Posts Tagged ‘Jim Clayton’

Best Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes, Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting, Competition, and “the Moat” Video Collection

April 22nd, 2018 No comments

Warren Buffett’s Annual Letter to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders, and their annual shareholders meeting, are writ large on the calendar for investors.  The same can be said for professionals who are in or researching – or in – the manufactured home industry.


Clayton Homes – led by company founder Jim Clayton’s son, Kevin Clayton – become the largest producer of manufactured homes the year that Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett bought the company in 2003. It became the largest builder or HUD Code manufactured homes later that same year – 2003 – when Buffett’s Berkshire purchased Oakwood Homes, and rolled it into the Clayton ‘family of brands.’

Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates
compete in the annual newspaper toss
to a Clayton Homes front door at shareholders meeting.

That was one of an ongoing string of acquisitions since then, which in more recent years have included purchases of site-builders, as well as other factory producers.

Kevin Clayton talks about barracks for the military, tiny homes
annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting.


Why did Buffett do all this?  Why has he endured the ‘drama’ that has gone along with Clayton Homes and manufactured housing?

Pay close attention to what you see, hear and read, and you’ll get it.  Short answer?  Listen to Buffett explain his own principles. Mr. Buffett wants a business that is easy to understand. He wants a business with “a moat.”  During an affordable housing crisis, what business is easier to understand than manufactured homes?

Short Warren Buffett On Clayton Homes
Allegations of Discrimination, CNBC

Two quick quotes, and then on to the rest of the videos.

I call investing the greatest business in the world … because you never have to swing…All day you wait for the pitch you like; then when the fielders are asleep, you step up and hit it,” – Warren Buffett, per Wikiquotes.

Draw a circle around the businesses you understand and then eliminate those that fail to qualify on the basis of value, good management, and limited exposure to hard times.” Warren Buffett, in “About Investing.

Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes CEO
on military barracks, tiny houses more…Fox Business.


Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Clayton Homes Related Videos

For those in or new to manufactured housing, these videos offer a peek inside the world of Berkshire, and their dominance of manufactured home:

  • construction,
  • retail,
  • lending,
  • suppliers,
  • insurance and other financial services arena.
  • You’ll also get a peak into their move towards conventional housing, and they were already doing modular home construction.

Berkshire Hathaway’s
Clayton Homes Moving into New Conventional Housing Markets
– The Street


Warren Buffett’s “The Moat” Strategy – How to Dominate Competitors, in Buffett’s and Kevin Clayton’s Own Words

For those who are researching concerns over monopolies or alleged monopolistic practices – and how that had played out in manufactured housing – the videos below are must viewing.

Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman,
Competitive Advantages and “The Moat” per Buffett, Video Interview Clips


For those looking for a deeper dive in reading and research on related topics, the links below provide arguably the most comprehensive research by an informed, pro-industry expert and witness to the evolution of the industry from its early days as trailer houses, to the mobile home era, and to industry since June 15, 1976, when it formally became HUD Code regulated manufactured housing.


The solution to the affordable housing crisis is hiding in plain sight. That’s been a subtext for closing in on a decade on as well as on our public focused sister site,, both of which also looks at modular, prefab, conventional, and pre-HUD Code mobile homes.

For first timers, to industry veterans, this is the number one site of its kind. Who says?  Besides third party traffic data, there’s the widespread praise for these twin platforms that has flowed for years from many pros, including from the founder of Clayton Homes, Jim Clayton, as well as from independents and others.  The video praised captured below is just a sampling of spoken and written praise.



While we are pro-industry, we are also pro-consumer, and are strong believers in free enterprise.

Kevin Clayton Interview, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway,
Clayton Homes CEO, Manufactured Homes, Affordable Housing News – MHProNews

Unlike much of the trade media in our industry, we do not shy away from controversial topics. So, for example, the question of the impact of alleged monopolistic practices by Buffett, Berkshire and Clayton Homes, or other charges against the company are among topics we’ve closely examined for years.

We hope you learn, and enjoy.  “We Provide, You Decide.” ## © (News, analysis and commentary.)

(Third party images are provided under fair use guidelines.)

