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Affordable Housing – Fleetwood, Champion, Clayton – Genius of the Christmas Story

December 22nd, 2018 No comments

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Depending on who’s estimate we accept, there’s some 550,000 to 660,000 homeless in the richest nation on earth, the U.S.A. As rents rise, so does homelessness, says Zillow’s research, which supplied the higher homeless count. With some $22 trillion dollars spent on “Great Society” programs as of a 2014 Heritage Foundation report, one must ask – how much waste, fraud, corruption, and ineffectiveness is there at the federal level alone?

 

The U.S. homeownership rate doesn’t place us in the top 40 nations on earth, how is that possible?

And it’s almost Christmas.

The genius of the Christmas story is so vast that it can’t be fully grasped in any one article, or book. It can be viewed in a variety of accurate ways. Suffice for now to note that Mary and Joseph were home-owners, not per se ‘homeless.’ Rather, they were traveling when the couple finally found shelter in a stable.

What sparked their journey, so late in Mary’s pregnancy? Because the Roman Emperor Caesar had mandated a census count for tax and other purposes. They had to travel to Bethlehem, because it was mandated by imperial decree – their law.

The carpenter and his family experienced what it was like to be homeless. For what Christians call the “Holy Family,” that stable they sheltered in for the Christ child’s birth may have been in a cave.  For thousands in towns like Los Angeles or San Francisco, it may be tents, a cardboard box, dumpster, or a sleeping bag. The ‘luckier’ homeless in the U.S. are living in vehicles, not designed for residential purposes.

Why is it so in the U.S., two thousand years after the birth of Jesus?

There are many causes, of course. Here on MHProNews we track, research, follow-the-money, and report our findings daily on certain aspects of news and view that routinely relate to the broader issue of affordable homes and public policies.

The Holy Family weren’t Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green, Socialists, Communists, or any other political or special interest group – which isn’t a slur on any of the member of those groups, just a statement of fact.  But with so many who claim to be Christians, it’s no wonder each of those political groups’ leadership periodically gloms onto the moving Christmas tale, spinning or weaponizing what occurred for their own purposes.

Rather, the Jewish Joseph and Mary were faithful, non-partisan, working-class people.

For thousands of years, there’s been dictators like Caesar, or shrewd (unethical) business people who’ve rigged their scales to give less than what a buyer bargained for.

Before there was Clayton Homes in contemporary manufactured housing, there was what we should clearly state is the OLD Fleetwood Homes and PREVIOUS Champion Homes that were affordable manufactured home builders. The old Fleetwood and Champion of the 1990s were in a race to buy up chunks of the industry in their day.  The two firms often paid hefty premiums for retail locations, hoping thereby to increase their market shares, also thereby narrowing the distribution networks of competitors products.

As Warren Buffett observed in an annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders that in 1998 Fleetwood, Champion, and Oakwood – then the Big Three of manufactured housing – has some 44% of the market. According to data from the now defunct Manufactured Home Merchandiser Magazine, the top three that year – Champion, Fleetwood, and Oakwood – produced 172,723 of the 372,843 total HUD Code manufactured homes shipped that year, or 46.3 percent of the total.

By 2017, it was Berkshire owned Clayton Homes that had some 50 percent market share, although they claim in their annual report that it was ‘only’ 47.7%. Unlike the old Champion and prior Fleetwood, Buffett’s brand Clayton Homes didn’t overpay for retail outlets, factories, or anything else.  Rather, Berkshire’s subsidiaries bought locations, loans, and businesses at a discount – a ‘value’ – as investors understandably call it.

There are numerous questions that should arise from this outline.  For example, two decades ago – when it was Champion and Fleetwood that dominated the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) – how different was it from how the Berkshire brands in manufactured housing dominate MHI today?

Community owners didn’t feel well represented in the old MHI.  So, they forged the National Communities Council (NCC) side of MHI. There are MHI/NCC members – some from the large companies – that tell MHProNews that they still don’t feel well represented. Is it a surprise that a new national MH Communities association is coming to birth?

Among resident groups, there are squabbles and contests too. GSMOL, for example, wags a finger at MHAction, saying the later are taking credit for things that the GSMOL accomplished. On the professional side of MHVille, the independent producers’ Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) similarly asserts that MHI often takes credit for things that MHARR or others accomplished. Interesting, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, there are thousands of professionals – and millions of residents – all trying to earn an honest living. Their struggle is often more about battling systems that are often arguably “rigged” by the “big boys” against the smaller businesses and the masses of workers and retirees whom they seek to serve.

Then, millions more trapped in rentals that one protest leader said was “too damn high.”

But negative media like the problematic Netflix series the “Trailer Park Boys” fuels stereotypes that cause many to never consider what the GAO, NAR, Fannie Mae, Ford Foundation, HUD, and other third-party researchers called the most affordable, permanent, and safe – yes safe – new homes in America.

Inaccurate stereotypes, the propagation of misleading information, stigmas, and corrupted, rigged systems all are contributing factors to the tragedy of over a half-million homeless and relatively low rates of home ownership in the U.S.A. today.

Scales, information, and systems are usually rigged in order to cheat the many to benefit a few. It was so thousands of years ago, and it is similar so today.

But angels reportedly sang at the birth of the child Jesus whose birth into a sinful and corrupted world we celebrate on Christmas.  Wise men came from afar bearing gifts to curiously see first-hand what that star over Bethlehem was all about.

We are wise when we ponder the deeper meanings of the Christmas story too.

As we bring or open our gifts for each other, let’s remember that a greedy and power hungry few are working to manipulate scales, information, and the masses, for their own benefit. That’s arguably why there’s still so much poverty, and why millions in America are trapped in Mr. Potter’s rentals, and don’t own a home.

 

Affordable Homes, Warren Buffett as Mr. Potter in Christmas Classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

 

May the inspiration of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus enlighten our minds, hearts, and hands to do whatever is just and good. Because the honest actions of the few – then and now – can uplift the many, inspire the wise, and bring out the good in others.  The honest truth always what sparks change for-the-better in our world.

Merry Christmas to all. ## (“We Provide, You Decide.” © ## – (News, Masthead commentary, and analysis.)

(See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them. Third-party images and content are provided under fair use guidelines.)

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Tony is the multiple award-winning managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.

Office 863-213-4090 |Connect on LinkedIn:
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Related References:

The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which an be accessed by clicking on them.

Where I Come From

 

Understanding the News as Business, and Manufactured Housing

 

It’s Your Profession – Investment of Time, Talent, Treasure – So What’s Next?

Back to Basics – What is Classical Liberalism, and What Can It Mean for Manufactured Housing Growth?

 

 

 

40 Years of Manufactured Housing, 240th Birthday for America, July 4, 2016

July 4th, 2016 No comments

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There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”
– Warren Buffett

Superficiality is the curse of the modern world.
Matthew Kelly

There are both keen truths and potent tensions between the two quotes above.  The subject is easy, but we’ll avoid an overly superficial look at the topics for this month.

