Forbes and Research by Investors, Home Shoppers, Public Officials, Non-Profts and the News Media on Manufactured Housing

July 29th, 2014 No comments

Just as you, I or a colleague might go online to research a restaurant, product or topic, obviously the same happens with investors, news media, government officials, non-profits, educators and the public when it comes to housing and related issues. We'll begin with an example to illustrate a concept, then spring-board to make an entirely different point about those seeking to know more about modern manufactured homes and our many appealing advantages.

Forbes reminds us that some 6.1 billion man-hours are spent complying with tax laws annually.

Janet-Novack-posted-on-mhpronews-comJanet Novack, on Forbes staff as writer from D.C. about tax and retirement policy and planning, stated in 2011: "In her annual report to Congress today, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson branded growing tax code complexity as the most serious problem facing both taxpayers and the Internal Revenue Service and called on Congress to enact tax reform and then institute a regular “sanity check” over future tax code changes."


Image credit Wikipedia and Forbes.

A study by eBizMBA says Forbes reaches some 65 million unique visitors monthly! I've accessed Novak's interesting column 3 times in the last week, plus on some three other occasions in the last two years.

So given the tens of millions who read Forbes, would it surprise you that at 3:22 AM, upon my re-checking their story, there was only 6,700 total visits to that specific page? Last week it was 6,694. The latest screen capture looks like this…


Image credit = Forbes.

Don't Just Tell Me, Show Me!”

Now by contrast, on the story of manufactured homes in the recent IBHS hurricane wind tests in South Carolina, the just over 1 year old site has in less than a week experienced 36,390 total hits, per the report Generated 29-Jul-2014 07:28 CDT.

Rank     Hits     URL (web address – Note: Rank 1 & 2 are direct request and the home page)

















Readers online go where their interests take them!
The insights from the top 8 pages 
being read provide valuable insights for the open-mined MH researcher.
Facts per Webalizer.

Regular readers here know there are a number of myths and misconceptions about manufactured homes. The Forbes  tax topic and housing wind storm tests are apples and oranges! Nevertheless, taxes and related policies touch us all. So imagine, more have read the report on manufactured homes (MH) vs. conventional houses hurricane wind-test story in under a week than read Novak's potent tax report in 4 years!

Both Novak's articles – and ours – will continue to rise in readership. As the top specialized MH trade publishers, we have growing readership and the largest audience of its kind. So 6 months from now, how many tens of thousands more

  • public officials,
  • media,
  • investors,
  • educators,
  • non-profits and
  • potential home shoppers will have seen the report on our sister site?


CityScapes at Carthage Mills,
Boston and other cities…are you listening?

How many more manufactured homes will be sold because of the article? How many more:

  • loans and insurance policies will be originated,
  • commissions paid to sales people or bonuses to management,
  • vacant MHC sites occupied,
  • transports and installations done,
  • Floor dues and membership fees will be collected by associations,
  • services, warranties, components, supplies, appliances sold,
  • and MHIndustry stocks or other investments will occur due in some measure to the added influence that one article may have made for our industry?

Based upon experience, we know certain topics are likely to resonate more than others for MHIndustry readers, followers and aficionados. This topic is one of them! Notice that the #4 ranked topic in the listing above is our tornado video (note: that popular video now needs updating – it should get a Louisville Show style video upgrade!).

So you see that when a topic catches the public's mind, it causes related ones to gain more attention too.

Now multiply the impact beyond wind storms of issues that are drags upon the MHIndustry. By showcasing facts that change perceptions, we can make a difference that will sell more homes.

To rephrase…

We are either defining ourselves or others will define us.

Reporting and Good Story Telling

Professional insights like Janet Novak's are part of what brings me back to Forbes, where I found their quote for today…

To live is not to learn, but to apply. ”
— Legouvé

…it's time to learn AND more robustly apply the lessons of digital trade media for advancing MH! This is about MUTUAL victories for all involved through MUTUALLY beneficial topical reports and analysis!


Kitchen in a Buccaneer model home at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.

Forbes and others

When we publish a story and name Forbes, someone from that publisher and perhaps others over time will read this column.   That's de rigueur.

When IBHS or NBC's Today Show were named in reports here or on MHLivingNews, someone checks to see in what context their name was used. Ya think others in the media will too?

“Mais oui, bien sur!” Or “yes, to be sure” as they say in France, one of the 140 nations around the globe researching and discovering potential investment options in America here on MHProNews.

Slowly and steadily the drip, drip, drip of positive and more accurate information about our industry leads to more understanding. That's a win for all in the mix, starting with our home owners.


Solar, near net zero “Santa Fe” Model, by Modular Lifestyles.

Texans Do it, You Should too

The top state in the nation for new manufactured homes shipped is routinely Texas and has been for years. There are many reasons, but you have to figure that Texans and their association are doing a number of things right.

Ponder that as you consider this from their 7.28.2014 emailed news update, shown in brown, below:


Today Show Airs Wind Test on Manufactured Home

The Today Show aired a report on July 23 of an IBHS Research Center wind test done in a South Carolina manufactured home facility.  Tony Kovach with did a great write up which you can find here as well as the Today Show video which is located here.