Related Reports:

Manufactured Housing – Regulatory, Other Roadblocks and Potential Solutions, Up for Growth Research, plus Urban Institute Report Revisited


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

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Confronting MH’s Cold, Hard, Brutal Facts

November 5th, 2015 No comments

Facts are always better than dreams. Facts provide accurate perspective of your current reality. A leader absolutely cannot make a series of good decisions without first confronting the brutal facts!”


(Photo credit, WikiCommons. Poster Credit, ©  .)

Mark Cundiff – Learning to Lead – provides a synthesis of what Jim Collins and his team of university-level researchers published in the acclaimed business-book, “Good to Great.”

Here’s part of what Cundiff shared:

Leadership does not begin with just a vision. It begins with getting people to confront the brutal facts and act on the implications.

The real question is ‘How do you manage in such a way as to not demotivate people. And one of the single most demotivating actions you can do is to hold out false hopes, soon to be swept away by events.

Spending time and energy trying to ‘motivate’ people is a waste of time and effort. The right people will be motivated – the key is not to ‘de-motivate’ them. One of the primary ways to de-motivate people is to ignore the brutal facts of reality.

How do you create an environment where truth is heard?

Four basic practices so people can be heard

  1. Lead with questions not answers. To gain understanding, not as manipulation or as a way to blame or put down others.
  • What’s on your mind?
  • Can you help me understand?
  • What should we be worried about?
  1. Engage in dialogue and debate, not coercion.
  1. Conduct autopsies, without blame.

This should only be to search for understanding and learning.

Not just better information, but better information that cannot be ignored

  1. Build ‘red flag’ mechanisms.

Having unwavering faith while confronting brutal facts!

3 Categories of people who had suffered serious adversity

  • Those who became permanently dispirited by the event.
  • Those who got their life back to normal.
  • Those who used the experience as a defining event to make them stronger.

This is called the hardiness factor.

People act most while on the edge of a precipice.

The Stockdale Paradox

Leaders must never confuse having faith that you will prevail in the end (which you can never lose) with the discipline to conform.

Leaders must retain faith that you will prevail in the end AND at the same time confront the most brutal facts of your current reality.

The key elements of greatness are deceptively simple and straightforward. The good to great leaders were able to strip away much of the noise and clutter allowing the organization to just focus on the few key things that would have the greatest impact.”

Does-Truth-Matter-To-the-extent-we-allign-ourselves-with-the-truth, we thrive-to-the-extend-we-deny-it-we-suffer-dr-keith-ablow-photo-fox-poster-credit-MHProNews-com-

(Photo credit, FoxNews. Poster Credit, ©.)

Reviewing Nettlesome November’s hot Association topic

There are – and always will be – those who fail to understand why truth matters.

Some truths are exhilarating, while others are painful.  When pain exists in the body, it’s a sign something’s wrong. Ignore the pain at your own risk.


When pain is ignored in an organization or industry, that pain is ignored at the risk or cost of what otherwise could be great accomplishments.

All clients and thousands of regular readers of the Masthead and my other articles know, we are pro-MH in a big way.  MHProNews and are living proof of our team’s strong desire to advance MH. We routinely spotlight Opportunities. We must also candidly share threats and challenges. That’s how you confront the cold, hard, brutal facts.

What the Jim Collins Good to Great principles noted above underscore is that solutions call for reality checks.

Back to Cundiff’s summary, three more thought provokers:

  • “Charismatic leaders can actually impede the confronting of the brutal facts due to the power of their personality casting a large shadow over the organization.
  • Once leaders allows themselves to become the primary reality people worry about rather than the actual reality being the primary reality, you have a recipe for mediocrity, or perhaps even worse.
  • In order to combat this tendency Winston Churchill created a Statistical Office, with the primary function of feeding him continuously and completely unfiltered the most brutal facts of reality.”

Some are upset when we spotlight reality, which we are doing this month by quoting others, real MHPros. The Jim Collins study demonstrates that not confronting reality is an error in thinking.  Or as RV MH Hall of Famer Jim Clayton put it, you have to have data – the cold, hard facts – in order to make good decisions.


(Photo and poster credit ©.)

You advance precisely by understanding – and then fixing – what is.


Please answer this question: who in MH Trade Publishing has done the most in recent years to promote within the industry and to the general public a more positive understanding or vision of MH?  Or who has shared more pro-association articles, including those about MHI or MHARR?

Perspective. Reality Checks. We must tap into positive energy while confronting the negative energy that exists.  That’s how you get real POWER!

