Shaking-It September for Manufactured Housing Professionals and Investors

September 1st, 2014 No comments

The earth quaked, commercial and residential construction shaked; $1 billion in destruction and damage was reported in and around Napa, CA.  4 MHs were confirmed lost, others of course had damage too. But overall manufactured housing performed well – arguably better – than much more extensive and costly damage reported in conventional commercial or residential buildings.


Note most of the surrounding MHs were okay.
Commercial and residential damage estimated at $1B.

5 weeks ago, IBHS tested hurricane force winds against conventional site-built construction and the lowest cost manufactured home (MH) in that market.  The wind ‘shook’ and ripped off the site built house’s roof, the far less costly manufactured home had only minor damage. 


We can’t let such impressive stories be forgotten!
The manufactured home on the right was Wind Zone 1,
the lowest cost home in that market, vs. a site-built house
many times the price, subject to the same hurricane force winds.

We must make sure our staff’s know these facts!
We must also remind local media, shoppers and others
anytime the timing is “right.”

Myth busting evidence has been with us for years on the quality and durability of modern manufactured homes (MH). From time to time we must shake up the status quo – our own and that of others – if we are to achieve the full respect – and highersales volumes – that MH can achieve. 

While it would be dandy to see the stars line up for a national campaign, there is no need to wait for associations or others corporate players to act. Any organization or professional with the wisdom, will and chutzpah can act in proven ways in your market(s), and thereby grow past peers who may be stuck in low gear.

Before sharing the first look at our new Shaking-it September Featured Articles and our exclusive A Cup of Coffee with...Sheila Dey interview, please look back at the Agonizing, Insightful close for August.  In our prior Masthead, we listed over 30 articles from 8 days, which broadly pointed to challenges or opportunities for more MH growth. The earthquake story cited above is linked there with others. The IBHS hurricane wind test story mentioned above is linked here.

The executive summary be: collectively as an industry, we have potentially hundreds of billions in U.S. housing opportunities. This isn’t hype, we have a 1 trillion dollar a year U.S. housing market. The opportunities for significant growth in factory built housing are real. If you get it, and your peer doesn’t, show them the link above and explain it to them as needed.

Which way will you and your team look;

  • will it be at the mud and weep?
  • Or look to the stars and leap?

Gaze into the mirror…seriously…and ask yourself how high you’d like to see your location(s) grow? Please study the link above if you haven’t already, and then take a fresh look at the market potential all around you. Okay, moving on…

16 new Featured Articles! Powerful commentary by industry experts! Proven profit-protecting-or-making insights! This is a fine way to wrap up the last month in our 5th year of publishing. My personal thanks to all of our authors and to our sponsors who make this possible.

The start of year 6 for the MH industry leading MHProNews lies just ahead! Sponsors and Millions of visits from pros like you have made us the runaway #1 MH Industry news tips and views pros can use. On behalf of our team that makes this possible, thank you.

1-mhpronews-logo-news-drop-shadow2mhmsm logo mhmarketingsalesmanagement logo

With no further adieu, let’s get started with Shaking-it-up September’s new Featured Articles.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 5, No. 12, 2014

Alphabetically by Category




• Pool and Spa Safety

by Kathleen Bianculli

kathleen-bianculli-manufactured-housing-american-insurance-alliance-aia-posted--mhpronews-com-50x50-_1While the end of summer is drawing near and pools in some areas will be closed for the season, in many areas of the country the pool never closes!

Read more…


• Architects Have a Duty of Care to Future Buyers of Condominiums for Negligent Design

by Bill Dahlin, Esq.


As reported by major media outlets, a 6.0 earthquake hit Northern California  in late August on a Sunday.

Read more…


• “Should We Be a More Aggressive Breed?”

by Nadeen Green, JD


Many if not most manufactured housing folks truly make the effort to be compliant with the Fair Housing Act and are well aware of the need to accommodate persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Read more…


• “How Sweet the Rose” – Senior Housing Communities – Advertising Do’s and Don’ts

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-50While a rose may smell sweet no matter what it may be called, names are in fact labels. Using the wrong label when you market your senior housing community to the age 55+ and/or 62+ audience might not only get you in trouble with your intended housing customers, it may get you into fair housing trouble as well.

Read more…






• A Breakthrough in Manufactured Home Loan Financing! Discover the One Step Program! 

by Jerry Bretton

-jerry-bretton-mountainside-financial--sacu-posted-mhpronews-com-50x50-In our previous report on SUN, we mentioned that Mountainside Financial has been making loans on manufactured and mobile homes for 14 years.

Read more…



• Are HUD Practices Making Manufactured Homes Less Affordable? 

by Ron D’Ambra


Let’s start by saying that, from a business perspective, MORE government involvement is not always viewed as a good thing.