Unity and Disunity in America, The World and MH

When the 13 colonies declared their independence from England there was a conflict fought. Just days ago, in a heavy voting turnout, England (the U.K.) peacefully voted for independence from the EU, a “Brexit.” The U.S. then, or the British today, wanted to be freed from the rule of others. At the same time, they wanted to band together as a people.

UnityStrengthDivisionWeakness-SwahliProverb-ilovebeingblack-twitter=credit-postedMHProNews

There have for centuries been those who worked for unity, and towards division, in all nations and places.

So independence has in practice an interdependence.

The American colonies would forge a system designed to end England’s power, as well as limit the power of the federal system that came into being here in the U.S. once the war for our nation’s independence was won.

It’s a fact. The Soviet Union split into 15 nations. Yugoslavia split into 7. China has two significant areas where separatists are at work. The U.K. will face another Scottish exit effort. Across Europe, Asia, Africa and beyond – there are movements whose aim is to break larger nations – larger powers – into smaller ones.

Those who seek regional or global orders in America today have watched a strong anti-Democratic-establishment effort by Bernie Sanders followers.

They are watching an “America First” populist-nationalist camp led by Donald Trump lay claim to the party that Bush, Romney and a few Republican elites have previously led.

Perhaps 5 percent to 10 percent of the USA is libertarian, and smaller movements of Green Party or other forces are busy in our land too. Some pundits say Ralph Nader’s Green Party run in 2000 cost Al Gore the election against George W. Bush (fyi – your Masthead  scribe is an independent).

Struggles over unity and division are ongoing. Never think that what’s happening today is so totally different than other parts of the world, or other eras of history.

Efforts for unity or division go all the way back in time to when the people of the world are said to have lost a common language, after the Tower of Babel was toppled by the God of the Jewish and later Christian people.

There is unity, and there is disunity.

There is Independence as well as Interdependence.

Manufactured Housing and Our Times

On this 240th 4th of July, some might say that within Manufactured Housing, there are – and historically have been – similar forces for independence and interdependence at work.

At one time, Fleetwood and Champion dominated the manufactured housing industry. Today pros speak of the three Cs of MH – Clayton, Cavco and Champion. There were numerous independents then, and now.

There are consolidations taking place on the manufacturing side of MH. Far more consolidations are occurring on the community side of MH.

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Image credit, Pinterest.

Retail by independents have risen and fallen, but could be rising again.

A new paradigm has been coming to birth in MH for about a decade, as a growing percentage of home sales are done by MH land lease communities – aka “mobile home parks” – or more properly MHCommunities. While most MHCs buy pre-owned homes – or new homes from factories – solely for their own use to fill vacant homesites; in some places, retail off-property by MHCs are in motion. That’s a trend to watch.

The point is that there are in business as in politics, larger forces at work in MH, as well as thousands of smaller ones.

On the association/lobbying/advocacy side, most states have their own associations, some have separate community associations plus an “umbrella” association. A few have associations that span RVs and MHs or even other groups seeking collective advocacy.

In factory-built housing, there are more groups than are generally spoken of in MHVille – we hear the most from the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), or the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR). But the NAHB has their Systems Building Council. And there is the Tom Hardiman led Modular Home Builders Association (MHBA), which differs from the modular housing group under the MHI umbrella. There are others in Canada too…

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Bob Crawford – left. Frank Rolfe, right. Still from MHProNews video.

As readers will see below, this month we’ll provide an article that promotes a new, independent post-production association – which the author of that column asserts that MHI is at best a 5 out of 10  in terms of its effectiveness in working for the interests of independent MH Retailers and MHCommunities. That author – Bob Crawford, and his mentor Dick Moore – have advocated for an independence movement from MHI before. Time will tell if there is more momentum behind it now, than previously.

The MH industry hitched its wagon to the federal oversight star 42 years ago. Just over 40 years ago, the first HUD Code manufactured homes rolled off the assembly lines in the U.S.

There were once more ‘national,’ ‘regional’ or ‘federated’ MH associations than there are today. Will history repeat?  

Our reporting on issues isn’t  always the same as advocacy of a perspective.  Our taking a position doesn’t mean we’re looking for a do or die battle. We have clients, readers and supporters in both major national associations.  In a professional world, the Ronald Reagan ideal below should apply.

My80%FriendIsNotMy20%EnemyRonaldReagan-postedMHProNews-com

As a disclosure, this writer broadly-speaking wears two hats. One is as a trade publisher of MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com – the other as a provider of business development and consulting services, all of which operates under the LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC banner, of which I’m the managing member.  

What brings those two hats together is a passionate love for this MH Industry, and for seeing MH advance in every possible way.  Everything else we do can be seen through that prism. 

News, Tips and Views

As a publisher, we report news as well as do commentary and analysis.

The following is another fact. Manufactured housing trade publications, with no disrespect for the Journal  or others who have gone before us, have never had the same kind of publications we provide on professionally-focused MHProNews.com (aka MHMarketingSalesManagement.com, also known by some as MHMSM.com) or the public via MHLivingNews.com.

As a result, it’s no surprise that too many in our MH industry think of any critique by me of another person, persons or group as a personal attack.  Not so!  It’s purely professional.  

It’s standard fare for the business of being a trade publisher. MH can’t or won’t advance to its potential until rigorous and candid discussions identify and resolve all those things that hold us as an industry back.

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We will look at the GAPS Method in the near future, as one of the tools to analyze the road blocks to MH advancement. Good analyis is – or should be – objective.  If you or others have a different point of you that you want to publicy or privately share, please write or call.

Unlike Jim Visser – whom I respect – or others who are no longer in the MH trade publication business, this writer spent many years in the trenches of MH long before picking up a digital pen and paper. We still earn our keep by boosting manufactured and modular home sales!  Some of that personal/professional history will be rapidly reviewed in an article linked below.

Suffice it to say for now, that I’ve worked with some of the largest operations in MH, with assocations and with some other operations more modest in size, and also “mom and pop” businesses.  All small firms hope to do well, some aspire to be big firms someday.  We salute all those MH entrepreneurs, professionals and captains of industry.

So we come at MH related topics from a different viewpoint than someone who only prints articles and ads (no disrespect intended to other publishers, just stating facts).

When we write about Dick Jennison or Lesli Gooch at MHI, and raise questions about their effectiveness or the ethics of their communications practices, that’s a valid topic as they are public figures in our industry.  If there is a critique of them, it is not necessarily a blast at MHI, of which I am also an elected board member.  A critique is part of a GAPS analysis, pure and simple. If you or others you work with have a different take than ours, you can share it, as we share a Pro-MHI column this month (see below), and one that takes a we-need-a-new-association viewpoint.

That’s balanced trade publishing.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ©

As both a publisher and as an MHI board member, others have encouraged as well as expressed concerns to me, and we have published some of those concerns by reference when off-the-record, or under the person’s name, when OK’d to do so.

When someone is a manager, executive or even an owner of a company or organization which supplies products or services to XYZ, it is entirely understandable that such a person does not want to publicly say something that XYZ may not want to read or hear on video.  Other media do such off-the-record reports, we do too.

Let’s reframe some of the above.