It is only be shining the light on the cold, hard facts that we’ll break out of mediocrity and rise to the greatness MH deserves.

You can see the read-hot, quote-laced Masthead blog and 10 linked articles on the association topic, along with the even hotter Don Glisson Jr exclusive interview among the 22 total new Featured Articles, linked here. “We Provide, You Decide.” © ##


(2 Programing Notes – A) There will be a fresh topic in this weekend’s Masthead Blog.  B) Click the image above for a message to Congress about HUD).



By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Serious September – Manufactured Housing Industry Newsmakers, Reports, Articles and Interviews

September 2nd, 2015 No comments

Serious September 2015. It could just as easily be named, how to Scale Success, or Sliding Sideways September.  Which of the later two it will be depends on how each of us views and responds to events and opportunities.  Before outlining our STRONG Serious September Featured Articles and Interviews line up, let me explain what I mean.

green-key-success-pc-free-digital-photos-net-mhpronews-com- (2)

We could use as an executive summary for the next few paragraphs below that Media Engagement by MH Matters, and that Engaging the Media as Media is Very Useful.

1) We spent the early part of the summer documenting MH potential and opportunities on  As with the rest of our content, you can still see and access those articles. June is here and July, linked here.  We could summarize it by saying that with rents rising, site-building through the roof (on costs…) and inventories of ‘affordable homes’ in short supply in many markets, MH has plenty of opportunities for a record rebound.


The reports, linked via the image above, were part of a hot, hot summer on MHProNews.


Dick Ernst, FinMark USA and Chariman of Financial Services division at MHI.

2) Among the reasons given for not rising higher in new home shipments than we have include financing and new regulations.  More on that shortly, but I’ll refer back to what Dick Ernst, now Chairman of MHI’s Financial Services Committee, has said.  There is no lack of capacity for our MH lenders to finance many more people, who are financially qualified. That could be rephrased as ‘we need to attract better credit customers,’ without ignoring providing the millions – who have no chance for a site built house – the opportunity to buy from us.

3) We have to broaden our industry’s base.  We have to attract the more credit qualified customers, without ignoring the traditional, affordable, entry-level side of our market.  There are retailers and MHCs who are doing it. That means, it can be done in your market too.  How do we do that, you ask?  Many ways, including through media and PR strategies.

Not Letting CFPB and their cheer leaders off the Hook

It is offensive to think MH pros can collectively do only one thing at a time well.  The people I know can walk, chew gum and carry on a cogent conversation all at once. En masse, there are tons we can do, together.



Any serious researcher is going to find what you see in the screen capture above. MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our other related media efforts are in-the-mix of the conversation on CFPB regulations and their impact on MH.

So while there absolutely has to be a focus on regulatory relief – that we support in word and deed – we ought not make that the one-and-only-thing needed for industry recovery.  Frankly, the regulatory relief sought is as much or more for those estimated 1.7 million households that have a home under 20k in value, as it is for professionals selling the industry’s pre-owned homes.

So we applaud the efforts of the national and state associations in MH that are working to correct those terrible ‘unintended consequence’ of Dodd-Frank. We’re doing more than cheering. We’re doing the meetings, the legislative outreaches, PLUS providing digital cover for the effort in the form of serious research that makes policy types and Senate staffers say (paraphrasing what a Democratic Senate staffer told me), Hey, that’s a pretty compelling argument.



Again, any serious researcher on Dodd-Frank and Manufactured Home Loan regulations will come across the MHProNews, MHLivingNews and our OpEd on The Hill Congress blog. We are woven into the conversation, which means that the REAL consumer and industry views are being presented.  Ditto someone checking out Doug Ryan/CFED comments, they are bound to find one or more of our articles that will correct the record, and are in favor of reforms sought by the MH Industry. 



As further proof of the digital cover, Jan Hollingsworth’s latest column, “Renters’ Nation” has lit up since it was published.


Click here  to see this read hot, new story….

87 hours and 38 minutes after the above was published, Webalizer reports there were 42,917 hits on that one article In MH Land, that’s astonishing.

What has to be done now is to scale that outcome

If you want the CFPB and/or the Senate to agree to changes in MH regulations, let me repeat that: what we now have to do is scale that readership result cited above. Please share the link above to Jan’s article with your local editor, and with your  Congressional Rep, your 2 U.S. Senators and the CFPB.