NBC's Today Show aired a report this morning of an IBHS Research Center wind test done in a South Carolina facility on manufactured homes; one showing a properly installed carport and the other view was of an improperly installed carport. There was also an Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) test performed on two site built houses, one built to IBHS Fortified House standards, the other one, not. – See more at:

NBC's Today Show aired a report this morning of an IBHS Research Center wind test done in a South Carolina facility on manufactured homes; one showing a properly installed carport and the other view was of an improperly installed carport. There was also an Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) test performed on two site built houses, one built to IBHS Fortified House standards, the other one, not. – See more at:

For those who don't yet know, is the same as

The point is the TMHA grasps the keen importance of the wind-storm topic for MH. They did more than just share the Today Show link. TMHA shared the commentary that places their video into context! Do you think that will lead to more MH sales over time?

Do Texans ride tall in their saddle?

Google Search Tests Reflect Proven, Practical Results




Of course, different search keywords and phrases would yield a different result. Here is another one, also done today at the time (ET) shown.





Mutual Benefits from RSS and Cross Linking


The MHIndustry has to 'own' and play a role in correcting the public perception!
Showcasing the facts on association or business websites
- as is shown above and below -
are simple yet important part of that process.
That can start with something as easy as RSS.


A brief segue, Programming notes…

The Glass of Beer with… Barry Cole  interview has been hot, and I hope to see hundreds of you when Barry is inducted into the RV MH Hall of Fame next Monday. Barry deserves it, as do the other inductees.

We will have three new A Cup of Coffee with… interviews among our featured articles for our rapidly approaching August issue, which will go live on our home page at the end of this week.

  • Bill Matchneer, JD, formerly with HUD and the CFPB, is returning again. FYI, we've already logged more hits on his featured article this month about possible voluntary HUD standards for fire sprinklers than Forbes - with their millions of readers monthly – has had total on Novak's important tax column above. Do you see the implications of these facts?!
  • Tim Connors, CSP, a multi-decades presenter, facilitator, trainer and coach to dozens of factory home builders, in our first interview with him. Learn about this author of 80+ books, and gain powerful insights to paths ahead for MH.
  • Paul Bradley, president and CEO of ROCUSA, who we pummeled with some challenging questions, you'll not want to miss what he has to say about them! Paul handles hot potatoes like a pro, and you'll see why this leader's organization continues to grow.

Today's Wrap Up

There is an utter necessity for our industry's members to know the facts shared in the reports linked below and above. While these and the links on our sister site have been “read hot,” please make sure your team knows the contents of this backwards and forwards. That benefits your operation or organization, because the added insights ultimately result in more homes, products and services sold.



Image searches are growing in importance.
Every image save the last one above are on the MHProNews or
MHLivingNews websites.
The last image on the bottom right
and the least favorable – is on the IBHS website.

When your MH association or business adds an RSS feed on your website that points to MHLivingNews, web experts agree more good routine content brings you more return visits.  PLUS – as you saw in the screen capture above the RSS feed can result in more people finding your site as a result of certain google searches.  A simple RSS feed – installed in minutes! – that caused UMH, Louisville, the Indiana Community's page and others to turn up on page 1 of that Google search.

The point is that Together, we advance faster and farther.

Together, we are fueling the four year recovery of manufactured housing.


The interviews we did with Industry legend Jim Clayton, are linked here

In the next few years, with the right touch, millions may discover what savvy industry pros have long known. America is crying out for quality affordable homes! The nation needs what we offer.  Given time and by sharing the right information, public policies will tend to yield in favorable ways.

Can we accelerate this acceptance of MH? With the proper effort, sure. As more pros pull Together, we can profitably speed the process. Mutual Support yields Mutual Benefits!

Please thank our sponsors and writers for their support of our critical mission to advance the proper understanding and cause of modern manufactured housing in America and beyond.

As you've see above, others are watching, reading and learning about MHIndustry topics at MHProNews and at MHLivingNews. Inquiring minds want to know. Together, we should take the next steps to advance MH image and education with shoppers, investors, public officials, news media, non-profits and all others. The rewards for doing so are bringing new investors into our industry. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

Conventional On-Site Construction vs. Manufactured Home Wind Test Follow Up

July 25th, 2014 No comments

If you missed the report in the prior Masthead blog post on this week's IBHS hurricane wind test on houses, please read that now, before proceeding.

Thanks to feedback from MHPros, we've now posted a new and more public focused article, with additional facts at this link:

which has side by side photos – like the one below – and other facts you can share with anyone in the general public, local media, public officials or other industry pros.


The roof tears off at under 100 MPH on the site built house, but
holds in a Wind Zone 1 Manufactured Home.

Now, let's share one of the off-the-record comments that have come in from pros like yourself.