In the automotive industry world, there would be thicker skins about Car and Driver  or some other auto-trade publication critiquing a publicly visible professional person’s performance, or that of an organization. It’s pretty common in other industries!

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The featured story on this almost decade old Manufactured Home Merchandiser Magazine cover was one that your Masthead scribe wrote for them.

What makes it uncommon in MH – and thus, perhaps a little shocking to some in MHVille – is precisely that our industry has heretofore had no similar trade publishing. Even in its heyday, the venerable MH Merchandiser Magazine  was only a monthly, with some news and mostly columns and ads. Only MHProNews has produced an industry business daily news in the MH World.

Jim Visser at the Journal  rarely does an editorial. Herb Tieder’s Merchandiser did an editorial column, but those that recall know it wasn’t much like those you’ll find here on the Masthead.

That’s no slam, it’s reality. In fairness to those others, how could they? Those other publishers never had the first-hand view from the MH trenches we have, then or now!

MHProNews  has changed all that for trade publishing in our industry.  That’s why thousands of MHPros flock here daily.

Investors, media, academics, public officials, policy advocates and researchers from around-the-world read this publication too.

MH today is, as Nathan Smith said on video, a boutique industry and thus a relatively small audience. Comparing us to the Dallas Morning News, Chicago Sun Times or Tribune, the New York or Los Angeles Times – or even a more financially focused professionals’ publication like Forbes – our audience is signficantly smaller.

But MHProNews has articles that get more hits than some articles on Forbes gets.

That’s a fact.  Here’s an example for proof.  We’ll have more hits on dozens of articles on MHProNews this and every month than what this Forbes article reflects.

TaxWaste6.1BillionHoursSpentComplyingFederalTaxCodeForbes-2016-07-04_1455-postedMHProNews

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2,525 visitors on MHProNews at the time and date shown. That’s not cumulative, that’s readers at that specific time. Typical reader views 8+ pages, per Webalizer. Screen capture of base of MHProNews.com home page.

Some in our industry have never known anything but MHProNews, or perhaps some less popular bloggers or emailed PDF newsletters done by consultants, in which those other writers naturally promote their own products and services.

But none, none of those other publications have the same domestic or global reach that MHProNews has. It’s not bragging or hubris if it’s true, and these are facts.

It’s no surprise to us that a group out of Singapore is making a two billion dollar plus play for MHCs in the U.S., international business and investors interested in factory built housing are on our pages routinely.

While our audience is absolutely dominated by those in the U.S., as we’ve shown before, our webstats and contacts from professionals living in “investor nations” in Europe, Asia and other parts of the globe is steady and growing, as is our reach in the United States.

So the view from the Masthead  matters to MHVille, and to a real extent, MHVille benefits from MHProNews.com and MHLivingNews.com. As but one example, every company that attends the Louisville or Tunica Shows in the past several years has benefited from our promoting those events.  

The Masthead  shares these insights, hoping to limit misunderstandings.  I have no personal animus towards say MHI’s Jennison or Gooch; it’s professional and the questions are simple.  Do they get the job done?  Have they behaved in an entirely professional and ethical fashion? Are they helping or harming MHI and its goals?

Setting the Manufactured Housing World on Fire

Some have cheered our reports, others – including highly placed officials – have provided respectful feedback that disagrees with our take, and advises us to handle it differently.  One was very kind in saying that they know I mean well, but that I’m going about this all wrong.  I hear all of that, and to all who have sent their thoughts for, against or nuanced – my sincere thanks to each of you.

We respect all of those takes, encourage them, promise to take them all into consideration and we’ll gladly publish them when asked and thoughtfully presented. 

We don’t seek conflict or controversy for its own sake.  

We do have goals for the MH industry and for all those our great industry serves.

The executive summary for all this could be – the Truth sets us free. Everything else – are details and commentary. 

With no further adieu, let’s dive into our July 2016 Featured Articles.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 10, 2016

Alphabetically by Category

 

COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• How Peace of Mind Attracts More Qualified Clients and Boost Sales

by Tifanee McCall

TifaneeMcCall-MHWC-ResidentialWarrantyCompany-55x55Every day, hundreds of thousands of big TVs and electronic items like computers are being sold.

Read more…

 

•  Colorado MHC Portfolio | 719 Sites | Colorado

by Christopher Nortley

ChristopherNortlyMHREinc=postedMHProNews-comy50x50-MHRE Inc. is pleased to present the Colorado MHC Portfolio, which consists of 3 communities with a combined site count of 719. The Home Portfolio consists of 243 homes throughout the 3 communities.

Read more…

 

• UMH Properties hits 52-Week High, Projections Skyward

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1As investors await the Aug. 4, 2016 earnings report from manufactured housing community (MHC) owner UMH Properties, Inc. (NYSE:UMH), the stock has hit a new 52-week high at $11.25, with a target of $26.10, a 132% increase.

Read more…

 

FINANCING

 

Identifying and Resolving Barriers of Entry for more Manufactured Home Lending

by Titus Dare

TitusDareEagleOneFinancial-postedMHProNews-50x50-Getting more lending into the manufactured housing space is not a simple snap of a finger and “poof!” it’s done. Getting more lending starts, as I noted a few days ago, with the three prongs of needed Education. It relies too on the 4S’ of good lending – Safe, Sound, Sanitary and Sustainable.

Read more…

 

• Northpoint Commercial Finance Expands Field Sales Organization

by Northpoint Commercial Finance

NorthPointcommercialFinance-logo-postedomMHProNewsAlpharetta, GA, June 26, 2016 – Two new Directors of Business Development have joined Northpoint Commercial Finance’s Field Sales Organization.

Read more…

 

• Why Manufactured Homes Are Being Chosen By Today’s Homeowners

by Triad Financial Services

Triad Financial-bannerad-MHProNews-comMany of us are aware of the current affordable housing crisis. Whether it be the significant increase in rent or lack of affordable options in today’s site built homes, consumers are looking for a solution and manufactured homes are providing a viable choice.

Read more…

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• Clayton releases top energy efficient features for manufactured and modular homes.

by Clayton Homes

ClaytonHomes-logo-50x50Top energy-efficient housing features every new homebuyer should know

Most Americans want an energy-efficient home, and they’re willing to make the necessary changes to help improve efficiency, whether it’s changing their habits or buying more energy-efficient appliances.

Read more…

 

• You’re Invited – 2016 RV MH Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

by Barry Cole

barry-cole-rv-mh-hall-of-fame-postedonmhpronews-com-65x65You’re invited to the 2016 RV MH Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony!

Read more…

 

 

• Bob Crawford – On MHI, MHARR and a New Association

by Bob Crawford

BobCrawford-DickMooreHousingPresident-ManufacturedHousingProfessionalNewsViews-postedMHProNews50x50In reply to your request to rate MHI’s effectiveness at advocacy for independent retail/non-corporate MH business, I would have to rate it at best a 5.