Let’s put this total readership of Jan’s article into perspective.

Just because some publication may have a million readers, that doesn’t mean that each article is read.  Case in point.  We took respected and popular Forbes’ article, shown below.  On July 29th, 2014 on a hot subject, it had 6,701 views.  13 months later, you see that the total views on that article are now up to 7,732.   What that Forbes article has in views in 4 and 2/3rds years, Jan’s latest article accomplished in less than 4 days.


Do you recall when this was big news for a while in the media? Look at the actual views on the article, this screen capture dated 9.2.2015.  7, 732 total views.  It isn’t just how many see it, but who sees it an then acts upon it.  Credit – Forbes.

Side Show September?

Word has it from certain hot spots that some are already grumbling that we gave Frank Rolfe his right to free speech via a featured interview in this month’s issue.  Why would we, as a pro-MH publisher, allow Frank to be quoted as he shared it?

Wouldn’t you want to be quoted accurately?

To be taken seriously as trade media, we have to be fair and balanced, or we risk sliding into irrelevance.  We quoted Doug Ryan accurately too, and I’m not equating the two by any means. When we quote:

  • Jim Clayton, or
  • Nathan Smith, or
  • John Bostick, or
  • Mark Weiss, or
  • Dick Jennison, or whomever,

we ought to quote them accurately. And we do.

Indirectly Related – a Note of Caution

There are already whispers about the wisdom of MHI VP Rick Robinson and MHI Chairman Nathan Smith going to a stage in about a week, when the person providing the stage is said to be in conflict with MHI and the NCC.


As a matter of policy, we’ve allowed people to critique me and our publication, on our own pages.  So we do this very fairly.  I don’t have to agree or disagree with Frank on his statements regarding MHI and the NCC to protect his right to speak out on those subjects, even though it was not at all on our minds when we asked him the questions. We had no idea what Frank’s replies would be.

If MHI wants to respond, they are welcome to do so.  We are willing to share that response, publicly. Fair and balanced reporting. Period.

We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Something we strive diligently to avoid is any FALSE or errant statement (this, in contrast to an unpopular opinion).  When someone says there are 50,000 or 55,000 MHCs in the U.S. (for example), we’ll either want them to correct that number (that totals is likely more like 45,000, according to informed sources) or we would want to cut the statement entirely.

But that’s not what Frank Rolfe did.  Frank stated his views, and in no way shared a claim that is not grounded in a fact, though those facts can be understood in a variety of ways.

The issues raised by others of late are not new, and are not a side show.  They are on the minds of many in MH; we know, because we’ve heard them often enough.  Its just that this was the first time someone wanted to say so, on the record.

“We Provide, You Decide.” ©

Listening and Taking Correction Well

We had a nice message recently that praised our reporting and commentary work, but then included two typos that needed to be corrected (only 2? ;-).  The writer explained, he didn’t want the corrections to be taken the wrong way.  My rapid response was to make the corrections, and thank him.

An MHI staff officer also sent us a correction on a typo recently. Same outcome as the above.  We want to get the facts right.  We thanked the party.

We published the early comments on Jan’s article, one was that ‘it was long.’ We worked that perspective into the article, linked below.  My response?  I thanked the person for the comment.  That said, the challenge with what we face is in MH as an industry is that we’ve let too much stuff build up over the years, and now we need more than 800 words to dig ourselves out.  The fact that there are so many hits on Jan’s article so fast strongly suggests the content is ‘just right.’

You Can’t Please Everyone, All the Time…

Nor should that be our goal.  If everything was perfect in MHVille, then maybe we’d only need 300 to 400 word columns that all say, ‘everything’s great!’

The reality is there is work to do. Plenty of it. Grab a tool, and let’s get to it.  Failure to address the issues that nag us costs new MH sales.

Record Setting!

MHProNews had 5 days in August that topped 100,000 hits.  Again, in an industry our size, that’s amazing.  On On August 21st, Webalizer reported the daily count was 180,959 hits.  Our readers don’t have to like every article, for there to be value.