Not being an engineer, I never thought about the attachments causing  the problem. I think this is great news. Since I have been in the M. H. industry I have had to deal with the high wind topic. Now the question becomes, what are we going to do with this info? Why was this only being reported on one station? How can we get the word out? I challenge the industry to act while the iron is hot!”

ronnie-richards-2-mhpronews-70x70-retired-american-homestar-prior-texas-manufactured-housing-association-chairman-Ronnie Richard, recently retired industry veteran from American Homestar, and prior Texas Manufactured Housing Association chairman, posted this public comment:

Great for the industry but for a casual TV viewer I'm afraid all they saw were the visuals of an MH being destroyed. It would be great for MHI to get the B roll and produce a professional video with more emphasis on the structure that did not fail.”

An off-the-record comment, from yet another respected and successful industry leader:

…knowing the media, which, in my opinion, favors site built housing, they will only show the MH’s that were damaged.”

Indeed, the bulk of the visuals in the NBC news report did focus on the spectacular failure rather than the more amazing site built house failure or the success of the manufactured home that had the proper attachment.

Or how about this one:

As far as marketing and MHI, I don't think that is really a priority for them plus budget is a problem, I'm sure. Producing this video is a no-brainer to me.”

Ron-d-Ambra-posted-on-mhpronews-com(2).pngAs part of a fact-packed and thoughtfully detailed guest column we plan to publish soon, Ron D'Ambra, System Built Sales Director for Professional Warranty Service Corporation, said this.

…I do believe the proper additional information should have accompanied the testing and the article…to assure readers that the article was indeed accurate and based on the industry's construction standards that are in place…to assure every home-buyer the steps taken to protect their property and investments.”

In other words, Ron suggests that more background and facts would reassure both existing and prospective buyers of the quality of modern manufactured homes. Good points!

I won't quote, but will paraphrase a number of comments on the manufactured homes that were tested. A number of sources told me that the homes were purchased from a retailer and represented the least expensive manufactured home available in that market.

Let's think about this last point, which begs many questions, but also calls for a strong statement.

If that's true, here we see a far more expensive site-built house failing, while the least expensive manufactured home that had a properly attached car port didn't fail. Amazing!

Let's close with part of the first quote:

Now the question becomes, what are we going to do with this info? …How can we get the word out? I challenge the industry to act while the iron is hot!”

On the Masthead, we couldn't agree more.

This is yet another time for the industry to step up and act. Why not have a group of companies and/or associations sponsor a new video, all who do get their logos on it, etc.. An MH INDUSTRY Video. Do a professional one, like we did at the Louisville Show. Why not include interviews with key people in that video?

Why not get the story of a hurricane and tornado survivors in MHs into it? They are out there, as the article linked above on MHLivingNews proves!

That's about as powerful a message as we could get today that flies in the face of the common misconceptions.

Such a video could make weather men, media and public officials think again.

A good video would cause some who wrongly 'fear' our homes to better understand, embrace and buy them.

Indeed the industry needs to act while the iron is hot. ##

(Photo credits are stills from the video by NBC News' Today Show.)

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

Manufactured Home outperforms conventional site-built house in hurricane wind test

July 23rd, 2014 2 comments

NBC's Today Show aired a report this morning of an IBHS Research Center wind test done in a South Carolina facility on manufactured homes; one showing a properly installed carport and the other view was of an improperly installed carport. There was also an Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) test performed on two site built houses, one built to IBHS Fortified House standards, the other one, not.


NBC's Kerry Sanders, right, was on site for this report.

At first glance, it might seem that the manufactured home's roof failed, but as NBC's Kerry Sanders pointed out, the failure was the direct result of the flawed carport installation. The photos below, with credits to NBC's broadcast of 7.23.2014, demonstrate the 'right and wrong' way to do a carport installation.


In slow motion, the carport roof gives way and then created a gap
that allowed the wind to get under the manufactured homes roof.

Julie Rochman, IBHS CEO explained the significance of the test, while Dr Tim Reinhold – Chief Engineer at IBHS, explained the differences in the style of the two carport installations.


This second still shows the carport ripping over the MH roof,
creating a gap and opening the home's roof up.


80% of the serious damaged done in a hurricane study on MHs were due to add-ons,
like a carport, rather than structural failure.

The NBC News report's insights dovetails nicely with the first video posted on the page linked below…

…which also shows a site built house leveled in well under 30 seconds (my watch made it look like about 8 seconds), which was caught by a video camera in Iowa.


Julie Rochman, President and CEO of IBHS.


Chief Engineer, Dr. Tim Reinhold, was on site for the test and explained to NBC's Kerry Sanders
some technical points that allow for the proper installation of a carport to a MH.

Sanders stated during the news report that some 80% of the manufactured homes seriously damaged in a hurricane were caused by improperly attached structures, such as a carport. This is a wake-up call for all who sell and install manufactured homes with a carport or porch cover, etc.. Better get it done right, or as Sander's said, “It's a case of Pay now or pay (more) later.”


Similar winds ripped the roof off a conventional house (left),
while the Fortified House design sustained the high winds impact with only minor issues.

We know first hand from years of working with consumers and coaching MHCs and MHRetailers that one of the single biggest 'fear factors' prospective manufactured home buyers have is due to the false impression manufactured homes fail during a tornado or hurricane.