Read more…

 

• Proof MHPros Can Attract the Site Built Customer to Manufactured Homes and MHCommunities

by Tom Fath

Tom Fath-Operations Manager New Durham Estates and Home Sales55x55We met Tony (Kovach) in 2014 at the Louisville Home Show and found his firm’s vision, professional services, and expertise to be in the direction our business and the industry as a whole needed to move at a fast pace.

Read more…

 

• Frank Rolfe – Interview on MH Industry Business, Politics and Associations

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThere has been a wide range of comments – for, against or in between – regarding the MHProNews critique and analysis of MHI’s lobbying activities, centering on Richard ‘Dick’ Jennison and Lesli Gooch.

Read more…

 

• Congressional Testimony by Jayar Daily, COO, American Homestar Corporation on – Future Of Housing In America: Government Regulations And The High Cost Of Housing

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThe written testimony (linked here) to Congress by F. R. Jayar Daily, Chief Operations Officer for American Homestar Corporation and a member of MHI’s board of directors is dated March 22nd, 2016.

Read more…

 

• The Next American Political Revolution? The Next 4th of July

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachThose who neglect the lessons of the past are condemn to relieve them.

Read more…

• Off The Record – Musings Of A Warped MH Mind

by MH Industry member

MH-industryMemberOffTheRecord-MHProNews-com-The recent allegations concerning MHI staff members are troublesome.

Read more…

 

• Singapore Investors Turn Sights on Yes! Communities for $2Billion+

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1MHProNews has learned from The Wall Street Journal that Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, GIC, is in talks to acquire Denver-based YES! Communities from private-equity firm Stockbridge Capital Group for over $2 billion.

Read more…

 

•  American Banking News – Key MHI Staff “Excoriated” for Failing Their Mission, Members

Matthew J Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-comWith Dodd-Frank, financing and CFPB related issues routinely on the minds of manufactured housing industry professionals, TheDaily Business News  has learned fromAmerican Banking News the following report on the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI), which is made available below.

Read more…

 

• Mary McBrady says Massachusetts is Smacked with Shortage of Mid-range Homes

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1Mary McBrady, executive director of the Massachusetts Manufactured Housing Association (MMHA), noting the shortage of mid-priced housing in Mass., and a plethora of schools and researchers interested in housing policy within the state, says, “We, as an industry, need to be part of that conversation and dialogue.”

Read more…

 

• Skyline Outshines other MH-related Stocks; Dow Regains 235 Point

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1In the news from CNNMoney: A Tesla 2015 S on autopilot has fatal crash, spurring Federal investigation.

Read more…

 

• Tony Prevatte Chosen to Head NC MH Association

by Matthew Silver

matthew-silver-daily-business-news-mhpronews-com1MHProNews has learned from robesonian that Tony Prevatte, owner of Prevatte Home Sales in Lumberton, NC has been elected president of the North Carolina Manufactured and Modular Homebuilder’s Association’s board of directors.

Read more…

MARKETING

• Manufactured Home Marketing and Sales Makeover

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-To get a different result, you obviously have to do some things differently.

Read more…

 

• Award Winning Manufactured Home Retailer Perspectives on Sunshine Homes, Red Bay AL

by Soheyla Kovach

SoheylaKovach-WebsiteDevelopment+SupportServices-MHProNews-com-photo83degreesmediaJulieBranaman-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-Our family, videographer, drone pilot and I went to Hattiesburg MS to meet with award winning manufactured home retailer, George Campbell of Southern Colonel Homes.

Read more…

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

• Letting go

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comLetting go is accepting that it is time to move on, to begin again and to say goodbye to your present circumstances is to make room for the new learning from different sources.

Read more…

ZigOn Quantity

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarFor some strange reason there are millions of us who believe that if a little of something is good for us, a lot would be even better. Sometimes that is true, but frequently it is not.

Read more…

SALES

• The Manufactured Housing Revolution – How the MH Industry Claims its MoJo

by L.A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachNo person, profession or organization is without challenges. The question is, what does one do about those challenges? Challenges can make or break you, a company or an industry.

Read more…

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.

you-never-want-a-serious-crisis-to-go-to-waste-rahm-emanuel-president-obama's-chief-of-staff-image=wikicommons-(c)2014-lifestyle-factory-homes-mhpronews-com

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,

a-leader-is-one=who-knows-the-way-goes-the-way-shows-the-way-john-c-maxwell-image=wikicommons-poster=(c)2014-lifestyle-factory-homes-llc-mhpronews-com-

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.

water-drops=filling-glass-credit=flickr-theilr-posted-manufactured-home-pro-news-mhpronews-

(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 ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com. 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 ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com 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 MHLivingNews.com. The same principles that make a:

  • trade show such as the Louisville Manufactured Housing Show, or
  • an association or
  • MHProNews.com – 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:

CommunityLivingIndiana.com

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:

umh-com-rss-feed-mhlivingnews-com-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews0com-

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 MHLivingNews.com.

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 ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com | Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking: MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 863-213-4090 Connect on LinkedIN: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Cocktails and Dreams

August 4th, 2013 No comments

Tom Cruise did a movie a number of years ago, with 'cocktails and dreams' being the theme of a pub the fictional entrepreneurial bar tender wanted to open. While Cruise won't be present, dozens of the leading lights from the RV and Manufactured Housing industries will be at the 2013 induction ceremonies, which will include cocktails, dinner and a mixer.

Richard “Dick” Jennison, the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) president and CEO will deliver the keynote address.

The event starts at 5:30 PM Monday August 5th, and is scheduled to run to 9:30 PM. That said, don't be surprised if it runs into overtime. There is a lot to cover in a short time during the dinner and induction ceremonies.

2013-mh-hall-of-fame-induction-dinner-posted-manufactured-housing-pro-news-.png

The 2013 inductees to the Hall will include:

  • Craig M. Bollman, Mobile Home Communities
  • Theresa Desfosses, State Manufactured Homes
  • Kirwan Elmers, Custom Coach
  • C.M. Fore (deceased), Foretravel, Inc.
  • Lawrence C. Lippert, Lippert Components
  • Thomas P. Meyers, Guerdon Industries
  • Claude N. Palmer (deceased), Palmer Homes
  • Matthew Perlot (deceased), Safari Motorhomes
  • Thomas Walworth, Statistical Surveys, Inc.

More details can be found at this link.

The main points I'd like to emphasize – beyond the value of being there and supporting this fine venue! – are as follows, not necessarily in their order of importance.

  • Kudos to Fairmont Homes for stepping up to the plate and providing a new multi-sectional for display at the Hall. While it won't be ready for this ceremony, it should be by the end of the month. We plan to bring you the story, once the display model is in and ready.
  • According to my sources, that the manufactured housing industry has in recent years done maybe 1/10th of the support for the Hall that the RV industry has done in the same time frame. While our industry has certainly suffered a bigger down-turn, nevertheless this is somewhat akin to the image campaign that never got off the ground in the mid-2000s. If we had had such a campaign, as the RV have their GoRVing campaign, would we have hit a low as low as we have?
  • The Hall deserves support, because this is a terrific venue which has the promise for ongoing improvement. Our MH side of the Hall needs to build upon what Fairmont is starting this year.
  • For those who have never come, there is great networking there, besides being a classy event which honors the dreams, efforts and accomplishments of over 300 who have been inducted into the Hall so far.