Read more…


• A Cup of Coffee with… Sheila Dey

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name, and your role/job title at organization or firm and where you are based.)
Sheila S. Dey, JD

Executive Director

Western Manufactured Housing Communities Association

Read more…


• 5 Reasons for MHPros to Attend the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show 

by Dennis Hill


We could name more than 5 reasons why manufacturers and exhibiting companies as well 5 reasons why attendees from the ranks of retailers, communities, builder developers, installers and other industry professionals should be at the 2015 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show.

 Read more…


• The High Cost of Low Volume MH Sales for Retailers, Communities, Factories and others

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


We will demonstrate that the cost of not selling more homes is always high.  Capital is tied up in your inventory, location, general overhead, personnel, marketing, vacant sites, you name it, it all goes on whether you are selling a few homes or many.

Read more…


• 3rd Annual Open Space Pace – September 20th, 2014 – Freehold New Jersey

by Sam Landy

sam-landy-ceo-umh-posted-manufactured-housing-professional-news-mhpronews-50x50Dear Friends, UMH Properties and Monmouth Real Estate Investment Corporation (MNR) sponsor The Open Space Pace at Freehold Raceway September 20, 2014. The event begins with a 10:00 am parade of horses from Freehold Borough to Freehold Raceway.

Read more…


• Lead, manage or get out of the way

by Tim Connor


The world is changing at the speed of light. Everything is being touched by this accelerated pace of change. No person, entity, industry, profession, and no part of the world or any business can escape the relentless pull of the future into the present moment.

Read more…


• Knowledge is Potential Power – 4 Steps and 91 words = Enhanced Manufactured Housing Professional Success Infographic

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach


We’ll share an infographic that explains in 4 easy steps how any MH Industry professional can learn more to earn more.

Here is the infographic…

Read more…

• UnBranding – a Key to Unlocking the Door to more MH Sales?

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony-kovach-2-50Years before Palm Harbor Homes went into bankruptcy and eventually ended up with Cavco Industries, Palm Harbor ran TV ads showing beautiful, “residential style” manufactured homes.

Read more…





• ZigOn Qualities of Success

by Zig Ziglar


Dr. William “Bill” Ross was truly one of a kind and was known for his sense of humor and his zest for life. He had exuberance for living, a love for medicine, and a concern for his patients that is seldom equaled anywhere. . . .

Read more…


• Four Ingredients for MH Sales Success

by Tim Connor, CSP


There are four significant areas when it comes to consistent high sales performance. They are:

Self-image and self-esteem.

Read more…



By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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

Agonizing, Insightful August Ending

August 30th, 2014 No comments

We wrap up some tests and this month with some off the record quotes about some of the news stories that we covered the week ending 8.30.2014. About the story of LandSea, a reportedly green Chinese industrialized housing firm coming to the U.S. with plans to invest $1 billion here in housing projects, this comment from a C-Suite level corporate leader.

Will have to think on this. Dunno what to think...” about the implications of what this means to modular, pre-fab or manufactured home builders in the U.S.. Of course there were others who ran the gamut from thinking this is good news, to those being rather troubled by it.

The link to the LandSea story found in the Daily Business News (DBN) is below.

The MH energy saving makeover story was part of a storm of interest and reaction too. This may have been my favorite comment about the DBN format used this week which also saw potential positive from the MH energy makeover…

I like the DBN’s items and it makes me think how we as an industry can use it more to our advantage. Maybe if I were to pick 8-10 newspapers and send a “share” with one each week for two months it would be interesting how much got “picked up” by the local press. I love the article on weatherization improvements…

Very cool idea – influencing the influencers! We’ll be keen to hear how that goes, and FYI, we think this would be great for companies, associations and buyers groups to try in their market too. It could be done in minutes, and the impact in YOUR market could be important.


Technically, it wasn’t a story we covered at all (one of our deliberate Failure to Report decisions). But one person commented on a pair of fellows followed by a few hundred each, who must have been trying to get a rise out of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and by implication, me and MHProNews too.

Paraphrasing, ‘I like the analogy of the professional wresting tag team.’ There are some issues worth responding to, others frankly not. This failure to report incident from this week was a hoot to me, but a pro who called in said it was sad that people who claim to be leaders resort to such tactics to the detriment of those who follow them. Another said, ‘What do they have to show for their own efforts?’

C-Suite level Corporate comment about Tiny Houses, Subsidized Housing, Canadian Investors and LandSea too

We [manufactured housing] have not invested in serious infrastructure. If the big boys [companies like the DBNs about the Canadians, Chinese, etc.] come with the money and expertise you will see a revolution in how housing is built in America. We are getting much poorer as a nation and the affordable housing needs are becoming greater. People will embrace new housing solutions. Hell you have people glamorizing homes under 200 square feet.”

I’m not even going to paraphrase one of the more interesting comments that came to us, from not one but two executives in China…

…at least not today.