MH Professionals, enthusiasts, educators, media, government officials and investors are among the key groups reflected in software and stats. You and thousands of others have made us the runaway #1 place for MH Industry News Tips and Views Pros Can Use. ©

I explained to an industry leader recently that we publish bad news on the Daily Business News; we do so in part, because it happens; but also because when someone gets (for example) arrested for swindling down payments from a buyer, publishing that acts as a cautionary tale.  Good practices are often rewarded with success, while bad ones are discovered and punished.

When there is a controversy, we ought not ignore it, unless paying attention only fuels something that needs the oxygen removed.

In the matter of MHI/NCC and Frank Rolfe, MHI has to consider why they wanted him on stage, and then they need to consider what might happen if they fail to heed the cautionary note above about the upcoming non-association event.

My bet?  If Nathan Smith and Rick Robinson go to that fast approaching private event of an allegedly disgruntled member as planned, the day will eventually come when they wished they had opted not to do so.  That’s my two cents, they can take it or leave it.

But there should be no doubt that we want what’s good for the organization and good for the industry!  We prove that day by day, showcasing the good, and periodically reminding people there are issues to address that need mending.  You’re reading because you know what’s published here matters and has influence.

Intro for our Featured Articles, Reports and Interviews for September…

As we reported above, we had an August that set records.  When you see the incredible line up we have for our Featured Articles for September, perhaps you’ll agree that this month could set new records with readers like you.

  • We have 2 New Cup of Coffee with…interviews. Chris Parish and Dan Rinzema are featured in their own interviews, which many will find inspirational, useful and insightful.
  • These “Cuppa” interviews will be quite different than the interview with Frank Rolfe, who took some very tough questions put to him, and he responded in what will no doubt be seen by many in wave making ways.  We have no direct connection to Frank, so when I commend him for taking the tough questions we gave him head-on and in a timely fashion, that’s sincerely meant.  Others should think to consider that practice.
  • We have a video interview with Matt Webb, in what ought to be a must-view for anyone interested in improving their management and bottom lines, especially in the MH Community sector, but frankly useful beyond that realm too.
  • We have 4 columns by 5 respected attorneys; you’ll see their important topics that can protect your business, below.
  • We have 2 unique reports on how the new Appraisal Rule roll out is going, with our related MH Industry Survey results coming out soon.
  • There is New York Housing Association’s upcoming regional trade show and educational event.
  • Researching Manufactured Housing Industry Personalities, Organization’s and Topics.
  • A look at the hot early response to Renters’ Nation, the Dark Side of Dodd-Frank’s Impact on MH.
  • Ken Haynes Jr. sounds off on a recent media report.
  • AIA celebrates their 15th anniversary, kudos to them and check out their press release.
  • There are 2 inspirational/motivational articles.
  • Certainly not least for anyone who wants to close more sales, there are videos and an article on reputation management.

With no further adieu, let’s jump into this month’s new Featured Articles, Interviews and Reports.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 12, 2015

Alphabetically by Category




• How To Keep Peace and Harmony In Our MH Communities (at a low cost) 

Robert-Coldren-JD by Rob Coldren, Esq and Dan Rudderow, Esq.

The rule breaking tenant can be handled in many ways. Options include:

Read more…


• Water, Water, How Much Is That Water?
by Bill Dahlin, JD

Any Californian who has picked up a newspaper, listened to the news, or not been a bonafide Rip Van Wrinkle, is aware that California is in the midst of a significant drought.

Read more…




• The Appraisal Rule – Six Weeks Report Card

By Lance Hull
LanceHull21stMortgageCorporationPostedMHProNews-com-55x55.jpgOn July 18th, 2015, the Higher-Priced Mortgage Loans (HPML) Appraisal Rule went into effect for our industry.


Read more…


• Answers to Questions About the New Appraisal Rule

by Darren Krolewski
darren-krolewski-vp-mhvillage-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-55x55The following were answers provided to questions posed by to DataComp about the new Appraisal rule implementation.


Read more…


• S. 682 Offers Possible Relief for Consumers Stranded by CFPB

by Bill Matchneer, JD
bill-matchneer-hud-manufactured-housing-division-cfpb-mhpronews-com-50x50Recent history has shown that the regulations designed to…


Read more…



• 65th Annual Convention, Trade Show and Expo – New York Housing Association – Oct 8-12th, 2015 

by Nancy Geer

nancy-geer-new-york-housing-posted-manufactured-home-professional-news-mhpronews-com-50x50-We hope you are well. I have attached the event brochure for you reference. Please see the PDF that is attached.