Barring the unforeseen, I plan to be there, and hope to see many of you there too.

Shifting Gears!

Speaking of an MHINdustry Image Campaign, we have word that 3 more industry firms are in the process of stepping up to support ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com image building effort.

One company – a well known and widely respected community operator – has already sent their support payment to us and they are designing some of their elements to be used within the MHLivingNews.com site. Others are in process, more details soon.

mhlivingnews-ipad-

We are also seeing more companies and organizations that are linking MHLivingNews.com up via RSS and/or a hot link. Either of these are easy to do, as your website professional (webmaster) knows.

Either or both of these are helpful to those taking part and for the Industry at large.

More pros are also in the process of doing our new periodic series for MHLivingNews, A Breakfast with…

The first one, A Breakfast with Tim Williams has been very well received, and has jumped near the top of all July articles read, even though it was only on the site half the month!

Readership and page views overall are rising fast on the image building site! All of this is good news for the industry at large and particularly so for those taking part and supporting the effort.

On the MHProNews side…

Our Cup of Coffee this month with Champion's Phyllis Knight and New York Housing's Nancy Geer, are off to strong starts! This continues the pattern we've seen with our interviews in the last 9 months with top industry pros.

That said, let me draw your attention – especially those of you who are in the Communities business or have interests in the communities world – to this article by a pair of seasoned MHC veteran attorneys. American's with Disabilities Act (ADA), does this apply to your existing community? Here is where reading or not reading an article could make the difference between avoiding a legal action or not! I learned from this, thousands of others need to as well.

MH Captive Financing

Our captive chattel finance report is another one with strong implications in the MHC world and for a number of retailers who generate their own paper too, or for those considering this option. With half-a-dozen experts and well know industry personalities having sounded off on this topic in this article, it needs to be on everyone in the MHC space's must read list.

For marketing, sales, management, yet another finance article, inspiration, interviews and more, the 14 featured articles this month gives you plenty to consider as you seek to build and navigate today's waters. Our Daily Business News articles by our own Matthew Silver are perennially well read, and still to our knowledge the only Daily Business News the factory built housing industry has in North America!

Scientia sit Potentia

Knowledge is potential Power, or “Scientia sit Potentia” as they said in Latin in ancient Rome. We gather here to read, learn, share, protect and grow. I'm looking forward to sharing cocktails and dreams with many of you at upcoming industry events, the next one being in about 30 hours! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for August and see the

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach
ManufacturedHomeLivingNews.com | MHProNews.com |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
Websites, Contract Marketing & Sales Training, Consulting, Speaking:

MHC-MD.com | LATonyKovach.com | Office 815-270-0500 |

Connect on LinkedIN:
http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach 

Amazing August!

July 31st, 2013 No comments

Hot July nights and even hotter days have yielded to August and the frenzy of back to school and so much more. Manufactured housing is still on a general two year uptick in new home shipments. As you will see in some of our August Featured Articles, while there are still plenty of challenges to navigate, we also have business building opportunities and good news too.

I'd like to pause and thank Tim Connor, CSP, who has certainly been our most stalwart and dependable featured author. Tim's articles on management, sales and inspirational reflections have made him one of our must read writers. Perhaps that is why some 200 times, factory home building pros have turned to him for coaching, speaking, training and other services.

I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Chrissy Jackson, who has shared dozens of articles on the community side of the manufactured home industry. Chrissy has graced us with a number of fine articles. I used to read her in the Merchandiser, now you can read her here on MHProNews.com!

Nadeen Green, JD has been writing articles on Fair Housing and legal issues for about 2 years, and the topic she picked this month – inspired by the Travon Martin/George Zimmerman case – is as thoughtful as some of her prior ones are witty and insightful.

Attorney Kurt Kelly (JD) has also been sharing insights with our readers for going on 2 years. His latest one this month on Cyber Liability is an eye opener!

Finance writer Dave Shanklin's “Cold War” is another insightful read for this increasingly popular loan broker in our industry.

We have not one, but TWO of our exclusive and wildly popular A Cup of Coffee with interviews this month! A Cup of Coffee with…Phyllis Knight with Champion Enterprises. We asked Phyllis about topics like – the so-called “glass ceiling” in our industry – and much more. Then, we are joined by another industry veteran, with our A Cup of Coffee with…Nancy Geer, with New York Housing.

Most of what you will read in Can Captive Finance be done Successfully in today's Environment? has been penned by Industry pros like Dick Ernst, Barry Noffsinger, Howard Banker, Bob Crawford, Ken Rishel and Steven Rabago, among others! So don't let my 'by line' fool you, this report is packed with the insights of pros that you know, should know or will come to know by reading their insights on a topic that impacts literally thousands of manufactured home communities – and many retail operations – from coast to coast. You may find headaches, heartaches but also surprising SOLUTIONS in this must-read for our industry.

The Open Window will give you an update on the new Image Campaign, so please be sure to check it out.

With no further ado, let's dive into the FULL line up from Amazing August's many gotta have it reads here on MHProNews.com. Thanks as always for being a regular reader, because readers are – or will become! – leaders. And please thank our sponsors too.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 4, No. 11, 2013

Alphabetically by Category


COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)

 

• Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman: Kelsey, the Princess and Manufactured Housing

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-50

 

In light of all of the recent – and continuing – dialogue related to the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman matter, I thought I would update and post some thoughts first penned more than 4 years ago that may apply…

Read more…

 

• Americans With Disabilities Act: Does Your Mobile Home Community Have to Comply?

 by John H. Pentecost & Christopher R. Elliott

Emblème_de_la_Justice-wikimedia-commons-50x75

 

On July 26, 1990, President Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). The Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (the “1991 Regulations") were developed shortly….

Read more…

 

 Promoting Your Community: “Word of Mouth is the Best advertising you can get . . .” (WOW!)

by Chrissy Jackson

chrissy-jackson-50Resident Referrals . . .Most communities with vacancies have some sort of resident referral program in place. The value given to the resident varies, but almost always it is for a home coming into the community,…

 

Read more…

 

• Compliance Beats Complaints

by Scott Mastley

scott-mastley-posted-on-mhpronews-com50x50.pngYou don’t want to look over the rim of your coffee cup on a Monday morning and hear a Department of Labor auditor say, “I’m here to perform a wage and hour compliance audit.”

 

 

FINANCING

 

 Manufactured Housing and Captive Finance: Can it be done successfully in Today's Environment? Part II

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tonykovach/wp-content/uploads/tony-kovach(3).jpgOn July 26, we posted an article on the Masthead blog about the topic: Manufactured Housing and Captive Finance: Can it be done successfully in Today's Environment? That post brought numerous comments and sparked conversations from professionals across the spectrum.

Read more…

 

• The Cold War Against Short Sale Loan Scenarios Has Been Thawing

by Dave Shanklin

dave-shanklin-mhmsm-com(2).jpegIn recent articles I have written about our industry's lenders' staunch disapproval of applications from borrowers with any record of mortgage delinquency, short sale, or foreclosure.