Thanking Us, Thanking You

The most common comment of the week began or used the words “thank you, followed by the specific item we were being thanked for. In fact, a number of stories we published as DBNs this week came as a result of news tips emailed in. Keep email address handy, it goes to our full team if I happen to be in on the road, in meetings, etc. Or you can always email, and please be patient for a response. Let me thank all of you who have connected on LinkedIn, sent endorsements, sent news tips, and of course I’m thanking our team and sponsors too.

FYI, LinkedIn tells us that you’ve made mine the #1 profile views in the Industry for the last 90 days. Wow…thanks.


For those who ask, is there value to being published? Ya think?

Those who are doing articles, interviews or even guest columns on our sites are getting noticed. Speaking of Interviews, if you’ve not read the three popular A Cup of Coffee with... from this month yet, here they are, in no specific order:

September’s interview will be A Cup of Coffee with…Sheila Dey, the Executive Director of the powerhouse WMA, which informed sources tell us is one of the top 5 associations in the nation for budget, impact and influence. Don’t miss it!

Connecting the Dots for Manufactured Housing

As noted about a week ago, we decided to do a test with the Daily Business News items. Some were a little longer than normal, or had adding in some links or other information that helps ‘connect the dots’ as to more precisely what the meaning is for manufactured housing.

Be it the shorter versions of the DBNs that Matthew Silver normally does for us, or a longer ‘connect the dots’ version of the DBNs we did this week while Matthew was taking a well earned vacation, these stories, combined with our featured articles, other blogs, reports and news are reasons why we say a minimum of 15 minutes a day is what a serious professional has to invest. We know that thousands of you are doing that already, if you are one, thank you!

These are living cases of “knowledge is potential power.”  My thanks to those who are using RSS feds to our site, to those who are having their team members sign up for our eblast or encouraging them to read, know and grow daily.

Agonizing, Insightful August Ending

If you’ve wondered why MH isn’t doing more,
look no further than some of these stories!

Here is the line up, for the DBN test we’ve done the past 8 days, sans the stock reports. FYI, many of these articles quickly jumped into the top 1% of all the articles being read on MHProNews. Because thousands of articles are accessed on our site monthly, being in the top 1% of articles means thousands of pageviews on that specific items is of interest to you and/or your MH colleagues, researchers, investors and aficionados of MH.

















(Yes, that’s Ivanka Trump on the right)















And to help connect more dots…

MH Death and Disaster, the Other Image Campaign

One caller this week said, “Tony, when you look around and see what’s available in manufactured housing industry publishing, it is obvious why your platforms are #1.”  My reply, this is only possible because we have so many supporters, writers and others who make this platform and our public-focused sister site at a reality. It’s team work!

The New Sizzling September Issue with new featured articles Goes Live within 72 Hours!

Looking forward to seeing you back here on the Masthead,  and on the pages of MHProNews and Thanks for making us #1 in both categories with your visits, shares and support. ##

(Image Credits are found embedded in the images and on each of the respective pages, linked above).


By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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

Manufactured Housing: “Ignorance Isn’t Bliss”

August 27th, 2014 No comments

While good or helpful MH news stories are growing in number, why are we still so often the housing of last resort?  Ignorance and poor experiences are “the Twins” holding factory-crafted home builders, retailers, developers, communities and all who service and supply them from reaching new record sales levels. These “Negative MH Twins” exist among our profession’s ranks, but are found more widely with the general public.


Here at MHProNews and with our clients in marketing and sales
we refer to the ‘discontent” notion above as
Inspirational Dissatisfaction.

From time to time we hear from consumers who complain about this or that; but what’s interesting is when we dig a little deeper, the complaints are often about pre-HUD code (truly) mobile homes.

Certainly, there are some bad actors in every profession and some valid complaints out there. But most in MH today realize that if you fail to take care of your customer, the disgruntled in turn blast you with their buddies, costing far more in lost business than is usually the cost for doing something right.

But even consumer discontent is an opportunity in disguise. It is a chance for jiu-jitsu.

A resident group was forming at a property. They were asking us to publish their missive against their landlord. I invested a little time, listened and then explained to them that they were better of working with management than trying to create negative headlines, which would only serve to dampen their own home’s resale values.

We shared specific examples back and forth of how residents and management ought to work together. Their last message was a thank you, and a statement saying they would strive to work with management to resolve concerns. Management said thanks, so did those residents.

Similarly, this time at an MHC property I was overseeing, we took negative resident sentiment dating back prior to our arrival and rapidly turned that into enthusiastic home owners who touted their community; that’s jiu-jitsu done in a fashion where everyone in the mix benefited.

The moral is this isn’t pie in the sky, we need cultivate solutions that are positives for MH owners and forward thinking professionals alike.

Problems, Opportunities, Solutions 

It was frankly troubling to see manufacturers willing to sound off privately, but too concerned about retaliation to speak out under their own name, as was clearly evident in the article linked below.