Yet in 2004, the year 4 tornadoes hit FL, of the some 1600 manufactured homes that where hit which were built to Wind Zone III and the new FL installations standards, all survived. That occurred in the same year when over 50 billion in damage was done to commercial and other residential property, including older pre-HUD Code mobile homes or manufactured homes built to pre-Wind Zone III standards.


Properly installed manufactured home and carport resulted in only minor damage.

Overall, the IBHS test showed that a manufactured home that is properly installed and has no improper attachments to it perform as well or better than a conventional house in high winds. This report deserves a serious MH Industry commitment to making this into a high quality video that summarizes the facts and presents related ones, like the wind test showcased on, linked above.


This is how the winds for the test
were produced, over 100 fans configured
to simulate hurricane winds of up to 125 MPH.

American Modern Insurance and MHI both deserve credit for being engaged in this effort, and IBHS deserves it too for doing what certainly seems to be fair and balanced testing.

More details on this test are found at this link:

The lessons from this are many, and the potential for this at improving the MH image with the MH owners, consumers, media and public officials are strong.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Let's make sure that this is a test that is followed up! We plan to reach out to IBHS for more details, watch for updates here on and on ##

(Photo credits are stills from the video by NBC News' Today Show.)

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

Subsidized Housing – Our Secret Enemy?

July 18th, 2014 1 comment

Let's begin by stating that those who favor subsidized housing, or other programs for lower income households, routinely do so with “good intentions.”  The questions that ought to be asked are many, but we will focus on why manufactured housing professionals ought to sit up and take notice of facts, challenges and “opportunities in disguise” posed by federal, state and local subsidized housing programs.

The CBPP Says…

According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities ( 2,161,468 low income households are receiving Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) in 2013. CBPP also asserts that: “Private owners across the United States received $16.6 billion in HCV assistance payments in 2013.”

“Private owners” means private business owners.

Let's drill down on these facts for the next few minutes.

Millions Divided into Billion$ Means…

Take that $16.6 billion and divide it by the 2.16 million who are getting HCVs. That's an average program cost of $7,679.95 per household a year. To rephrase, that's $640 monthly. You might think, “that's rather modest,” right? But what is that getting someone with the HCV, maybe a class c apartment?

In the U.S. today, there are an estimated 420,000 vacant MH sites. $344.03 is the 15 year payment on an 8% APR loan of $36,000, which could be the financed amount on a modest 3 bedroom 2 bath single section manufactured home in many U.S. markets. While the site fees on thousands of MH land lease communities with vacancies will certainly be above $300 monthly, there are thousands of MHCs that have that monthly site fee or less.


Now let's take a different look.

One could also take a $40,000 home-site and $40,000 single section home combo as the financed amount on a fee simple purchase at 6% for 20 years (yes, lower rates and longer terms are available, but we aren't using a full PITI analysis in this calculation either), which would yield a $573.14 monthly payment.

The point is instead of giving billions in subsidies to private citizens and corporations, a similar amount of money could be used to pay the monthly payment on an modern albeit modest single section manufactured home and a home site.  Please see the graphic below as an example of such a home.

2,161,468 lost sales at $40,000 = …

Do the math. That potential 2,161,468 in MH sales @ $40,000 each represents $86,458,720,000 in lost business to those who sell new manufactured homes. As industry pros know, modern MH is lower in initial cost, more energy efficient, safer against a fire and lower cost to maintain than a comparable footprint conventional house.

Let's say our MH Industry manages to hit 70,000 new manufactured homes this year. So 2.16 million possible added orders would be about a 30 fold increase over current production levels.  More to the point, it would be spread out over years, and this alone would take us back to historic production levels.


We need to take a fresh look at many federal, state and local
programs that either harm or benefit the public and our industry.


The Manufactured Housing Institute uses the number of 1 HUD Code manufactured home = 1 job. So that 2.16 million homes would be 2.16 million jobs, almost all of them 'new ones added' to the U.S. economy.  

Public Policy

Which is the better public policy? To rent people a unit, or to help more Americans become home owners?

There are studies that suggest the many social and economic benefits which flow to households that are buying their home versus those who are only renting.

Further, which makes the most sense? The rental market is tight now. Why should we economically support via tax dollars rentals? Doesn't it makes more sense to support new manufactured home construction with those same dollars in private-public ventures? Supply and demand suggests that more new MH sales could also help lower rental housing rates.

Clearly, this is a broad brush and we could take a poke at the above, one already being suggested: all the nuances of PITI (Principle, Interest, Taxes and Insurance) were not factored in. Another is that we don't have a figure at hand for what the federal program overhead is on HCVs. But none of that undermines the premise. This is meant as a discussion starter, not a definitive 5 year study for Harvard or Yale.

Other benefits

Just as we brushed past program overhead and all the costs – such as full PITI, energy and maintenance analysis – we also swept past clear victories such a new look at existing program outlines.

For example, we could remind readers that manufactured home owners tend to stay in their homes longer than conventional home owners.  Also, at some point, the loan is paid off. By contrast, there is no end in sight for rent, until one manages to moves out of a subsidized apartment and finally makes a housing purchase.

