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Adding Zeroes and Fact based Challenges to the MH Status Quo

March 14th, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

There is a great column by Zig Ziglar this month, that provides a true to life story about "adding zeroes" that thousands of pros in a Manufactured Housing need to read and heed. Why are we at 60,000 new homes shipped in 2013? Could – and more important, should – we add a zero to that new home shipment number?

Could YOUR location add a zero to your results?

An Under-Used Finance Program Proves it?

Before you say, 'no way,' think about that public official I invited to be on a panel at a prior Louisville Show, who provided facts that demonstrated thatbag-cash-padlocked-manufactured-home-living-news.jpg the USDA loan program alone could finance 150,000 manufactured home/land packages, if each package averaged a whopping $150,000 each.

Since we provided an article on that topic on MHProNews – and on ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com – that article has consistently stayed in the top 3% of all articles read on our site.

150,000 shipments doesn't add a zero, but that one program would add 250% to our industry's current total production levels.

Imagine, if we went from 60,000 shipments to 210,000 shipments. MH Retailers, that is doable, no need to wait for a legislative change, regulatory change, etc.. But it is only doable if you are willing to do the practical marketing and sales effort needed to make that happen!

john-bostic-president-of-sunshine-homes.jpg"Easy Doesn't Pay Well!"

John Bostick, President of Sunshine Homes, likes to say "Easy doesn't pay well" when it comes to a challenge that requires extra effort.

Let's look at some facts, and then apply the principle of "easy doesn't pay well."

Fact 1: more expensive conventional housing is outselling manufactured housing (MH) by over 10-1 in 2013.

Fact 2: recent statistics show that less than 1 out of 4 MH sales are being sold via mortgage financing vs. personal property lending, or through a cash sale.

Fact 1 and 2 clearly suggests there is room to grow new manufactured and modular home sales, but that will require retailers to worker harder/smarter to get and close those opportunities to sell more new homes.

We need those chattel deals! But MHRetailers must figure out how to do more. Because the faster, easier 'chattel loan' sales alone won't get us there.

Some are already doing what is suggested in this column. More must be considering or are starting to tap it; why else are there so many who read the article by the USDA's Mary Beth Juergens  18 months after we published it?

Who else in national MH publishing is promoting that and other legal/under-used loan programs?  Who else provides you with a much-needed study that shows how such mortgage loans perform as well as site-built housing?


We hear excuses for not doing this, or not doing that…when will more people get past the excuses and get to the action that will drive more zeroes after their digits, which go straight to their bottom lines?

Emotions vs. Reason?

Please read the brief article, linked here, laced with quotes from famous people on the topic of emotion and reason, before proceeding. You'll quickly see why, and thank you.

The Agenda?

The calls and messages about our Danny Ghorbani/George Allen related news, OpEds and guest columns keep coming in. They cover the spectrum,identifying-problem-important-finger-pointing-not-same-as-problem-solving-masthead-blog-mhpronews-.jpg most favorable, a few not and some in between. We plan to showcase an article in our April issue with numerous examples of the letters from industry pros on this subject.

For now, let me address not the many who cheer or the few who jeer. Let's address those in between who have called or written to sincerely ask, why this, why now, what is the agenda?

arrow-up-man-mhpronews-masthead-blog.pngThe MHProNews' agenda is industry advancement. Period.

Growing the industry's bottom line has been the plan and our agenda since the day we launched 4 1/2 years ago.

Would it surprise anyone if there is deep fatigue over the years of sniping from Danny or George directed at MHI?

We routinely reach out to members and executives of MHI, MHARR, state and community associations for input. But allegedly Danny has made it out to some that because we are MHI members, that must mean we are biased/working for MHI.

That's a false premise, because George Allen and Doug Gorman are MHI members too, and Danny doesn't accuse them of the same thing, does he? Danny praised us years ago for challenging the status quo, and encouraged our analysis…

…right up to the first time we questioned him on a topic.

But let's be clear, on topics like a lack of a national image and education campaign, we are among those who have asked, why hasn't MHI acted in the last decade on that front?

We ask Industry leaders in our Cup of Coffee interviews about an image campaign regularly.

The point is we are focused on the goal, the agenda of industry advancement. We can periodically raise a topic – any topic – until it is addressed.

We strive to be objective, and we offer members of this or that group – or no group – the opportunity to sound off. Who else in MH publishing does all that we do, and tries to be fair and balanced in the process?

Financing and Manufactured Housing

Besides the 'good job,' or 'thanks for writing it' messages, there are messages that don't fault our publication for covering this topic, but who still blame MHI (or MHARR, for that matter) for not stopping the SAFE Act, Dodd-Frank/CFPB mess in the first place.

Let's look at that for a few moments.

We have the exclusive, popular article from Dave Stevens, President and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA). We reached out to Mr. Stevens because he is independent of us all, and has a unique perspective. It is one that you and every industry pro needs to consider.

If the MBA lobby, the Community Bankers lobby and a host of other housing and lending players – any one of whom are many times bigger than MHI, MHARR and all our state associations combined – count not stop the Financing Regulatory Train in DC, how is it that some expect that MHI was going to do it?

Let's be fair. We should not let our frustrations, our emotions, be pointed at MHI or anyone else as if they 'failed.' They didn't pass these laws in DC, they tried to stop or reform them.  The times are tough! We need to work together to advance! It may be easy to blame this or that group. But Easy doesn't pay well.