Some of those who contacted us where owners or C-Suite level corporate officials; off the record is helpful. But “on the record” also brings obvious value. Perhaps we need a few dozen retired guys – or those so financially comfortable – that they don’t fear speaking out publicly on touchy issues that matter to our industry.

The article above has had thousands of hits, which tells us this matters to professional readers.


We’ve all had times with a parent, a boss, public official, client, member etc. when we were not ready to speak out on something that mattered to us. We all own that T-shirt!  

So it’s no surprise that we need volunteers ready to lead via a willingness to speak out on hot topics; please let us know who you have in mind for that sort of role.

A Rival Said It

It wasn’t a best friend, colleague or sponsor – but interestingly enough – a fellow who thinks of himself as a rival who enjoys publicly tagging us who told me privately,

Tony, you had the cojones to do what others wanted to do,
but didn’t have the guts to do.”

Thanks, others apparently see merit here in tackling serious issues.  

Millions of visits after launching MHProNews – and over a million visits on MHLivingNews in 12 months – we’ve obviously dialed into topics that industry pros and/or the public at large find of interest and value.

Working Together, we are making progress!  But we could make even more strides that would tap into the trillion-dollar a year U.S. housing market, by working ever more effectively together.

Let’s borrow the phrase from the Musketeers, “All for One, and One for All.” Apply that principle routinely to MH, and watch our industry flourish.


Some just follow anyone or anything blindly. The classic example is the proverbial lemmings who follow the leader, right off the cliff, as captured in this drawing by Kaz Vorpal from FlickrCreativeCommons.


The quote below was shared with me, so we turned it into a poster, to share back with you.


An industry friend posed a question both obvious, yet profound (I’m hoping he’ll write it up). “What is it that we all want?”

Let’s use that poser to close with this thought:

“You can get out of life everything that you want, when we help enough other people get out of life what they want.”
- Zig Ziglar.

When we learn to look at other people’s concerns, needs and issues through their lens, and then share MH Solutions with their lens in mind, we’ll individually and collectively open more minds to the amazing solutions factory built homes offers. The public’s wallets will naturally follow their minds and emotions. That benefits firms of all sizes and MH professionals too. ##


By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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

Eye Opening, 8 day Manufactured Housing “Opportunitie$ in the News” Test 

August 22nd, 2014 No comments

Don’t miss out on opportunitie$ all around you! We hear from a variety of manufactured housing professionals, that too many MHPros are under-informed about the multi-billion dollar potential implications of the local, regional or national news we see or hear daily.  

So for the next week –  8 days – while Matthew Silver is on a well earned vacation,  your Masthead  scribe will fill in and give a slightly different take on the popular MHProNews Daily Business News (DBNs). For years, Matthew and Eric Miller before him selected DBN stories geared to be useful in navigating issues or spotting potential useful for opportunity-minded and forward thinking MH Industry professionals.


Step in and solve a problem, while profiting by doing it.
Photo and credit in 4th DBN linked below.

For the DBNs through the balance of August, we’ll spell out the implication of that particular story to industry pros just a bit more.  Please email me – or – your thoughts and feedback during or after this news test. We hope you’ll find it useful and eye opening. Thank you!

Here are DBN examples from today, to make the point:

Residential Eye Sores to be Renovated with Federal/Local tax dollars for Affordable Housing

> Affordable Housing Irony – Hundreds on WilCo Waiting List near MH Production Centers

> All Parks Alliance for Change Lobbying Congress Opposing Minnesota Community Owners Support for a Floor Vote on the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act, HR 1779

> From Moscow with Love: Lawsuit Advances Against Manufactured Home Community Owner

FYI, this last link is another example of the ‘bad news image campaign,’ we covered a week ago. Let me suggest as well that the “Moscow” story finds potentially profitable solutions in the efforts of forward thinking professionals, see examples below.

Solutions to Challenged MHC Properties, like the one near Moscow…

Some may call this heretical, but I think it is self evident that Sam Landy led UMHPaul Bradley, Scott Roberts, Brian Fannon, “Frank and Dave” are each among those taking unique paths to make sometimes distressed or struggling MH Communities better.

Scott Roberts is doing that in a previously abandoned and abused MHC, that he and his team at Roberts Resorts are bringing back to life a now beautiful property for residents to call home. Not only do the Roberts Resort team deserve praise, but this is proving successful as a business model.

Brian Fannon is working on a similar scenario, that Matthew Silver outlined in a DBN linked here. Please look for a more detailed story soon on on this topic!

While many in our industry’s ranks see their choice of lingo as unfortunate, nevertheless we should give credit where it is due; Frank Rolfe and Dave Reynolds are buying and improving the communities they are investing in.

A More In Depth Look at a Solution Oriented Professional

Here’s my take on the latest in our popular Cup of Coffee with... interview series, specifically an aspect of the the one with Paul Bradley. Among the keen points Paul shared, the first quote below is part of a longer reply about practical ways to boost our industry’s bottom line results:

Implicit in that is fostering a healthy home resale market – helping homebuyers buy existing stock – that is vital to every community owner. We’re doing that through home financing, community marketing and linkages to local retailers and other intermediaries.