Nothing's Overnight, but a Longer Term MH Vision is needed

Our industry is not alone in needing a longer-term vision. Corporate America, as one expert I was listening to recently said, is so focused on the next quarter that this investor wondered how many had a serious 5 year business plan?

We need to take a fresh look at ourselves while simultaneously helping tens of millions of Americans, public officials, the mainstream media, investors and non-profits better grasp the many benefits and opportunities of modern manufactured homes.

Common sense as well as the facts favor today's manufactured housing. Almost everything we buy or use comes from a production facility – “a plant.” Even conventional construction is mimicking on-site what we in factory home building do, because much of what they do in so-called "site-building" was actually 'pre-built' in a factory and assemble on location. Increased production of a goods or service tends to keep costs down.



Its a Phenomena!”

Ron Thomas Sr. – Chairman of the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF), Chairman of the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show and award winning founder of Rona Homes – is great at turning a phrase. “Manufactured housing, it's a phenomena!” Thomas passionately proclaims.

Ron Thomas is correct in saying that precisely because MH is “a phenomena,” we need to look at it with new eyes. We need to better grasp all the angles and nuances.

The deeper the open-minded go, the more they understand that old mobile homes are not modern manufactured homes and the more there is to like. Former site-builder Stacey Epperson – who once hated old 'mobile homes', now embraces modern manufactured housing – through her not-for-profit and for-profit efforts.

The just published, exclusive version of a new Foremost Insurance report on manufactured home owners and trends provides even more facts that help MHIndustry pros make the case for a better appreciation and understanding of the value we've brought to millions of Americans.

Subsidized housing is the tip of a huge iceberg. Those billions can clearly be better used.

A trillion dollar annual U.S. housing market is begging manufactured housing pros and investors to step up to the plate!  With over 10,000 seniors retiring daily, with millions making less than they did 5 years ago, today's manufactured homes are poised to shine. We need to see the opportunities and develop the steps needed to make them happen. ##

Download HCV Fact Sheet

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

Warren Buffett, Sam Zell and Legendary Quotes from Manufactured Housing Leaders

July 16th, 2014 No comments

Let's let each of these leader's voices speak on the subject of manufactured housing, then we'll share some implementation commentary.

"Kevin, it seems to me that the problem with your industry is resale." - Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, parent to Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, etc..


"Pencil Head, it's not a trailer park." - Sam Zell, Equity Lifestyle Properties (ELS) Chairman.



"Learn, Earn, Return."

"A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong." – Jim Clayton, Clayton Bank and Clayton Homes founder.


"Only the economic distortions caused by well intended but out of control government programs could have made our industry such a loser for the last decade." – Sam Landy, CEO UMH Properties.


"In prior years and I continue to be today, a staunch supporter of a MH industry generic advertising campaign.

Unfortunately we were unable to gather the various segments within the MH industry to agree upon a method of funding the campaign and what the campaign should be about.

Even today only a small segment of the population can tell you much about the MH industry and the wonderful homes the industry builds. The rest of the population doesn’t have a clue about our industry, except for the image of the down trodden trailer park.

This must be changed and can only be done through advertising.

The example of AFLAC is interesting. Prior to the AFLAC advertising campaign featuring the duck, their name recognition was 5%. Since the campaign, their name recognition today is 95%. Consumer’s perceptions can be changed." – Leigh Abrams, prior Chairman, Drew Industries.


"The biggest challenge I see is the continued onslaught of intrusive government regulation of all facets of our business, especially in financing. We offer by far the best answer to this country’s affordable housing dilemma, but government continues to saddle us with regulations that stifle us.

The frustrating part is that none of these so called “consumer protection” rules help protect anyone. The only thing they prevent is buyers getting an affordable home without a hassle. I mean how is preventing a MH salesperson from taking a credit application doing anything to protect the consumer? All it is doing is making access to an affordable home ridiculously difficult." – Don Glisson, Jr., Triad Financial Services.


We could share much more industry commentary from each of these leader's voices. There are scores of other thoughtful, successful professionals – a number of whom are linked here – that we have "on the record" at MHProNews. These leaders, professionals, legends and others continue to hold or increase their stake in our industry, which should speak volumes.


For the purpose of showing what's needed for a robust MH Industry advancement in a trillion dollar annual U.S. housing market, the selected comments are sufficient.

  1. The Jim Clayton quotes point to the need and value of a can-do attitude, servant-leadership and training.
  2. Quotes from Sam Zell essentially and Leigh Abrams directly are addressing the MH image issue.
  3. Warren Buffett's quote identifies a key need – a more effective resale system – that would boost financing, image and sales of pre-owned – and thus new – manufactured homes. We need MH lenders and home owners to be able to exit their homes in an easier and more rapid way that protects home values, more akin to what Realtors (r) do for conventional housing. We have a good start with some internet platforms, but more needs to be done until that resale 'exit' becomes easy and cost-effective.
  4. Sam Landy and Don Glisson, Jr. each point to how over-regulation has harmed us and the value of our homes. Glisson, MHI's prior chairman, says a lack of cohesion between the industry's national associations – he worked to bridge that gap – has hampered the cause for our great product.


