIf you are like most business owners, you’re constantly on the lookout for effective, low-cost ways to get maximum exposure for your business. Whether you are look for more leads, brand recognition, or possibly just more social media followers/fans, this strategy to get business exposure with Facebook should work for you.

Read more…


• An analysis of Norm Schultz – We need the horsepower of the RV industry 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50One of our industry friends sent in the article that follows below, with this single line message above their signature/contact info: Everyone thinks an image campaign like the GoRVing is a great idea.

Read more…


• Green Home Marketing is a Challenge

by Steven Lefler

steve-lefler-vp-modular-lifestyles-newport-pacific-manufactured-homes-mhpronews-com-50x50=I do not know about you, but I find marketing green homes to be a challenge. The public reads or watches TV shows about these unique homes and would like to see one.

Read more…



• The best day of your life

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-50Too often we get stuck in the negatives in life and fail to remember those special days, events or weeks and even years that bring a smile to our face and a warm glow to our heart.

Read more…


• ZigOn Cheating

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglar-50With schools welcoming children back from the summer break, the following message is particularly timely. The good news is that whatever we have learned we can also unlearn . . . . That’s important because, unfortunately, many people have learned some things that desperately need unlearning.

Read more…



• An Alternate Approach to The High Cost Of Low Volume Sales, or Why Doing Manufactured Housing Correctly Pays 

by Ron D’Ambra

ron-d-ambra-professional-warranty-service-corp-posted-manufactured-housing-mhpronews-50x50_1After reading Tony’s article on this subject, I was prompted to recall my retail experience, which would forever change my attitude towards a “retailer,” and his or her responsibility to maintain the integrity of our industry.

Read more…

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

Literally Historic Changes are In Process In Manufactured Housing

September 27th, 2014 No comments

Sources tell MHProNews there are visible and not-yet-visible changes in process that relate to activities in Arlington, DC and manufactured housing in general.

1) Potentially billions from capital investors continues to pursue manufactured housing communities (MHCs), that’s not new. But what may become public knowledge in the next few months – that would signal a tidal shift among factory builders – are deep pocket investors who can tilt the landscape as dramatically as Berkshire-Hathaway did roughly a decade ago.

Structured agreements and/or

  • outright purchases,

  • significant orders,

  • marketing,

  • enhanced professionalism on the front lines and

more are elements described in the mix.

2) Changes known and not yet revealed in Arlington, DC and beyond by or around the new year could – in relation to the above – see a shift in how power is perceived in the MH association world.

3) Another kind of revolution is also underway…


…and it started in part because of events allegedly triggered by so-called ‘disloyal opposition’ forces (revolt? – note, of course, they don’t see themselves that way) within an industry association.

4) Take note! Non-profits are going to make themselves increasingly felt in MH. For those who may not yet appreciate all that these organizations bring to the table, think: billions and millions. Millions in their audience reach – including the politicos of DC, states, etc. – and billions that the foundations and others who love them are capable of applying to MH related causes.

On all of the above, “Stay tuned.” Those living will see.

What can all this mean to you?

5) Public and private firms will likely be impacted by what we are being told – and common sense suggests – would follow the weather forecast above.

6) As we have a number of good sources on these matters, we think it prudent to now signal the attentive ones in MH.

This is the time for smart players to advance their own cause, individually or in concert with others. Be prepared! Because should these sources proves true (and since much of this is already known, the only question is the visibility date), the value of your business  and career  for those forward thinkers planning advancement should be expected to rise in the foreseeable term.

Hint. Remember those MH buy outs in the late 1990s?


A “deep pockets” residence.

When approached, smile and be reasonable, but don’t get greedy. These deep pocket players won’t overpay as happened in the past.  They can always turn to others. Some are even exploring new ground-ups!


7) Aggregation has been taking place. New kinds of consolidation and synergistic efforts, resulting in power shifts, are allegedly close at hand.

Factory-built housing is the future. Smart money is increasingly aware of that; they aren’t just thinking “low end” (entry level) either!  Sadly, in some cases, they may better understand MH’s opportunities than those now in the MH ranks.  

Those stuck in status-quo-thinking or backward-looking behavior will wake up oneday with surprises.

Programming note

The 5th Anniversary of MHProNews issue is going live on the home page next week (Oct 1-2). Thanks for the many kind calls, messages and quotable comments.