In reviewing APAC’s anti-MH professional statement, linked again here, I couldn’t help but think about this following quote from ROC’s Bradley.


Advocates rattle cages by organizing and leveraging their political capital to level the playing field through regulatory and legal change. To some, a counter to a held position is an enemy, I get that.

To my ear, I actually think there’s more room for mutual understanding and progress than is being worked on. For certain, when people on both sides throw “enemy” around, they’re not on a path to talking about solutions.

That’s power politics and rallying the base – it’s polarizing – and we know where that gets everyone. On the other hand, ROC USA is a developer-type – we understand markets and business and we stay focused on business issues, on getting the job done. We work in the market, preserving MHCs through resident ownership.”

(Editor’s Note: Bold emphasis added above.)

MH News that is Trending!

While it isn’t part of this news test, let’s mention again to the report below, which has been trending as a Read HOT in the Daily Business News.

Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use

If you aren’t one of the thousands already signed up for our free emailed news updates, please click the link below and sign up free in seconds.

News for some is just entertainment or a distraction. You can certainly read the news for any reason you want, but we believe that a close look at the housing, economic and other news in our nation implicitly points to the value we in manufactured and modular homes provide millions. Stay informed. Teach your team to do the same. Everyone has a role they can play in the industry’s profitable advancement. ##


By L. A. “Tony” Kovach

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

The Big Picture, MH Puzzle Pieces and More New Manufactured Housing Home Shows?

August 20th, 2014 No comments

There are times when industry veterans understandably ask us one or more elements of the following, given the:

  • U.S./Mexico border crisis,

  • the “recession,”

  • the FEDs pumping dollars into the system to keep stocks and the economy going,

  • Ferguson – MO,

  • China, Russia, ISIS and radical Isalmists,

  • drug wars,

  • the war on coal,

  • DC gridlock,

  • an ever more imperial presidency,

  • ObamaCare,

  • stagnant jobs,

  • mega-multi-national corporations moving offshore to avoid U.S. corporate taxes,

  • regulatory over-reach,

  • huge deficits and debts

  • and many more such U.S. domestic or foreign issues,

how do we possibly think little old manufactured housing can get its act together in such a tough regulatory, political and economic environment and thrive once more?

Interesting questions (there are many more like those, spanning the political spectrum) indeed. Touching on only one of these now, is the recent report that if you take Texas job creation out of the total U.S. jobs picture, the nation is still net losing jobs. Ouch!

sam-zell-chairman-els-equity-lifestyle-properties-manufactured-home-communities-mhpronews-com-MH Solutions?

While we are happy that MH is on a 4 year growth in shipments, those who say that shipments are still far too low, here on the Masthead, we concur. We as an industry should and can do much better. So let’s point to interviews with billionaires Sam Zell or Jim Clayton for powerful insights on issues, like those in the bullets above.

Revisiting what we published – linked above – from Sam Zell last year, you’ll see his concerns about the dollar were correct. We are seeing a new basket of currencies taking shape from international economic rivals. These threaten the dollar’s reserve currency status. The threats to the ‘property line’ and other issues Zell raised also continue.

But what did ELS Chairman Zell say? Didn’t the chairman of the largest MHC operation in the world strongly suggest that once you understand MH, there is no reason to lose confidence?! Didn’t Chairman Zell also indicate that you can position MH and factory home building well, regardless of what’s happening in the economy?

As they say in WI, youbetcha.


Still credit from video interview produced by
Click link below or photo above to see the video.

Jim Clayton Videos

We have reasons to feel good about virtually every collaborative video we’ve done this year. That said, please pardon me for drawing your attention anew to the two Jim Clayton video interviews, because of the many golden nuggets shared by a sharecropper’s son who grew to be the most successful retailer, lender and builder in the MH Industry. We routinely take our own advice. I’ve personally watched and listened to Jim’s powerful insights many times.

Want solutions to grow and get past the current sales levels? Please take the notepad out – paper or digital – watch and listen to Jim Clayton while making notes. Imagine you’re in a graduate level seminar, because you’ll not likely get this much quality insights from a legend as we brought you, thanks to his gracious willingness to share time and experiences.

Note that while Clayton Bank’s Chairman sounds off with numerous concerns, such as regulatory over-reach, Jim also has strong confidence in the future of MH. Like Sam Zell, both continue to invest in MH!

I’m betting on MH’s future along with them, how about you?

The interviews we share are packed with insights that every independent, every mega company and all in between ought to dial into! IMHO, Jim expressed his concerns for the nation and free enterprise, the political landscape, etc.. But he did so with a tone suggesting there is a way to deal with these issues. Quiting is the only option off the table.