Read more…


• I Can’t Be the Only One.

by Ken Haynes Jr
ken-haynes-jr-new-mexico-manufactured-housing-association-past-president-manufactured-housing-living-news-com55x55It literally drives me temporarily insane when I read or hear manufactured housing referred to by the media, by any other nomenclature than manufactured housing, or manufactured home.


Read more…


• AIA – Manufactured Housing Specialty Insurance Agents Alliance Celebrates its 15th Anniversary

by Kurt Kelley, JD

kurt-kelly-american-insurance-agency-aia 50x50Bellingham, WA August 25, 2015.

Read more…


• Renters’ Nation – Dark Side of Dodd-Frank, its Impact on Affordable Housing – what 38 hours and 25 minutes reveal 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachWe’ll let John Caron – whom we interviewed for this episode of 
Inside MH – tell you about his significant history in manufactured housing, MH Communities and in real estate investing in his own words.

Read more…


• Controversial Media Reports – The Guardian & KVUE – On-The-Record Interview with Frank Rolfe of Mobile Home University, MobileHomeParkStore, RV Horizons 

by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachOne of the most controversial figures in the MHC world today is Frank Rolfe.

Read more…


• Do People Research Manufactured Home Personalities, Companies and MH Industry Subjects? Yes! 

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachDo people research companies and people on and

Read more…


• A Cup of Coffee with…Chris Parrish

a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Parrish Manor).

Read more…


• A Cup of Coffee with…Dan Rinzema

Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at MHVillage/DataComp)

Dan Rinzema, President and CEO, Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. and MHVillage, Inc..

Read more…




• You Like Me, You Really Do Like Me!

by Wayne Coakley
WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-As you know, nowadays people search online before they buy just about anything.


Read more…


Matt Weaver, Campbell Caron Properties on IREM, Management, More! Inside MH Road Show Video 

 by Soheyla Kovach

s-k“Failure is Not an Option.”


Read more…




• Living with Wisdom – 3 Tips for Today

by Tim Connor, CSP

tim-connor-mhmsm-comWisdom – the blending of – information, knowledge, experience, judgment, truth, reality, maturity – to achieve dreams, goals, life purpose, inner peace and happiness…


Read more…


• ZigOn Work

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarOne of my favorite quips about work is this: Someone asked a worker how long he had been working for his company and he smilingly responded, “Ever since they threatened to fire me.”

Read more…



By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

Post-HR 650 Passage. New MH Lender? Manufactured Housing Professional Landscape…

April 15th, 2015 No comments

The Manufactured Housing (MH) industry has never been monolithic. There has been and always will be various voices and groups within the industry landscape. Part of our challenge in getting a bill such as HR 650/Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing passed – great job to all who made it happen! – is that we do have a wide array of interests that fall under the MH Pro umbrella.

If we looked back into the past, the reason that the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) exists is because the smaller, independent producers of HUD Code manufactured homes felt the bigger MH builders were pushing for (or not opposing) regulations and policies that were contrary to their interests.

What would happen if larger builders and mid-to-smaller ones became comfortable enough with each other so that they were all under the same joint association flag? Do you see 2 different national associations for real estate agents?


Left to right: Ernesto, Jim Clayton, Scott Roberts, Shaun (sp?) and Kevin Kimzey.
some of the Who’s Who In manufactured housing at the 2015 Congress and Expo.

Please don’t misread that as a call for unity, that would be premature. It is just to make the point that follows.

Namely, that because we are not unified, because we have so many divergent groups and views, it creates issues for an industry of our size given the various challenges we face. This is why serious industry growth has to be a top priority, more on that point at this link and in the near term too.

As an FYI, MHARR didn’t oppose HR 650. I’m told that any time their office was contacted about the issue, they gave verbal support for the bill’s passage. It is just that MHARR is more focused on GSE reform, a worthy cause and another topic for another day. Now, back to the HR 650 topic..

By contrast, those who advocate on behalf of the presumed interests of consumers are very united. They managed to get a chorus of articles published before and after the passage of HR 650. While they’ve been framed as an attack on specific industry lenders and companies, that is almost like bait – wedge politics – or divide and conquer strategies that sometimes are cooked up to achieve a given group’s goal.