We treasure the opportunity to serve manufactured housing through publishing and our client work. Our sincere thanks to all who – in word and deed – make this resource and our sister site possible. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

(Image credits: WikiCommons or MHProNews)

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

Self Evident Truths and Manufactured Housing

September 24th, 2014 No comments

Let’s look at something (1) national in scope that will be surprising to many, and then push on to (2) Manufactured Housing’s own “self-evident” truths.

1) Beginning with a quote:

QUESTION: Which President said the following? (HINT: It was during his Second Inaugural Address.)

“. . . each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution.

“What makes us exceptional, what makes us America is our allegiance to an idea articulated in a declaration . . . We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few, or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a republic, a government of, and by, and for the people. Entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed . . .”

Beautiful words, aren’t they? Who comes to mind: Abraham Lincoln? Teddy Roosevelt? Ronald Reagan?

Actually, it’s none of the above.

ANSWER: Barack Obama. (End of quoted section, italics and bold added. Source, RedState email).

This was too surprising to pass up! We will revisit the above another time. Now, let’s look at something equally surprising to many or most, even among those in our factory-built home industry.


It is time to open the eyes of millions to the realities and potential
of modern manufactured homes. Image credit: 123RF.

2) What are the Self-Evident Truths for Manufactured Housing?

Can we change the image? Yes! And the timing is good. With the U.S. (indeed, much of the globe…) in a growing need for quality affordable housing, in theory, our industry ought to be well positioned for the future.

Given the needs, our industry’s appeal could easily cross all party lines. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents who have a clear picture of the issues should all favor the proper use of modern manufactured homes. Lobbying and zoning efforts would be enhanced with a better image/education too.

  • MHEC (Manufactured Housing Executives Committee – made up of roughly 53 state/community MH associations)

  • MHARR (Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform)

  • MHI’s Supplier’s Division

  • a number of businesses and professionals…

have all expressed some level of stated interest in an industry public image/education campaign effort.

Listening to an industry leader on Monday, I heard this:

Tony, 5 years ago, almost no one was talking about doing a campaign in manufactured housing to improve the image and educate potential home buyers to our advantages. Today, it is being discussed by professionals, companies and some associations, who want to see something happen in their market.”

We should also make the point that American Land Lease – which is in the process of being integrated into SUN Communities through a 1.3 billion dollar purchase agreement – is an example of a firm that made the investment in improving their image in the market place and with their residents. Don’t you think that may have helped increase occupancy – and the value – of their properties?

Image and Education are crucial for manufactured housing to reach its potential. This is self-evident. That it works and ‘pays’ is equally clear!

3) Frustrated?

Some are frustrated that we’ve not made more progress on such self-evident needs. As the poster below suggests, slow progress is still progress. We’ve seen previous naysayers now pick up the call to action too. There is a growing dialogue on such subjects, and that’s healthy.


Beyond words, action!

Speaking for our team, we made the decision over a year ago to provide a model for what the industry needs in image and education, based upon an understanding of what home shoppers are looking for, gleaned from years of work at the retail and community levels.

Real Comments from Real People who are seeing MH in a New Light

Can we successfully educate the public? Of course! Here are 4 recent comments – among thousands in the last 12 months – from readers and those watching videos on our public-focused website. Quotes are in brown.


The info really opened my eyes about manufactured home.

manufactured-home-living-news-ver2_0-laptop-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-1The next three comments from pros/investor types researching the MH field:

I (now) understand the value of manufactured homes for customers looking for an affordable solution to buying a home.  I also understand the added value of a manufactured home over a traditional build… Educating the potential home buyer and personally showing the features, benefits and low maintenance I believe would be a huge factor in selling manufactured homes


I reviewed the video’s, the various websites…That being said, the more I’ve researched, the more excited I’ve became about the product (i.e…manufactured homes), and the relevance in the marketplace! As I previously mentioned, I owned 10+ investment properties, so I’m somewhat familiar with the housing industry, and I believe (like you) that in this economy; manufactured homes will become more & more popular because of the price point (from entry level to higher end), overall quality, and investment. I also believe this product will become very popular with the “baby boomers” too (like myself).


After initial review of the “manufactured home industry”, and considering our economy, I absolutely believe that this “product” is relevant in the marketplace…

These comments are not from industry pros, but those outside of our industry!

They came after people who saw at least the 3 following linked articles and videos.

At least the first half of the video below:


…plus these two videos/articles as well.



Naturally, seeing or reading more helps. The fact that modern MH can appeal to millionaires helps shatter the ‘trailer’ stereotype in the sense that we must have a quality home if the rich and famous think our homes are trendy.” Others suddenly sit up and take notice.