There are also profitable ways for MH to benefit from these issues.

tim-williams-CEO-President-21st-mortgage-corporation-sepia-tone-masthead-blog-manufactured-housing-pro-news-Tim Williams, 21st Mortgage

21st Mortgage CEO, Tim Williams, raised the image of the industry’s members as a fraternity. This is more than just a nice phrase!

At the end of the day, that is precisely what we need to be thinking about, how to forge a renewed collegiality. Big, small or in between, we have more that unities us than ought to divide us.

It takes time for people to dial into and embrace that change in mindset. But is it happening? Slowly…perhaps, but we think, yes. It is and can accelerate.

More New MH Home Shows

Among the comments that came in this week was one suggesting that manufactured housing ought not do any more home shows. Such public displays, that industry veteran who wrote me suggested, burns into the minds of the public the images of a house on wheels. Okay, let’s look at that thought.

We are huge believers in showing digitally (online) showcasing our industry at its best, with articles, videos, graphics, photos, etc.. We and other forward thinking sponsors put our time, talent and treasure where our mouths are on that topic. So you’d think I might agree with the ‘lets drop the home shows’ notion? Not at all.

While some may buy a home from online articles, photos or videos, most have to see what they want first-hand. They need to touch, feel and experience it in person. That requires either a trip to an MHC, a MH retailer or a MH home show.


Thousands came out in the rain and cool weather to see modern manufactured homes
at the Eastern Ohio Manufactured Home Show.

We applauded then and now the efforts of Tim Williams and the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association and their sponsors for their home show. We need more home shows done correctly, not less. We applauded what Nancy Geer and the NY Housing Association did with their Factory Built House on the Hill.

We should also not expect perfection out of the first or even second such efforts; human nature being what it is, getting the logistics and feedback worked out usually takes some time. Yes, it also takes money, to refine details making such efforts yield the maximum profits. That’s just business reality!


So we applaud Ken Anderson and the AZ MH Association for their plans to do a home show in 2015, and for Steve Lefler/Modular Lifestyles, Mike Sullivan at Newport Pacific and Sheila Dey at the WMA for their “off the grid” Quest home at the California State Capitol this week. We’ll bring you more details on these – and other such efforts – that give public officials and the home buying prospects of tomorrow a chance to see our homes anew.

Yes, homes at MH shows must be properly displayed and promoted. The Tiny House Movement is a reminder that we in MH have a communication problem and an education issue (internal and external). Tiny Houses are often on wheels, are ‘trendy’ and they have their own TV series, for goodness sakes!

Does anyone who knows the facts, is objective and goal oriented think that MH can’t do as well or better?

About our popular Daily Business News report on HUD and Regulatory Over-reach:

This article linked below has quickly jumped into the top 1% of all of the 7500 plus pages accessed on so far this month. Pros go where the subjects interest them, and this one obviously does.

HUD Code Manufactured Home Producers Want Regulatory Fairness and Stronger Congressional Oversight

Among the messages in after the Daily Business News report was published:

This sounds a little “over-the-top”, but certainly has some substance. I spoke with one of the third-party inspection firms last week, and they are probably as concerned as manufacturers, as opposed to co-conspirators looking for increased fees. You might want to make contact with them to get their perspective…It’s also probably true that the new regulations have a greater impact on the most affordable segments of HUD-code production, and less on the higher-end…”

Let me stress that every comment we’ve quoted, we used the respective industry pros own words, editing out in a pair of instances minor ‘tells’ as to the writer’s identities, which they certainly did not want revealed. These edits removed some word(s), did not change the meaning of what was quoted.

Among the more robust replies:

Well done and the inside practical scoop!” “Bulls-eye!” Or “Go, Tony, Go!” Or  You are becoming the voice of the industry.”

FYI, we reached out again to HUD for an on-the-record comment, we’ll let you know what takes place once Pam Danner is back in the office.

That said, let me thank all while politely modifying the ‘you are becoming the voice’ comment above. YOU – our readers, writers and supporters – YOU are the voice of manufactured housing!YOU are an MH ambassador! Mine is another face in the crowd, we are proud to give YOU or others a popular digital place to sound off and make a difference!


Let’s close with the following. While epiphanies or 9/11 type events occur that cause huge overnight shifts, most of the time, change is a process.

One of my favorite industry’s pros, that very few know, but whom I respect and learn from a lot, is a fellow who keeps sharing Jim Collins success tips. He urges me to keep pushing at the flywheel. In turn, let me encourage you and your colleagues to do the same. Because the big picture – properly understood and responded to – makes our picture look not perfect, but quite hopeful. Our opportunities are many.

We are better working together. That’s the thinking of a growing number of MH Pros, how about you? ##

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 aka aka

MH Death and Disaster, It’s The Other Image Campaign

August 15th, 2014 No comments

The following 7 bullets are all actual headlines, a small sampling of their kind from this week.