Read more…

 

 

GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Nancy Geer

a-cup-mhmsm-com(9).jpeg

 

1)Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at New York Housing).

Nancy Geer, Executive Director at New York Housing Association 19 years, on staff 25 years.

Read more…

 

• Business Cyber Liability Growing Fast

by Kurt Kelly, JD

kurt kelly american insurance agency aia 50x50(3).gifIn the past, most lawsuits against small business revolved around bodily injury or tangible property damage. Product liability, slip and fall claims, injured employees and damaged property accounted for most losses.

Read more…

 

• A Cup of Coffee with…Phyllis Knight

 

coffee-50

1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Champion Commercial Structures).

Phyllis Knight President, Champion Commercial Structures EVP, Champion Home Builders, Inc.

Read more…

 

 

MANAGEMENT


 What employees want vs. what you think they want.

by Tim Connor

tim-connor-50

Over the years, I have observed any number of approaches to getting employees to work more effectively, smarter and harder. You would be amazed at how naïve many managers are today when it comes to understanding human nature, motivation and the emotional needs and drives of their employees.

Read more…

 

• Are You Accountable?

by Scott Stroud

scott-stroud-50

Duh. Dumb question. You’re accountable to everyone – your customers, your homeowners or residents, your boss (or employees), your spouse…

That’s the thing about us A-Personalities – we take on everything we need to handle to keep things moving ahead. In the end, the buck stops with us.

Read more…

 

 

MARKETING


• The Open Window

by L. A. 'Tony' Kovach

tony-kovach(4).jpgHave you heard this saying? “When God closes a door, He often opens a window.” This is an article on marketing – and never quitting – so without getting too theological or spiritual, let me share a real life, 'never quit' example of The Open Window.

Read more…

 

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION

 

• ZigOn Overcoming Fear

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglar-50

Fear has been correctly identified with the acrostic False Evidence Appearing Real. The truth is that if we think something is to be feared, that perception becomes the cruelest form of reality.

Read more…

 

SALES


• How do you measure your value?

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-50

Customers today want results not effort, solutions not idle chit chat, value and not promises. Retail or wholesale, pay attention to your factory built home customers, and you'll see just what this article is focused on.

Read more…

 

Diversity in Manufactured Housing

March 20th, 2013 No comments

Diversity. Beyond Phyllis Knight at Champion Enterprises, quickly name three C-Suite level-national corporate players who are women.

There are certainly plenty of ladies among the association executives.  Mom and pop operations also have, as the name implies, plenty of females in their mix. So why do we lack an equally strong representation among women in C-Suites roles at the regional/national level in our Industry? I can quickly think of three good ones. But why not more?

A similar observation could be made about African Americans in our industry. Think about it.

This entire topic might be an interesting dinner topic at your next industry meeting or event. But more than a topic of conversation, it should be a cause for concern, because diversity combined with working unity brings a unique set of strengths.

For example.

As we consider the impact of women in our industry, ponder this point. Among association executives, it was Jennifer Hall from MS and Deanna Fields from OK who – working with their members – garnered 100% participation among their Congressman last year for HR 3849. No one else even came close to that achievement last year. Hats off to them! Let's hope they – and others – will achieve that same outcome this year too.

Diversity – On the ByLaws Controversy

Speaking of diversity, it would be difficult at best for MHI to function effectively without the grass roots level support the state and MHC associations bring to the table.  The reverse is also true, as the state associations need a national industry presence in DC to work with regulators and members of the House and Senate in Congress.

MHProNews has purposefully not reported on this bylaws controversy topic until today, hoping it would get worked out behind the scenes. We hinted at it in this pre-MHI Legislative Session column as a nod to those who knew, but left it at the hint level, hoping for resolution that has not yet come.

You can see our write up on this topic in the Daily Business News brief that is linked here. Frankly, we've left out tons of details which would only complicate the matter and that is something that no thinking person involved or interested in the matter should want.

Our hope is simple. That the parties involved resolve this favorably, soon and move ahead. We need the diversity that each of these groups brings to the Industry's table! We need to focus on the larger issues.

Diversity In Leadership

I'm thinking about some of the talented women and minority groups (or as they are dubbed by some today, 'emerging majorities') that I've had the privilege of working with or observing their fine handiwork. Without wanting to sound sexist, at times I see anecdotal evidence that women – or minorities – may be better in a practical sense at bringing diverse skills together successfully in a corporate setting. If that is true, it may be because they know what it is like to be “left out,” and so they make that extra effort to be inclusive.

For sensitive souls, merely being aware of the topic is helpful in moving it ahead.

Yes, You still Can. Bring Your Photo ID and Business Card!

Online registration has closed for the Tunica Show, with a sizable bump up noted in every category, including retailers. Manufactured Home Community attendee pre-registration, along with builder-developers, more than double what it was last year!  For those who haven't pre-registered, you can register at the Show in person with a photo ID and business card. Last year 310 did so! That suggests that we could see 1100 to 1200 total attendees this year, and well over 2000 professionals gathering at Tunica next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. The latest Tunica Show brochure can be found here.

While our Matthew J. Silver's fine handiwork in the Daily Business News will roll on, I will likely keep my blogging light next week, as we will be at the Tunica Show and traveling. Please check out the UPDATED version of Attracting More Customers with Cash or Good Credit in Tunica. Stop by our booth to say hi or to pick up a copy of our book. We will be set up right next to the seminar room.

Don't miss out on the profitable business building, networking and educational opportunities found in Tunica next week! Be a part of the biggest event of its kind in the Industry. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for March and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach

MHLivingNews.com=Re-Discovering and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle

MHProNews.comMHMSM.com = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

Services:B2BandB2CAds, Proven MH Marketing & Sales Systems, Websites other Industry Solutions.

Office –815-270-0500

latonyk@gmail.com or tony@mhmsm.com

www.MHC-MD.com

http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach= connect with me on Linkedin.

http://pinterest.com/latonyk/manufactured-home-lifestyle/

+++

Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right. – Henry Ford

Bring it on!

January 14th, 2013 No comments

'Championship wrestling' (example, WWF style) has frankly never been my kind of thing. While I love the Rocky series of movies, boxing isn't high on the list either, but a good football game (like that amazing finish between Falcons and the Seahawks) may be! Some of our regular factory-built housing readers who are also on LinkedIn may doubt it, but my heart is peace loving. Still, there are times when something so outrageous happens that no matter how peace loving you may be, you simply have to say, enough is enough! "Bring it on."

For those with skim, don't miss the finish of this…or the meat in between.

Watchdog

Once upon a time, the media played the role of watchdog. Corruption or questionable actions by policy makers, leaders etc. might lead to tips, whistleblowers and in time an investigative report. While journalism isn't dead, it has often reverted to the yellow journalism of yore, more akin to thinly veiled advocacy. In trade publishing, media tends towards the cheer leading role, but that doesn't mean that you don't dig in from time to time and remind professional readers that a spotlight still exists. As an aside, we publish good, bad or in between news in our wildly popular Daily Business News to keep news all real apart from commentary for our readers.