Ohio and IN association’s Community Page are among the corporations like UMH.com and a growing number of others use RSS feeds and links to our sites.  Massachusetts’ Manufactured Housing Association recently added an RSS feed to MHProNews.

The above show that the start of image building and education are as easy as RSS! Make sure your team mates and members know these links and share them!

We can do (and discuss) more, later. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-by LATonyKovach.com

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

Not Knowing and Manufactured Housing’s Future

September 20th, 2014 No comments

We are over 4 years into manufactured housing’s recovery. But individually and collectively, we can do better.

It’s axiomatic. None of us “don’t know what we don’t know.” Our experiences, knowledge and beliefs either advances or limits us. One reason networking at industry events plus reading or viewing the experiences of others moves one ahead is because we grab-hold of someone’s experience that opened our mind to greater potential.

In a private meeting this week with a successful industry professional, I was told how 40% of that operation’s sales are used or new ‘entry level’ a.k.a. ‘shade and shelter’ product. The other 60% was mid-to-upscale new home sales. Some think all they can sell is ‘low end,’ but Statistical Survey’s verified the healthy volume that operation enjoys because they are willing to ‘sell up,’ not just ‘down and dirty.’

Jim Clayton told us his conviction that a person can learn “a can” do attitude. Our industry needs more such conviction, because the potential to sell more entry, mid and higher class homes is greater than most operations realize.


Proof that we aren’t close to MHIndustry potential is found in surveys reporting physical occupancy in manufactured home communities (MHCs) in the 80s or lower percentage in thousands of “parks.” High vacancy MHCs exist in areas where so-called affordable housing is scarce.

MHRetailers are struggling in areas when they could be booming. The fact some MHCs and ‘street retailers’ (MHRetailers) perform well in those same or similar markets implies others can too.

standing-room-only-2014-louisville-manufactured-housing-show-seminar-room-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com-MHInvestors who buy and fill communities with vacancies reflect the confidence needed for advancement.

As an MHIndustry consultant in marketing, web and sales development, we know first hand what’s possible.

Maybe that’s why our business development seminars at Louisville are routinely packed?


It obviously takes energy to keep a plane flying. If you cut energy (power), you decline; increase thrust and you climb higher. The higher you fly, the less energy is needed to maintain altitude.

Google’s second definition for entropy is:

2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder. Example: “a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme”

A successful professional leading a growing operation told me thousands of the industry’s business owners, managers and front line sales people had their “guts kicked out” in the last downturn. “They’re so happy to survive,” that pro said, “they are now gun-shy to reach for more.”

That echoes Dr. Gerald Swanson’s statements to MHI’s annual meeting attendees; 49% of the population doesn’t believe the recession is over. Business leaders, Swanson said, have the money to invest, but many are uncertain due to a range of issues and experiences.


Progress starts here

Progress begins when someone experiences ‘Inspirational Dissatisfaction.’ Those accepting the status quo aren’t pushing the envelope for improvement!

Those advancing believe profitable growth is possible. They’re confident enough to explore and learn something new-to-them that advances them in their market(s). The fact many accept the status quo implies the vacuum creating profitable opportunities for forward-thinking doers exists.

Human nature suggests many don’t change unless forced to do so. The flip side finds motivated pros willing to change and advance more rapidly.

We sell quality, durable homes for less. In a trillion dollar annual U.S. Housing market, manufactured and modular housing can obviously do better. Consider this a challenge to you/your associates to look anew at your market(s) total housing picture. Don’t let image, or any other excuse, hold you back.


The ones advancing today seize opportunities by lining up whatever-resources-or-talent-it-takes to succeed. Excuses are limiting. Courageous, confident vision begins greater advancement. That’s a fact, and let’s all strive to ever-more to stick with it. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

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

MH Forward Progress, September 2014

September 17th, 2014 No comments

The retail stores are already putting Christmas trees and holiday related goodies out. Congress is making their 2 week appearance in DC, to pass the CR (continuing resolution) and get some hearings and light work in, before heading home to campaign for the rapidly approaching November Elections. Manufactured housing pros are being told to expect around 63,000 (+/-) new home shipments by years end; continuing 4 years of modest gains.

But who is really talking about the fact that just a few months ago the estimates were for a total of 68,000 to 70,000 new homes for 2014? Shouldn’t we be raising our new home shipment level goals higher, rather than adjusting down the expectations?

Here is an example of why we should expect more!

Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, Frank Nothaft touts the fact that multifamily rentals are at the biggest clip in a decade, and they are being “absorbed.” With MH routinely lower in cost than rentals, shouldn’t we be expecting more sales than we currently have?

Frank Nothaft: New Multifamily Housing Units Being Absorbed 

Some in MH – besides ourselves – are saying privately and publicly, “yes!” More on that later below.

Another reason to Act Now…

Three D printing of homes isn’t happening “someday,” it is happening now.

3D Printer Pours out Concrete to Form Modular House 


The time to expand your operation’s improved marketing and sales reach is now, not later.

For those of you who have Called, Messaged or Emailed…

As previously hinted, there are a number of items we can’t yet elaborate on beyond the previously shared clues, but that you will see take place – per our sources – before or around the end of 2014. Sorry, we can’t go beyond those prior hints on the Masthead or Daily Business News, due to the sensitive nature of our sources.

But what we can give you now is a quick first-look at the 2014 Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) annual meeting.

Manufactured Housing Institute announces Executive Committee election results 


We’ll bring you a report on all of the MHI award winners and the new division leadership team members that took place. MHI added a new staff member for the CFO role, we’ll bring her photo and CV info to you soon too.

MHI’s political read on the upcoming election is for Republicans to hold the House and likely pick up added seats. The GOP is expected to gain 3-8 seats in the Senate, which today is at 55D to 45 R.

If so, that mirrors what happened in 2006 for George W. Bush, when Democrats controlled both House and Senate.

We will bring you Dr. Gerald Swanson’s economic report to MHI, which could be summarized this way. 49% of the nation doesn’t believe we are out of the “Great Recession.” But tepid growth is better than no growth, Swanson said. Further, the dynamics described in that upcoming report will spell large opportunities today and tomorrow for manufactured housing pros, given the right strategies.

Speaking of strategies…

A source confirmed about MHI what evidence has already suggested, that there is “no appetite at this time” by the executive committee to undertake image/PR/marketing related initiatives. This was discussed off-the-radar by various state executives, industry pros, MHI members and others.

Michigan’s state MH association has taken a step of getting at least one positive news story into the press monthly.

MHEC (Manufactured Housing Executive Council) has decided to explore doing something PR/image related at the state level. Corporate players are talking about doing ‘something’ too.

With sources and the evidence suggesting that MHI feels it must stay focused on lobbying and political activity, what will take place over the next few months among state associations and corporate players will be worth watching.

MHARR signaled an interest in doing something to lift sales, but so far, not much detail beyond broad-brush statements or hints favoring the goal of selling more new homes.

Forward progress?

Marc Lifeset’s article…

Is It Really Progress? Manufactured Housing Finance, Dodd-Frank and the CFPB

…demonstrated that there is forward progress. A good bit of time was spent at the MHI meeting discussing the need for CFPB to bring more clarity to the LO comp issue, hopefully in a fashion similar to what real estate agents currently enjoy.

The appraisal rule will kick into effect next summer, and discussions around preparations for that were also an important feature at the MHI annual meeting.

The industry’s political activity in DC can’t be underestimated in its importance. Again, the progress made is outlined by attorney Marc Lifeset in the article above.

But if you are looking for more marketing and sales lift, look to your state association – make your own plans – hire or team up with other business pros. Unless something surprising happens, it doesn’t look to be coming from “the nationals” any time soon. Their stated focus is lobbying, and in fairness, it is an important focus indeed. ##

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By LATonyKovach.com

(3D Image Credit: BBCNews)

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

Tempests, Teapots, Transparency and Transcendence in Manufactured Housing

September 13th, 2014 No comments

You can’t please all of the people, all of the time,” is more than a maxim, it’s reality. Once you’ve published person A, person B asks, “why not Me?” Cover topic X, someone wonders, “why not Y and Z?”

Let’s talk tempests, teapots, transparency and transcendence in Manufactured Housing (MH) news and commentary.

Tempest in a Teapot

tempest-in-tea-pot-credit-wikicommons-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-Wikipedia says a “Tempest in a teapot (American English), or storm in a teacup (British English), is an idiom meaning a small event that has been exaggerated out of proportion.” (Italics and bold added).

Being exaggerated out of proportion is more prone to happen in a relatively small industry. Covering a topic results in calls or messages of the “thanks” and “no thanks” varieties.

Sometimes people think they see something in digital print that upon closer examination isn’t there.

But misreading an article doesn’t keep some from fuming.