  1. Suspected arsonist charged in car, mobile home fire

  2. HEMET: Son charged in parents’ deaths at mobile home park

  3. Armed woman barricaded at Castaic mobile home park

  4. Boy struck after trio flees mobile home park

  5. Des Moines trailer fire causes at least $25000 in damage

  6. 10 years ago, Hurricane Charley turned away from Tampa Bay…”Residents of Windmill Village mobile home park near Alligator Creek sit in the shade of what’s left of their damaged clubhouse…”

  7. 3 bodies found in mobile home; gas leak suspected

Murder! Mayhem! Fire! Death!


Lets look a few moments longer at the story from bullet #7, quoting in brown below, from click2houston, a story from Tomball, TX.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

SPRING, Texas -

Police say three people were found dead Wednesday night at a north Harris County trailer.  One other victim was transported to a nearby hospital.  According to authorities all the victims were children. 

When firefighters responded to 8500 Scotch Pines Place, they found a smoldering fire inside the trailer home.  According to Klein Fire Chief David Bessolo, carbon monoxide levels in the home were seven times higher than what firefighters consider a “danger level”. 

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says the Klein Fire Department and Harris County Fire Marshall’s Office will be handling the investigation. “

black-eye-credit-wikicommons-posted-masthead-blog-mhmsm-com-Anyone who has used Google Alerts for MH sees lots of news items like these, day after day. These are the local news stories that create the impressions which gives us an avoidable black eye, costing our industry billions of dollars a year in lost sales.

The Other Side of such News “Stories”

In the Houston area story, what is utterly unclear from the “news” accounts given is – what caused the ‘smoldering fire’ that lead to the apparent deaths from carbon monoxide?

  • Where kids burning something they shouldn’t have?

  • Would the same problematic activity that killed those youth have just as tragically occurred in a site built house or apartment complex?

Far More Murder and Mayhem…

The reality is there are far more crimes and tragedies taking place in conventional housing, but that’s not how the media typically opts to tell the tale. We don’t hear or read ’3 youth tragically died in a site built house when the fire they set in the kitchen reached critical carbon monoxide levels.’


Often in the mainstream media, the unspoken rule is, ‘if it bleeds, it leads.’  The story noted in the bullets above, from TampaBay, stated in part:

By the time it was done, Charley had killed 10 people and caused more than $14 billion in damage, making it the third costliest hurricane in U.S. history. It was the first of four hurricanes to clobber Florida that year, a nightmarish run of bad luck.”

What their report didn’t state was that after $50 billion in damage from windstorms that year in FL, the Bush Administration was exploring how modern manufactured homes built and installed to the new wind standards did so well. 1600 modern manufactured homes, properly installed, where hit that year in FL; none were lost.


The IBHS hurricane wind study we reported on demonstrated that 80% of the damage done to manufactured homes in wind storms was caused by improper add-ons. The side by side photos shown on that linked page demonstrated that the site built house didn’t do as well as the least expensive HUD Code manufactured home in that same market!

free-vector-clipart-credit-thinkstock-posted-masthead-mhmsm-com-We have the Answers to all these tragic tales of crime and woe! But will the MH Industry Robustly Share them?

At the pinnacle of the top stories viewed last month on MHLivingNews  included the IBHS hurricane wind study. Every one of the negative stories local media often pounds on have good, solid, fact based replies!

Studies are available on fire safety being superior in a modern manufactured home than in conventional ‘site built’ housing.

In my experience in supervising the management of 7 to 17 MHCs, we learned about how effective resident screening was. We asked the local police for crime reports.  Our crime rate was lower than the surrounding neighborhoods, where most of the conventional houses sold for 3, 5 or as much as 10+ times as much money.  

Seasoned, level headed industry pros know such facts to be true.  So why are they still almost “a secret?”

The solution to the Death and Disaster, “negative MH image campaign” is amazingly simple. We have to tell our side of the story – plus share the good news about manufactured housing – when negative stories are told.

We also have to tell our story effectively.

We should also shine the spotlight on any slip-shod media coverage, while praising the media when they do a good job telling the facts.

Related Segue

On a related note, Marty Lavin tell’s me he’s getting a steady stream of comments (we are too…) about his Exhaustion Sets In  guest column. It’s been a hot read!  Our midweek reply…

Is Marty Lavin stirring the MH pot again?

…is running at a similar pace for readership and is driving even more readers to his witty and candid comments.

We collectively have the solutions. The reward is an ever growing part of the trillion dollar annual U.S. housing market.

We either define ourselves, or others will – tragically – define us to our detriment, which costs us billions of dollars annually. Have you done the math on how much that de facto negative image campaign cost you? ##

(Image credits: click2houston, WikiCommons, NBC News Today Show and thinkstock vector clip art)

la-tony-kovachBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

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

Is Marty Lavin stirring the MH Pot again?