The watchdog role requires synergy between it readers and the media. It is NOT enough for a publisher to merely spout off well (feeble, or in between) conceived missives. When any publisher has an agenda, caveat emptor applies.

AAA

We do listen to, chat with and receive insights and messages from a number of pros coast to coast and border to border. Canadians reach out, as do intentional readers beyond North America's shores. Having the largest U.S. audience in factory built housing has its advantages. One perk is hearing sometimes riotous comments, such as AAA. It has been over a year since that one came my way, with the source being protected, of course.

AAA stands for another publisher's unstated mantra, namely: AAA = "All About Allen."

Self-promotion is necessary for every business – and to some extent – for professionals too. Another behind the scenes commentator once told me (tongue in cheek?) that he is 'jealous' of George F. Allen's ability to self-promote.

The best self promotion is when others see the value of what you do and sing your praises. But for some, it is “AAA.” When you publicly agree with George Allen, then you may be welcomed into his inner circle. If you dare to disagree, well…

Allen is retired Marine, and he periodically reminds readers about his service in Vietnam and the Gulf, which certainly deserves out thanks. No doubt Allen's entertaining tricks at times have brought smiles to many, myself included. One must give the man his due for positive things like being a part of the birthing process of the National Communities Council (NCC).

George Allen has his following of a few hundred precisely due to good or entertaining things done, but are those 'good things' now in the 'good old days' gone by?

A number of readers tell us that the AAA self-serving nonsense has hit a level that arguably borders on the intolerable. You watch a drunk on the same road you travel, not because you want to, but because it is prudent to do so. There are those who read what the Allen fellow says, not because his writing is necessarily easy or appealing, but rather because he is weaving back and forth and you want to avoid a collision if possible. Case in point?

For approaching two years now, Allen has been about trying to force MHI's hand, privately and/or publicly, into buying out his 'business interests' so he may 'retire.' Thinly veiled threats are sent directly to MHI officials, indirectly as if they are clandestine black ops through his blog, other published writings, and of course by phone, email or in person.

We examine some of what Allen is doing in this new Industry in Focus article published at this link here.

We have waited until we had a statement from Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)

CEO, Richard "Dick" Jennison, which is included in that report linked above.

Danny Ghorbani

In a way, Allen and Danny Ghorbani have been complimentary book ends, more united by their passions (opposing) MHI than they are unified by any shared vision. Some think that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” may apply with those two.

Why they oppose MHI may also have similarities.

Danny, I've been told, seems to have never gotten over some things back in the day with respect to MHI or the occasional personality related to it. Long memory and not getting his way, Danny may lash out when it is least expected or convenient, such as his rant penned in the wake of the Wall Street Journal report, which is linked here.

The Price we all Pay

The problem is, that Danny Ghorbani's or George Allen's rants come with a price tag!

We will not parse their intentions, which may be sincere and well meaning. But that price is arguably paid by home owners and the industry's businesses and professionals that they allegedly wish to serve. The consequences may be unintended, but they are impactful nevertheless.

Both Ghorbnai and Allen had been and/or were sounding off veiled and/or directly targeted attacks on MHI, at precisely the time when MHI, Texas and SNR Denton were engaging with the CFPB in highly sensitive discussions. Did the Allen/Ghorbani attacks have an impact on the adverse CFPB decision released (linked here) last Thursday?

Who knows with certainty? But can anyone suggest with a straight face that the attacks of those two helped the Industry's cause to modify Dodd-Frank in a reasonable fashion?

As one seasoned and respected manufactured housing industry leader said to me recently, our industry has historically done its best in the last 15 years when the voices work together, as was the case with the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000). So true.

Note, MHProNews with-held in our sole discretion the publishing of Ghorbani's 'analysis' until now, in hopes of blunting the possible impact of his missive. But the facts are that Ghorbani send out hundreds of those 'press releases' via email and there is no telling whose hands that and other attacks on MHI's efforts falls into. Whatever damage that may have been done, is done.

Specific Hits on Industry Segments

While Allen and his buddies – including Ken Rishel, Spencer Roane and Michael Power – beat the drum for a 'new association,' it reportedly has Ghorbani metaphorically salivating on the sidelines, as this has long been one of his desired goals, to foment an insurrection within MHI. Is that wise?

We must examine the potential costs and fall-out from the recent decision in DC.

  • To low balance cost manufactured home owners. Millions in this group may be the most harmed if we fail to get Congress to act before the CFPB's decision kicks in. Why? Because the early read on last week's decision (again, linked here) is that MH didn't get the result MHI/Texas and SNR Denton worked so hard to achieve for all segments of manufactured housing.
To MHCommunities – of all the business segments potentially among the most harmed by the CFPB decision, the land lease communities segment is surely in that mix. Can it be weathered? Yes! But the fact that low-dollar value home owners in land lease communities are going to be impacted, so too will MHCs. For seasoned, savvy and nimble operators – especially larger portfolio operators – this can be turned into new opportunities.

So the irony is that the precise group that George F. Allen ('community investor') has as his recent 'target market' for his new 'association' – namely, the 'mom and pop' MHPs and MHCs – they are the far more likely to be harmed by the decision linked above, once it is implemented. Thanks so much for your help, George.

  • Smaller Factories. Clayton, Cavco and Champion – among others – have evolved their business models to a point that they are better able to weather such squalls. But a hiccup in the flow of chattel (oops, personal property) lending could swamp the boats of some of the very manufacturers that MHARR represents. Thanks so much for your help, Danny.

We will note that some lenders and retailers who do more land/home mortgage style deals will be the least impacted, in fact they could benefit from the decision.

That said, one personal property lender executive told me last week that they want ALL of the lenders to do well, including the one most likely to be adversely impacted. Why? Because, he explained, some marginal retailers – in the wake of such a decision – could fall from the table, especially if their business model has been wed to marginal customers who will arguably be harmed in the wake of the CFPB's ill advised decision. Thanks so much, Consumer Financial 'Protection' Bureau.

The point is that while it wouldn't be a 'beyond a shadow of a doubt case,' Ghorbani

and Allen's routine and public anti-MHI missives may well cost some businesses 6-7 figures at a time they can't afford it.

Logically the 'constituencies' of Allen and Ghorbani are among the most likely to suffer!

Historically, as noted above,our industry does its best is when we join hands and unite our voices. It is America, Allen and Ghorbani have the right to say or publish what they will, within limits. But those who 'support' them (smaller independent factories and mom and pop communities) will be the more likely to pay the price if they are not marginalized, reigned in or have their funding cut off.

For the Regulators, Public Officials or Investors who may be reading this analysis

One ought to consider why the vast majority of the engaged industry owners back the existing state and community associations along with the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) and the National Communities Council (NCC). Then, one ought to consider why the few vocal naysayers herein have such a comparatively small following.

A snapshot of the pair

Potential Silver Lining Solutions to the CFPB decision

Unlike the handful of tiresome industry complainers who want to pat their own or each other's backs, it is much better to have true third parties toot the horn for you.