I’ve already been told, there are two lines in the sand the anti-HR 650 forces have marshaled.


Some of the management and leadership from San Antonio Credit Union,
present at the 2015 Congress and Expo, in a private meeting.
Left to right, John Walters, CU Factory Built Lending, Anthony Ducharme, Mountainside Financial
and Barry Noffsinger, CU Factory Built Lending.

  • First, I’m told by ‘pro-consumer’ voices that they expect our fix for Dodd-Frank to be stopped in the Senate. Hmm…

  • Next, we are reminded that POTUS (the President of the United States) Barack Obama has already signaled that he will veto HR 650 if it hits his desk.

Now imagine that 2nd point! Here we have a nation that can’t get our policies straight with who are and are not state sponsors of terror overseas. POTUS wants to normalize relations with Iran and Cuba, has threatened to punish Israel and won’t support the Ukraine with weapons while they are being invaded by Russia. We have all kinds of domestic and international issues as a nation…

and the president is taking the time to tell us he’ll veto a fix for Dodd-Frank?  What’s up with that?

view-from-ballys-suite-for-mhpronews-mhlivingnews-manufacturedhousingprofessionalnews-480x650- (1)

View from the MHProNews suite,
overlooking Paris Hotel Complex in Las Vegas.

Story Telling Time…

We have to get better at telling our own stories and those of our home owners. Period. Some of these are complex issues. I see industry pros whose eyes glaze over when you start talking about why personal property (home only/chattel lending) rates are what they are. It isn’t predatory lending, its called pricing for the risk and costs, which by the way, regulations have increased both risks and costs!

So if it isn’t easy for a number of professionals, how can it be made easy to understand for the public at large?

That’s not an excuse not to try! It is a call to action to do what it takes to make the case.

Then perhaps well intentioned but ill informed voices – the opposition groups to HR 650 that wag their fingers at industry lenders – who have rates higher than site built housing rate. Do they not have a clue, apparently, as to what the GAO’s report that came out last year said about MH lending? Or they’ve ignored the facts that have come out. Either its sloppy research or its agenda driven, take you pick.

The article below and those links within that article give an array of facts that will get you or anyone armed to understand and explain the finance issues surrounding MH and personal property lending.

The link above has been privately praised by industry leaders as a good, generic response to some of the attacks on HR 650. We’ve had small to large players say, thank you, great job, excellent, etc. on the above. Please keep this page book marked, and share it often with media and those in public office, it is there to support your efforts.

Because collectively – you, us, others – we are the ones who are fighting for consumers rights! For the rights of millions of MH owners across America! They deserve access to financing that will protect the value of their asset, that manufactured home they enjoy and benefit from.

Post HR 650

I’ve received this among the flurry of messages for and against HR 650, and the post HR 650 comments. It is from Tim Williams, Executive Director, Ohio Manufactured Homes Association (OMHA). It read in part as follows:

Thank you to our faithful OMHA members for submitting letters, emails, and making phone calls to your U.S. House Representatives asking for their support for our industry critical legislation H.R. 650– Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

But, we’re not done yet!  We eventually will need support from our Ohio Senators (Brown and Portman) to pass the companion bill S. 682 –Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.

We could repeat that message from others across he country who have or soon will make that same kind of call to action.

Those perhaps well intentioned, but nevertheless misguided voices opposing HR 650 are ready to fight to the finish to keep Dodd-Frank from being changed. Are you ready to pick up the phone or email to ask your Senator or the Senator’s staffers for support on this bill? That call just takes a few moments.

Here is our post HR650 Daily Business News article. It shows who voted for what, Congressman Fincher’s statement and more. Kudos to all who made the efforts to make this happen! Our thanks for all who voted for this critically important pro-consumer and MH homeowner bill.

CFPB on Site at the MHI Congress and Expo event, Again…

I had a brief but pleasant chat with Marie Whittaker, a Market Analyst from the Office of Mortgage Markets for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is the second year I’ve known of someone from the CFPB coming to this MHI event. Our tax dollars are clearly hard at work, as Marie is here to learn more about the MH industry.


Left to Right, Ron Thomas Sr – Chairman of the MIdwest Manufactured Housing Federation, Scott Macfarlane and Charlie Goetze, HAS Capital and Marie Whittaker, CFPB.