Ironically, this proves the power and potential to rouse found in digital publishing!


On ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com, some articles are drawing not just significant attention, but serious feedback. More than one caller – and hundreds of messages – have come in because of the NBC News video, our MH vs high winds/tornado video and Introduction to Manufactured Housing video, which opened caller’s or writer’s eyes to previously overlooked and misunderstand realities.

Manufactured homes are better than most realize, and properly installed can be superior to conventional construction in durability.

A man called who during his military career flew “many times” in C-130 aircraft. “Tony, I know first hand just how powerful the winds and turbulence can be from a single C-130.”

A skeptic about manufactured homes was now impressed. We organized facts in the second video linked above in a fashion that opened a mind.

Opening minds is a key step to selling more MHs.


A publicly traded company, an official explained, has to be transparent about news. I was told transparency is an advantage.

Good, bad or indifferent, you put the news out there,” is a close paraphrase (it might even be word for word, but I wasn’t taking notes at that moment…) “Once it’s out, then it’s done and you proceed to take the steps to move ahead.”



When someone doesn’t like some fact or comment, especially when perceived as making X look bad, the first question ought to be, did you read it correctly? What did the article actually pointing-finger-three-point-back-credit-wikicommons-posted-masthead-tony-kovach-mhmsm-com-say?

A Staples test shows misreading is common.

Another question ought to be, is someone uncomfortable about a topic pros are already talking about?  If someone is embarrassed – which isn’t the intent – why are they embarrassed?

Finger pointing routinely means three fingers are pointing back at the one leveling the head-in-sand-wikicommons-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-complaint. Don’t blame the messenger for someone else’s mistake.

Transparency suggests, “Fix the issue, move on.”

Head in the sand, how’s that working for you?

Since when is going into denial a successful business strategy? High-performance business expert Jim Collins says look at the cold, hard, brutal facts and deal with them.

Publishing a story or video revealing a previously misunderstood MH reality results in “Aha!” moments for a shopper, investor, researcher, media or officials.

That sells more homes.

Similarly, pointing out issues – even if briefly unpopular – may cause corrective measures, or keep a problem from reoccurring.

  • We know story tips are growing, not shrinking.

  • We had a record readership summer.

  • For every critique, we get more “thank you” calls/messages.

  • Your peers are voting with browsers and handheld devices by the thousands daily.

Investors, educators and others are keen on researching MH do so via our 2 online platforms. We’re good for business and associations. ManufacturedHomeLivingNews  and MHProNews  are part of the solution.

Addressing what holds the industry back helps pros and MH reach its potential!

Nor can or should we do this alone! These efforts flow from synergy between writers, sponsors, reader tips, clients and us.

Lancing the Boil

Got a boil? Lance it. Out comes puss and blood. It’s ugly and hurts. Healing follows.left_hanging_mountain-climbing-credit=periklis_ripis-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-


There is much we don’t publish, frankly because so much is irrelevant or garbage.

Once bad news or allegations are out, they should be dealt with. Blaming the messenger is wasted time.

We aren’t capricious.

  • How does manufactured housing achieve more than so-so results?

  • How do we continue advancing?

Isn’t it by candidly looking at painful issues crying for attention, while showcasing favorable facts which are misunderstood?

Vocabulary  defines this as:

Transcendence is the act of rising above something to a superior state.” ##

(Image credits, WikiCommons)

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-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

Post Crescent – Factory-Built Home Industry Struggles, and National Concerns

September 10th, 2014 No comments

The Appleton, WI Post-Crescent pointed out a state issue with national MH Industry implications. Pittsville Homes shut down operations this summer after 40 years of building modular homes. The steep drop in manufactured and modular home sales in WI was the theme of the Post-Crescent report. The Wisconsin Housing Alliance’s (WHA) Amy Bliss nobly put a better face on it. The WHA’s executive, Ross Kinzler, is among the state execs who candidly point to the fact that roughly 1/2 the states are still losing shipments.


Antonio Barcenas nailing a section for a modular home in the
Pittsville Homes shop.
(Photo credit: Gannett Wisconsin Media)

It is only the greater gains than declines in the other half of the states that keeps MH shipments overall rising nationally. But that national rise doesn’t mean that some builders, retailers and others may see their doors sadly (avoidably?) close.

There is a high cost to low MH sales volume, and a greater risk found in low volume too.

There is a rumor floating about a plan that seeks to address the low sales volume issue may be circulated at the upcoming MHI meeting; if so, let’s hope it’s a good one.