In the late 1990s, your Masthead  scribe invested 3 years in the RV industry; at 2 retail centers and at a resort/getaway campground operation. The records show that all three grew significantly during my marketing and sales training work with those operations. What I gained from those experiences was fantastic, so while an award, leaps up in Statistical Surveys, kudos, thank you letters, etc. are nice, I'm grateful.


We're doing marketing, sales, management consulting and training in MH. I share the photo, awards, mention kudos and recognition earned in manufactured housing, RVs, etc. to say this isn't a nice-sounding theory, this is proven, practical, profitable experience.

Reality Check

Unlike RVs, Automotive, Real Estate, Apartments, Tech or a host of industries we could name, you can't just say "manufactured homes" and expect a proper recognition of the product for what it truly is.

Reality check:

> That's an opportunity in disguise for those willing and able to adapt!

> For those stuck in the mud, it's a slick spot.

We don't need just 1 thing to breakout beyond currently modest new home shipment levels. We need a number of things that when implemented consistently are proven to raise results. Those are summarized above by pros with millions or billions successfully invested in our MHIndustry.

Greater MH Success routinely comes when:

  • Professionals
  • Businesses
  • Associations
  • Home owners
  • Digital publishers ( and and
  • Other pro-industry and interested groups (not-for profits, educators, media, public officials)

…get ever more on the same page in order to tap the incredible power of manufactured housing for the good of the U.S. (and other lands) in an 'everyone wins' fashion.

That's not just feel good, that's lucrative for businesses and investors, it's this good for associations and most importantly, it's good for MH home owners! When we make the value proposition for MH home owners and MHC residents ever better, our businesses and investments will be enhanced too.

In two previous columns, we

> laid out why we can be doing better, see the facts and graphics in the link below:

> A simple way to fuel that advancement.

It should go without saying that an industry (or a nation) needs to produce ever more product to achieve growth. Every other industry gets that, and so they invest in their people and marketing.

In fact, studies show the vast majority of our owners ARE happy! Yet collectively, MH doesn't do a good job of letting most Americans know that reality.

Cohesion and The Digital Age offers the Solutions

As an industry, we have the talent, tools and experiences needed to solve the challenges that would maximize our multi-billion dollar opportunities. We should take a "Partners in Progress" approach.

The training and the messaging needed can be done online for modest sums, and the ROI would be significant for those who step up and lead. Would you invest a dollar to get a $1000? Apply that principle to a regional/national campaign. Its a no-brainer.

> Every organization that supports the Partners in Progress could be given access to levels of training equal to their contributions. This is necessary, because the big cash and good credit customers are sold differently than the desperate 'we have no other option' home seeker.

> Imagine enough minor-mid-major players coming together to pool some marketing dollars and content on – a hub for B2C communications, which in turn sends customers back to the industry's members. As more of the public 'gets it,' more will buy.

> Imagine using that hub plus live encounters with Realtors  ®, home builders, investors, public officials and others keen on housing to showcase what modern factory home building really means to a nation crying out for quality affordable homes. We can thus engage them in the resale and related process.

> Having more DIY, how to, decor, landscaping and other feel good columns on MHLivingNews that would cause MH owners to say, "Yes, that's me! This is a good life, come and Join Us!"


Over 90,000 views on this video, as of 7.16.2014

> Picture the site as dealing with negative news items. Like our basic tornado video, linked here, which sales pros have told me they've successfully used with customers 'on the fence.' Continually building and using a pro-industry platform will cause a growing number of media, public officials, investors, pros and buyers to "get it."

A reasonably supported two year campaign would end up attracting the Home Depot/Lowes/Menard's and droves of others outside of our industry to advertise for our cause. Why? Because furniture makers, household goods, computer and tech gear sellers, travel industry, investors, educators and others will see that money saved on housing could be used in other ways to improve the lives of those in our manufactured homes.

Not theory, proven realities!

Picture those who in their own ways have or are breaking past the old mold, here and there, from coast to coast.

On the consulting side of our operations, I've personally worked with select pros who stepped beyond their respective pasts to achieve levels of results they never experienced before. Client work is confidential, so we've redacted the specific name and location in the retailing results collage below.


Closing analogies

A pilot in training isn't placed in the cockpit of an advanced military jet fighter. You first teach them the basics of the single engine prop! Or if you take a pilot who has only flown a single engine propeller aircraft and ask them to fly a helicopter or jet, first, they have to be trained for that new experience. Until the training is embraced and becomes a part of their skills, the trainer doesn't let them fly solo in the chopper or jet!

"Low hanging fruit" might be on the ground and have a worm. The athlete knows that new effort brings stress and pain. But no pain, no gain.

A brighter future awaits YOU in YOUR market. It requires changes that may seem painful at first. The rewards for leaving a comfort zone are more sales, more happy customer, more profits. That's what Steve Jobs at Apple did, listen to his associate Ken Segall. That's what we do, you can do that in your market(s) too.


When MH Industry's legends – as quoted above – and so many others point the way, we ought to believe that we can do it.