I’m hoping Marie and the CFPB will look carefully at the article linked above and the various articles linked from it. Let me share the link with Marie and the CFPB anew, here, for their convenience.

An anti HR 650 source told me that facts matter. Indeed! I reminded that source that millions have been cut off from the financing they may need soon, should they sell their home. No reply to my counterpoint…because it is hard to answer the truth that you oppose when faced by its realities.

Need for changes?

Are there changes need in MH finance? You bet. We aren’t blindly supporting HR 650. There are voices in our industry’s ranks that see that issue differently too. But the point is this is a useful and important step, perhaps more for home owners with values under 20k to 25k than for the industry itself.


Credit scores have generally improved since this graphic from the Deseret News
was first published. While it is noble to serve the working class, and we should not
abandon serving that important market, we must get better at reaching out the
broader housing market. That is where opportunities aplenty exist.


Why are we stuck in the 60,000+ range of MHShipments,
when we are in a trillion dollar a year housing industry
with about 1 million new housing MF and SF starts in 2014?

New MH Lender?

We’ve been talking and hinting for some months that there is a new lender coming into the space. Actually, there is more than one, nibbling at or check out MH financing. One of these has made the scene at Congress and Expo. Let me call it HAS Capital, Version 2.0. They are led by Scott Macfarlane, formerly the VP that led the MH program with U.S. Bank.


Scott Macfarlane has joined the HAS Capital team in a leadership role.
More on this developing story in MH home only lending in the days ahead.

Scott is taking on a leadership role in HAS operation. Official title, President of Originations. They are going to be bringing a new game to town. More on that in the days ahead, but keep your eye on developments from this one.

average-shipment-per-decade-manufactured-home-posted-on-mhpronews-com d


In a trillion dollar housing annual U.S. Housing Market, MH has and can do much better than it is.
We can sustainably and responsibly rebuild to a 500,000 new MH produced a year industry.


Ladies and gents, it is time to wrap this for now. Our great industry is at a cross roads, and many in our ranks don’t see it. There are opportunities aplenty for those doing the business well and properly. There are opportunities for those who go after serving not only the entry level market, but those who have cash or good credit. We are uniquely positioned to ‘do all of the above.’  Let’s borrow the Nike slogan.  Just do it. ##

By L. A. “Tony” Kovach.

latonykovach-us-supreme-court-washington-dc-posted-masthead-blog-mhpronews-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach.

What You Saw, What You Missed and Can Still Experience

March 8th, 2015 No comments

When something like 2,500 pros come to an industry event, that tells you there is something ‘there’ to see and experience. For those who haven’t gone to an industry event like the recent Louisville MH Show or the rapidly approaching Tunica MH Show, what is it like? What are the take aways and value to the independent owner, manager or corporate leader?


The video below will provide some highlights of the 2015 Louisville Show and in that process suggest some of what you can experience in the “All New Tunica Manufactured Housing Show.”


You’ll see business and industry leaders and legends, as well as interviews with independents and more. Some of the personalities you’ll see (alphabetical by last name)


  • John Caron
  • Jim Clayton
  • Wally Comer
  • Terry Decio
  • Ted Gross
  • Richard “Dick” Jennison
  • Kevin Kimzey
  • Bill Matchneer, JD
  • Rich Rice
  • Dwayne Somerville
  • Ron Thomas, Sr.
  • More!


We’ll be shooting video and doing interviews in Tunica too! Please swing by the business building seminars and our booth #73. ##


latonykovach-louisiville2015-mhpronews-business-building-seminars-By L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

Not Knowing and Manufactured Housing’s Future

September 20th, 2014 No comments

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

Google’s second definition for entropy is:

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

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

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


Progress starts here

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

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

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

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


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


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

August 20th, 2014 No comments

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

  • U.S./Mexico border crisis,

  • the “recession,”

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

  • Ferguson – MO,

  • China, Russia, ISIS and radical Isalmists,

  • drug wars,

  • the war on coal,

  • DC gridlock,

  • an ever more imperial presidency,

  • ObamaCare,

  • stagnant jobs,

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

  • regulatory over-reach,

  • huge deficits and debts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As they say in WI, youbetcha.


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

Jim Clayton Videos

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More New MH Home Shows

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Among the more robust replies:

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

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

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


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

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

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

la-tony-kovach-latonykovach-com-By L. A. “Tony” Kovach