National Concerns – can they impact MH sales?

Seen the latest polls? It seems ISIS’ execution of two reporters may have backfired. Public opinion shifted rapidly in favor of taking military action against the jihadists. The immigration issue has tipped more too. Fears are rising in DC and among citizens of militant Muslims sneaking across the border to take a 9-11 style action. While home grown U.S. passport-carrying terrorists – trained in Syria – cause shudders at Homeland, is that worse than having who-knows-how-many radicals crossing illegally into Texas, NM, AZ or CA?

Think that doesn’t matter to MH? Imagine terrorist activity disrupting the Eagle Ford Shale, or any market where MH sales are actively taking place.

A security expert wrote to say, isn’t it crazy to think the Saudi’s and Israel can build effective border security, and the U.S. can’t? And isn’t is ironic to talk about the territorial sovereignty of Ukraine being violated, when the U.S. border with Mexico is violated thousands of times daily?

Comments flowing from pros like you keep us on our toes; my thanks to all who send news tips and comments, on or off the record. My thanks to the associations who share their news with us, so we can share it with you. FYI – as most of you know, comments on a variety of subjects by pros like you are found on Industry Voices. It’s read hot so far this month.

Growth! It’s happening in half the states, is there a secret to success?

The above are a few of many possible reality checks, but the fact remains that the manufactured home industry is growing.

Sun’s acquisition of American Land Lease‘s portfolio to the tune of 1.32 billion underscores the confidence that Sam Zell also expressed in the manufactured home communities sector, and thus by implication, in the industry itself. UMH is among those who have taken an aggressive growth posture, doubling their footprint in 5 years. These growth-focused firms are far from alone!


Billions of dollars are targeting the manufactured housing sector. Don’t be surprised to see a big spike hit industrialized, including modular, construction in the near horizon. We routinely see international readers – with billions in investment dollars – on our MHProNews pages. An advertiser told me about a multi-billion dollar operation that found them, here.

Investors are researching as well as periodically touching base with us with their questions. We have reason to refer those from time to time.

Looking back a decade from now, the billion dollar China-based LandSea deal that was recently announced is likely to be the tip of the iceberg. Let’s not forget that Canadians with deep pockets are among those looking with investment love at our side of the border.

Other international investors are in the hunt too. So we have domestic cash and international money seeking to find its ways into our part of the trillion dollar a year U.S. housing industry.

Lets suggest the secret for success in our industry this way. As in any profession, success flows from proven, duplicatable processes. Individual, corporate and collaborative efforts are all parallel, important factors.

No one person, no one organization has all the secrets. You know some vital things the fellows across town don’t and vice versa. In modern society, information is critical. As noted in my prior post, readers like Warren Buffett are the leaders. Want to grow more talent within the ranks of your operation? One easy tip is to encourage more reading. Not skimming, reading for understanding! Reading for opportunities…


Let’s close for today with my thanks to Howard Walker, Vice Chairman of ELS, who has thoughtfully shared a note of encouragement marking our rapidly approaching 5th anniversary.

We are getting a steady stream of daily messages – quotable quotes – from state executives, C-Suite level and other corporate leaders along with industry managers, rank and file – many which have an OK for us to quote them. These are names you’ll know, or should!

The closing point is a bold paraphrase of ROC’s tag line, better together. Sure, we may “compete” with others, but we are better off together while remaining friendly competitors. The opportunities are so vast in the U.S. housing business, the real concern is that too many are self-limiting their own potential!

What Joe Kelly calls the “buffett line” found here on MHProNews and our new (1 year old) sister site on Manufactured Home Living News are potent resources that allow you and your team members to grow through useful information. Don’t hoard knowledge, share it with your team and associates. We suggest 15 minutes a day reading on MHProNews, and thousands are doing just that here! We suggest 8 minutes a day on MHLivingNews.com, and thousands are doing that too.


> Personal Development

> Team Development

> Collaborative Efforts, whenever and where ever possible.

These are among the secrets for more MH success. Inquiring minds want to know! Attending good association events and shows like the upcoming Louisville Show are critical too.

Live networking and business deal making opportunities, combined with information and followed up with action; that’s a ticket to success that works.

So let’s not overlook the state or national challenges which are the staple of association work, lobbying and elections. But lets focus an ever greater amount of energy into understanding, applied knowledge and growth. See you in Phoenix this weekend? I’ll be posting as usual, but from near Detroit, come mid-week. ##

(5th Anniversary image credit: fotosearch)

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-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

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