The fact that Nathan Smith or Tim Williams from 21st said some comments in interviews that others have twisted and taken out of context doesn't change the facts! The facts are that after the Housing/Mortgage meltdown of 2008, the Congress and presidents did what they so often do.


Our Industry could not stop it, not when so many others much bigger than we are also could not stop it.

Dave Stevens' article points out exactly why we need to work TOGETHER to change the dynamic in DC! Remember, Stevens was at HUD before he took the role at the MBA. He knows both sides of the story well. My impression is he is sympathetic to the manufactured housing industry cause.

The same can be said about Bill Matchneer's article, it is an insider look from the CFPB and HUD perspective our industry needs to see. Both of these are being widely read in our industry, but even more need to do so, and understand what they are saying means to our industry.

We've seen a lot of passionate messages and taken passionate calls. We have God given emotion and reason for a reason. We need both. We need reason to see things clearly. Then we need emotion to motivate us to do what reason tells us ought to be done!

Is it easy? No. “Easy doesn't pay well.

Challenging the Status Quo

We respect the rights of MHARR or George Allen, or MHI or other associations and the many who are in no association. People can spend their money and time doing whatever they wish, within the boundaries of the law, morality (the law and morality are not always the same) and common decency.

But I'm daring Danny or George to defend their agendas, and show us what they have accomplished by what Allen himself in his own writing called 'agitating' against MHI.

Some admire Danny or George for 'tough talk.' A DC Fed wrote me this week to say, 'Danny is like a barking dog,' and 'there is not enough money in the MHARR budget'  to do any of the bold things Danny talks about. Is "barking" effective or is it leadership?

Those are not easy words to type, much less to read or hear.  But let's set the emotions aside, and ask, does that DC insider who said it make an important point?

What are the fruits of the millions of dollars that MHARR members have spent in DC in the last 5 or 10 years? List the costs, list the accomplishments. That is common sense.

Common sense tells us what is happening – or not happening – goes beyond some tough, agitating talk, regardless of who dishes out that tough talk.

It is about real action, real efforts, real results.

My sources at MHI tell me that a document is being prepared by an expert that shows exactly where we were on CFPB regs a year ago, and the progress that has already been made.

We have articles from pros like DJ Pendleton, that have said what we have accomplished in DC between MHI, Texas and other association efforts.

It is not yet enough, but there is progress. Which do you want, progress or tough talk?

Peace through Strength

Trey Gowdy, South Carolina's popular Congressman recently spoke out, essentially explaining what the steps would be for a Writ of Mandamus action to be used when the president over-reaches his Constitutional authority.

We shared the Writ of Mandamus option here as a consideration for our industry some months ago.

ronald-reagan-peace-through-strength-we-maintain-the-peace-through-our-stren ... vites-agression-poster-(c)2014-lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-mhlivingnews.jpg

The major political parties are trying to mobilize their bases for the upcoming 2014 elections. We have suggested for years here on MHProNews that we need to mobilize our customer base, not de facto ignore or fear them. Some businesses and associations in our industry already do so! But we need more to do it.  

We reach out to the non-profits, not because we agree with them on everything, but because it is prudent to talk topics through.  We have potential allies there, but some try to paint them as enemies.  On the Masthead, we see them as being pro-manufactured housing.  Let's work through the details we disagree on reasonably and together.

Potentially our greatest resource is our happy customer base! We must mobilize and work with them for the common good, because the CFPB regs harm them as much or more as those same regs harm us.


We've preached that for years, but have also gone past talk to put it to work with various community operators we've worked with over the years. Does it help? Youbetcha.  We don't just talk, we prove the point by being part of the work that produces the growth of events such as the Louisville Show.

My point in this agenda survey is to show you just why we take the stands that we do.

We don't take a position in a vacuum, nor do we take stands lightly. A position at times cost us money, because some people misunderstand a stance; that's the risk of being a balanced publisher.

But I'd be a liar of we didn't admit that there are benefits to taking a principled position, and then acting upon it. Our readership and revenues continue to rise, while others' are reportedly falling, and still others vanished entirely.

We advance because we truly do provide the

Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use  © 

We will be at Tunica, less than 2 weeks out now! Here is Show Chairman Keith Bennett's take on the huge upcoming show! Bring your business card to Tunica and a driver's license to register at the door, or most can sign up free online here. Don't miss the finance and business building seminars, linked here.


We will be at the MHI/NCC Congress and Expo! Here is their column on that topic. Or click here to sign up or learn even more. These are must do events for those who want to learn more and earn more.

We've done these events for years, and they are among the places where we meet pros like you to do face to face.

tamas-kovach-right-handing-chet-kearny-business-card-soheyla-kovach-c-mhpronews-com-latonykovach-com-mhc-md-com-2014-louisville-show-booth.pngThey are also where we are doing the red hot video interviews like the one with Nathan Smith, or others posted and linked here.

We get the interviews with MH Industry leaders because they know we may take challenging positions, but they also know we don't take cheap shots. Our Industry's leaders they know we at MHProNews are trusted by professionals like you. Here is snapshot of what others say.

Our son, "The Youngest Exhibitor," will be all dressed up for Tunica, and helping his lovely mom again (it is our son's spring break, lucky us!). Please stop by 14H at the Tunica Show's exhibit hall and say hi.

Let's add a zero by challenging the status quo. We can do better at your location and our industry at large! Thanks for being a reader and industry supporter. ##

(Editor's Note: For those who want a preview of Tony's "Dominate Your Local Market" presentation for Tunica, please click here.)

(Image credits: WikiCommons, MHProNews)

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
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