August 13th, 2014 No comments

We all do it. Mistakes have been, are and will be made daily. Even billionaires make them, but what sets them apart from us (besides their account balances) is the fact they strive to learn from mistakes.


It’s obvious from our eMail bag and calls that some of you love Marty Lavin and his witty candor. Others are strongly opposed to what he says or fall somewhere in between. No surprises there! For those who’ve asked me words to the effect, ‘Tony, you do know that Marty appears to respect your can-do attitude, but that he disagrees with you that a more robust industry recovery will get done sustainably, right?’ Yes, that was understood prior to publishing Marty’s Pensées.


Agreeing with Tony has never been required here.

Healthy, spirited discussions are good for all!

Speaking of spirited, here is a publicly shared reply to Marty’sExhaustion Sets In.

Call me sentimental, but IMHO, Marty’s not being pessimistic. Rather, he’s trying with facts and humor to make the industry learn from past mistakes. That’s multi-billion dollar thinking.

As usual, private and for publication feedback are welcome.

Now, lets consider a common sense, proven path ahead.

Affirmation + Good Information = Manufactured Home Evangelists

Apple created raving fans – Apple ‘Evangelists’ – an important element of their success. Apple marketer, Ken Segall, made it Insanely Simple. Get people to love your product/service and they’ll bring you more customers.

Can that be successfully applied to manufactured housing? Of course. Some of our clients and other good companies are already doing it.

Stating the obvious can bring clarity. Affirmation + Good Information = MH Evangelists.

Not many want to be known as “trailer trash.” Duh, right?

So affirming manufactured home (MH) owners in their lifestyle is a no brainer! In touring a lender through a client’s clean, one star MHC, I made the point this was the Ultimate in Affordable Living. That lender looked at me and said, “I never looked at it that way before.”

How we say what we say matters!

MHC Residents and MH home owners deserve to be affirmed. They ought to feel good about where they live!


The same principle applies to MH employees, be they building the next MH on the factory floor, keeping the grounds tidy at an MHC, in service, delivery, installation, sales, office, management or investors.

Affirm MH owners, residents and MH professionals, lead them into being Gung Ho MH Evangelists, and a large part of the battle for going mainstream and selling millions of more manufactured and modular homes will be accomplished.

This is done by sharing the truth in positive ways.

Evangelize everyone…

The doctor, accountant, teacher, media, public official, retiree or low wage worker all must be MHEvangelized.

Take a Fresh Look

With that backdrop, look as if for the first time at MHLivingNews. What do you see?


1. Affirmation of MHLiving.

2. Showcasing the famous or wealthy – which is affirming and intriguing to all – who live in MH.

3. Any form of digital communication can be used. Articles, photos, cartoons, posters, videos, infographics, social media, etc.!

4. We showcase the positive, and re-look at negatives in ways turning bitter lemons into lemonade.

Everyone in MH can benefit

Clayton, Cavco or Champion all want to sell more homes. So do small to mid-sized MH independents. This applies to every retailer, MHC with vacancies, lenders, vendors, services and suppliers, etc..

The magnetic attraction of MH trade shows can be echoed for the public There are some 144 operating MH plants. If 30 sponsored the equivalent cost of putting one or two multi-sectionals on display at a trade show, we can fund more videos, staff, stories and reports with happy home owners, supportive public officials, industry pros, etc.. We’d influence media and politicos ever more. That would result in selling million$ in new MHs.


MHEvangelism informs and fire-ups MH pros and consumer base! Give residents the address via your company’s Facebook page or in print newsletters. Make sure your members and associates logon, learn more and earn more.

As a parallel path, we attract conventional housing renters, shoppers and buyers.

“Don’t tell me, don’t sell me, show me!”

1 million visits in under a year at can’t all be wrong! Companies we coach use that site to close more sales. This isn’t theory, it’s a case of don’t tell me, show me.

We attracted visitors without a big budget, using no Google Adwords, etc.. Good content, organic searches, links and RSS feeds worked. In fact, the annual budget for Manufactured Home Living News has been smaller than sums a serious MHRetailer or MHCommunity may spend on ads monthly at 1 location.

So imagine what can be done with a real budget. Imagine millions visiting monthly… and since we don’t sell homes, they’ll find thee.

Marty, They Vote with their Time, Talent and Treasure

Nature abhors a vacuum. We either define ourselves, or others will define us. We have a great story to tell, but we must tell it well and often. Apple, WalMart, McDonald’s, RVs and automakers are among scores promoting and defining themselves daily.

As more MHPros learn to attract and successfully engage customers with cash or good credit, we’ll sell more financeable people. Fear not change, the credit challenged will still come too.


If Marty Lavin ends up “correct,” look in the mirror.

For true MH believers – as we are by investing in the de facto MH image and education platform – proven correct by sound action, we’ll celebrate with MH home owners all the way to the bank. ##

la-tony-kovachBy L. A. “Tony” Kovach


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

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