To learn more, support or get involved in “Partners for Progress,” please email or call at the contact below. Working Together, we can do it. There's a bigger slice of a trillion dollar annual U.S. housing pie waiting for those ready to step up. ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

America’s Secrets Revealed and MH

July 11th, 2014 No comments

Secrets. Media reports tell us Chinese Communist hackers get them from business and government. Edward Snowden revealededward-snowden=wikicommons-mhpronews-mastheadblog- secrets. Some secrets are meant to be kept, others ought to be outed.

The secret seeping out – albeit slowly – into the mainstream media is that manufactured homes aren't mobile homes. That building homes in a factory makes sense. In fact, more investors, educators, not-for-profits and officials are waking up to the valuable role manufactured homes can play in alleviating the growing affordable housing crisis in the U.S..

Speaking of China, according to information we see at MHProNews, we could wake up one morning and find ourselves in a foot race to control our own affordable housing market. We've sounded off before on the potential threat to U.S. factory builders if China or Japan enter our market.

Sadly, while readers have taken note of the risk of overseas competitors, we keep getting messages complaining that those in a position to act have not yet done so. China has shipped MODs to 80 nations! How long before we see them here in the U.S.?

Paraphrasing a fairly common thread we get:

"Tony, don't they (leadership) realize MH could grow faster? Don't they realize the same thing could happen to U.S. factory home builders that happened to U.S. automakers?"

Let me say, I'm happy to get comments – including often helpful – off-the-record ones.

There are times, though, when some industry pros seem to believe we can snap a finger or instruct this or that professional to do X. We can raise an issue, we can send a link to a published article, but we don't claim the ability to force anyone to do X.

That's not to say there's no "power for the digital press" to influence thought, words or deeds. Of course there is, but it's safe to say that any positive result is best done through collaboration, via team work.


Don't Let a Crisis…

"You never want a serious crisis to go to waste," said Rahm Emanuel, then President Obama's chief of staff. Please don't misunderstand, the quote doesn't mean I'm a closet Rahm Emanuel fan. But his quote is insightful in many ways!

  • 1) It revealed what the Administration's thinking is in the face of a crisis. Use it. They routinely do.
  • 2) The crisis quote also suggests that we MHPros, investors and aficionados ought to take a page from their crisis play book and use this current affordable housing crunch to advance Our MH Agenda on behalf of potentially millions of consumers, business owners, executives, associations, employees, managers and professionals.

Partners in Progress!

In conjunction with a growing number of sponsors and MHPros – what we ought to call "Partners in Progress" – are working with us to build the manufactured home industry's de facto image and education campaign.

Rather than moan or complain, we're saying,


we know the way,
we're going and showing the way.

That's Partners in Progress.

Mirror Mirror…

While some are looking or shouting about 'who to blame,' let each of us start with the long, honest look in the mirror. Ask, "Am I part of the solution?" Then remember, griping or finger pointing isn't solving.

Whose first on first? Does that matter?

In baseball, someone might be the "first on base" during a big inning. Okay, fine. But when three singles lead to loaded bases, andcecil_fielder_1996-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-com- then the batter homers, everyone scores.

Drip, drip, drip…

Digital publishing isn't for the faint of heart. It's not for those who lack a long term commitment. Anyone who thinks that a single article or showing an ad one time will change the world is dreaming! Look at McDonald's, they advertise daily across the media spectrum, and that's how they stay in their market's leadership spot.

But in our world, every drip, drip, drip of good content, every back-link and RSS Feed is a way to get more love from Google, YouTube, Yahoo, Bing or others.

Many would say it's BORING to watch water drip, drip, drip from a faucet. Who wants to stand around to watch the glass, pot or bucket fill? But with those drips over time, a once empty vessel DOES fill up! Patience and persistence pays off.


(Image credit, Flickr Creative Commons)

The growing proof for the revelation to the

  • public at-large,
  • non-profits,
  • educators,
  • media, and
  • public officials

is found at Analog stats report tells us that since the launch on Fri, May 17 2013 at 2:37 PM until
Fri, Jul 11 2014 at 8:10 AM (419.73 days)

there has been:

General Summary

Figures in parentheses refer to the 7-day period ending Jul 11 2014 at 8:19 AM.

Successful requests: 4,257,900 (117,906) 
Average successful requests per day: 10,144 (16,843) 

A “request” can be a page, image, ad, video or whatever. Since we – the Partners in Progress – are promoting the MHIndustry in a positive way via the digital media platform, almost any request is a good one.

Stating the Obvious

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We've started that journey to change our image and educate others 419 days ago with The same principles that make a:

  • trade show such as the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, or
  • an association or
  • – the industry's runaway #1 industry trade media platform – a success can work to make our long overdue industry image and education campaign a success.

A growing number of companies or organizations are providing RSS feeds to the image/education site. The most recent – and an extensive one! – we've been told about is:

The Ohio Association's site does it a bit differently, see their bottom right-of-center column. UMH has their RSS on the bottom left, and on this date at 10:57 AM ET, it looked like this:


Another robust example is the Louisville Manufactured Home Show Site. See the bottom left module for their extensive feed!

The point is this, RSS – short for Really Simple Syndication – allows ANY site to get 'free content' which is good for the site, but also good for the site providing the feed. RSS can be installed in minutes.