For example, the membership of state, communities, MHI and NCC combined numbers well into the thousands. By contrast, the numbers of followers of Allen and his band or Danny Ghorbani are relatively few.

Allen periodically rants about this publication and my work, as recently as today.

In response, let me simply point to over 175 current LinkedIn recommendations and endorsements (as evidenced by the screen capture from LinkedIn below), MHC-MD.com, or other client testimonials.

 

 

Mistakes

Mistakes can be corrected, when the mistaken party is willing to stand corrected.

We have all made mistakes, but the question is, what do we do once those mistakes are clearly identified?

I recall the CEO of one of the very biggest companies in our industry who sent me a message, bringing to my attention a significant fact error in one of my own articles. Ooops! The error was corrected, an apology offered and accepted. We moved ahead.

We all have to do that from time to time. So why can't a handful of adept self-promoters admit their efforts in recent years have born substantially no good fruit for the industry and/or even for their target audience of supporters?

We at MHProNews have worked for some years to build strategic allies. This has been done as our part in advancing the Industry. We have not always agreed with MHI, but we strive to work within the system. Patience and respect for the other's perspectives, quiet persistence if one is sincerely convinced they are correct; these are the ways to advance towards unity and joint action.

Let's provide a partial list of initiatives we've been involved in – in some cases for many years now – for your consideration, and let you decide if these would be worthwhile efforts.

  • Greater involvement in good associations (can anyone say with a straight face and using sound reason that Allen's proposed "new association" could qualify as such before many years go by…if ever?).
  • Doing more with good MH PACs. We've seen with the 93% win rate MHI had in supporting its picks in the last election cycle, or the impressive 87% win rate that Iowa's MH Association had in 2012 (others beyond these two could be named), that PAC support matters!

The more the support, the wiser the picks, the better the outcome. 2013 ywill NOT be a year to sit out on the sidelines! Let's look at the example of Sherrod Brown. Senator Brown was one of MHI PAC's supported picks in 2012. Senator Brown issued a strong letter to Richard Cordray, as we reported last week. This bodes well for his support in upcoming legislative initiatives we will need in 2013.

We have dozens of potential supporters in DC, but more are needed.

  • Grass roots activism. We need you, yes you, involved in your association(s) if you aren't already deeply involved. This can't be left only to paid association staff. We need this grass roots activism to mirror what Realtors or Homebuilders do. That activity needs to be in concert with properly established national, and/or state level and/or established MHC Associations (again, we mean MHC associations like those Western U.S., not George Allen's planned new one). We need YOU, in Washington DC for the MHI Legislative Session in the end of February and/or at your local House or Senator's office.

(Note. Allen's own comments about his planned 'association' stated that he intends no advocacy. Huh? An association that does no lobbying? Then what in heaven's name would it do? That said, he has at times signaled the opposite, so it is difficult to know what he truly has in mind. That's one of many reasons his initiative makes no sense.)

  • Increased positive engagement with MHC residents and MH Home Owners, to line them up with industry professionals when needed. MH Homeowners, MH Professionals and MH Associations could be the sleeping giant we need with Congress, regulators and in the states too.
  • New Blood. Those leaders – and they are many – involved in the Introduction to MH Opportunities Day may someday look back and say, that was a solid, pro-active decision they made to start that process. We need more pros – more new blood – coming into our Industry! We need more smart builders, investors and lenders to look closely and say, yes manufactured and modular home building makes good sense. It should be noted that the CFPB decision doesn't harm what a stick builder would b used to doing! The stick builder who would enter the MH space could be undeterred even if that CFPB ruling went into effect. Those who would develop new communities using overlooked options available right now also opportunities that only the forward thinking investors or business professionals will capitalize upon! New capital and industry growth can help those already in the business, as it can benefit the newcomers.
  • Remarketing of MH! I will only say that if you are a lender, retailer or MHC owner/operator, you need to be at or have at least one trusted representative in Louisville to hear Dan Rinzema's important presentation, which I will have the pleasure of introducing. Warren Buffett, I know you are busy, but this is an idea you told Kevin to think about some years back. Thanks to Dan Rinzema's foresight, it is already underway. Learn all about this in Louisville, at a free seminar, on January 23, 11:15-12:15 PM. Don't miss it. The times and topics for all of the AT SHOW seminars are on page 2 of the downloadable brochure linked here.

Ju-jitsu

The time has come to rally the troops. Let the blow-hards, blow harder.

Let the rest of us take their negative energy and turn in into positive inspirational dissatisfaction!

Tell your colleagues why the blow hards are wrong, so they don't get the fuel and support they crave.

Please tell your friends, that you'd rather back the teams and players who are positively engaged than those who spend too much time publicly pointing their finger at the associations noted above who are doing the heavy lifting, without realizing that three fingers are always pointing back at them.

Not Personalities, Consequences and Results

None of what was written herein should be construed to disparage anyone. Just as two people in particular love to analyze others, as public figures, they and their results are subject to analysis.

People can get passionate about something, they may sincerely believe they are 'doing the right thing' – for themselves and/or for others. But a person can be sincerely mistaken!

So we provide, you decide. We will leave it to our readers to investigate and decide if those noted in this column are in the right, or are in fact the voices of division that can't help you as a professional or business leader based on their recent behaviors.

Dissent is fine, it everyone's right. But let it dissent among and within existing associations be more private, better thought out and prudently handled. Let's learn to synergize, instead of doing what Danny Ghorbani has been doing for some time now. Let's not let support yet another 'national' association, as Allen is mistakenly advocating, that can only further splinter our efforts in DC or elsewhere!

The Next Stop!

My understanding, and we hope to have an expert pen a column on this soon, is that we have one year to get it together regarding the CFPB's mis-fired decision, linked above. That can be enough time, if enough of us dig in and do the right things.

We are either part of the problem or part of the solution.

Retailers and communities, besides engaging in real Associations, come to Louisville and see lenders in person present their latest programs that ARE Dodd-Frank complaint!

Learn what you can do today to enhance your growth and profits at the Louisville Show! Hop a plane, or jump in your truck, car, SUV (does anyone in MH drive a Prius?… ;-) and be in Louisville to see all the Money Tree business-building seminars, 39 new model homes on display and some 80 exhibitors who will show you how to profitably navigate in the world today.

Your Feedback is Encouraged

We welcome your private messages, posted comments or 'Letters to the Editor' style feedback for, against or nuanced about this column and the two Industry In Focus Reports:

If you are sending comments for publication, please make your subject line to: Letters to the Editor, tony@MHMSM.com.

We will be engaged. We will be in DC. We will support MHI and the existing associations as noted. We will call and write our legislators. We will be in Louisville, please see us in booth #115. No one can do it alone. But together, we can get it done.

2013 can be a great year. We have early reports from retailers and communities that indicate the same.

As to the blow-hards, if they don't mend their paths, bring 'em on. Let's tune them out, or take the steps to put them in their proper place. Now is the time for unity. Now is the time…for thoughtful, positive action! ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for January and see the

other new stories at MHLivingNews.com too.

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