Studies show people surfing a site who are considering if they want to return look to see if content is being added. Sadly, way too many MH sites look or are 'static.'

An easy way to improve traffic to YOUR site is to add an RSS feed, and the fringe benefit is that it boost the industry's image.

A Rising Tide…

…lifts all boats. Please. Let's stop the fretting over petty details that historically has kept too many pros from acting at all.

Partners in Progress. That's the ticket. It can be as simple as a win-win RSS feed, or more robust as a sponsor. You could be a writer who is a contributor. You can send us news tips at this link. One or more ways to do something.

The work has already begun. CBS News, The Boston Globe and others are picking up and paying attention. The more we work together, the more the tide will rise.

Some secrets need to be outed. If you are tired of manufactured housing being America's best kept housing secret, do your part to change that in a positive way.

15-minutes-daily-mhpronews (2)

Closing thought for today, MHProNews is having yet another banner month! We had 2,013,332 page views on our site in June, even with a long holiday weekend, we're on pace to do similarly in July! Readers like you keep us #1, thank you.

It seems that MHPros are heading the call to have owners, managers AND their team members spend a minimum of 15 minutes daily reading and learning more to earn more, plus 7 minutes daily on

Together, we advance. That's no secret! ##

(Editor's Note: In case you missed it or need a refresher, there are statistics, facts and charts on the page linked here that underscore why the manufactured home industry can grow far beyond the current levels.)

(Image credits as noted on the file, most are courtesy of WikiCommons)

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

Association Takeover?

July 9th, 2014 No comments

You know the maxim. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Thanks to reader tips, at times we've played a communications and/or other role in heading off certain developing issues. The following is shared with a caveat emptor in mind.

We must first tee up this topic with a disclaimer, and then dive in.

Journalists ideally want at least two sources to help confirm the accuracy of a story.  At times, that second source isn't possible.  In those cases, other 'tests' ought to apply before certain accounts are published.  

Let's acknowledge up front that this account has only one direct source.  We didn't seek this topic or timing out, it was brought to MHProNews.

That said, for reasons you'll see, we think the allegations that follow have the ring of credibility, and thus ought to be shared with the stated disclaimers in mind.

We Provide, You Decide ©.

Association Leaders, Please Circle Up

1) Background. Roughly two years ago, we know that a pair of gents began to plan a "take-over" of a certain manufactured housing state association. They accomplished their "mission" about a year later.

One of the 'associates' of that pair gave MHProNews a heads up, alleging that said duo have what amounts to a list of other associations they've also targeted for take-over.

Further, it's claimed they have the tacit support of a salaried association leader in said effort. That's significant.

2) Besides targeting the take-over of more MH state associations, among the groups said to be on that list is the NCC division of MHI. If that's accomplished…

…connect the dots.

3) In a sense, this isn't 'new,' because the reason this has the sound of credibility to those who know is because one of the duo is said to have already taken a stab at such a take-over by resorting to the proxy process, thwarted by an appeal to bylaws. A number of industry pros witnessed that event, myself included.

4) State and national association executives and officers ultimately are called to do what their boards instruct. By taking enough seats on a board, of course a take-over can be engineered. That doesn't have to sound conspiratorial, this can be quite legal because it's the democratic process in action at the association level.

5) What's interesting about this allegation is they've internally named certain states and groups as being more "vulnerable" than others for a take-over. A possible method/strategy how this could successfully be executed at the national level was also expressed to MHProNews.

The message to their closest followers is a variation on, 'they' (those in control of a given board) 'aren't delivering results,' or other alleged personal slights, with no substantive wrong-doing being claimed.

6) The irony is that some of the associations theoretically 'threatened' (if that's an apt term…) do have positive results they can point it, here's an example, courtesy of Marc Lifeset, JD.

7) Stating the Obvious can be powerful. Votes matter, so turn-out matters when votes are to be taken. A low turn-out means that those who get their base of support out, win.

One could say more, but that's a sufficient heads up for those involved.



We had a different Masthead planned for today. Sometimes, a Masthead blog post is planned in advance, but circumstances suggest the need to pivot. That's the case today.

Baring some other development, we plan to return here to a fact-based discussion of what it will take for more profitable and robust growth in new manufactured housing sales to occur.

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow…

Let's close on the "association take-over" subject by saying what various board members and execs already know – and what the alleged take-over artists are counting on – that some are more vulnerable to take-over than others.

What is noteworthy, after checking with a few seasoned veterans before publishing, your scribe put the following to each: how likely or possible is it that more such association take-overs may occur, if a serious effort was made?

The common reply, paraphrased, 'It's doable for the determined." (See 7 above).

The caveat emptor?


The irony is the duo allegedly making the promises they hope will result in wooing the votes needed for more association take-overs, said promise-makers supposedly have never themselves delivered on what they claim to be able to do.

The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. ##

(Editor's note: news tips, letters to the editor and OpEds are welcomed at, or verbal news tips can be made by calling 863-213-4090.)

(Image credits, WikiCommons. Posters and content © 2014 by Lifestyle Factory Homes, LLC)

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: | | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: 

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

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