Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Clayton’

“Dark Money” “Conflicts” – Warren Buffett, Kevin Clayton, Urban Institute, Manufactured Housing Institute, Affordable Housing Report Revelations

February 3rd, 2018 No comments




Buying into the manufactured housing industry today is like buying a stock that is significantly undervalued.

That’s what many believe. Count the Masthead’s industry veteran’s author among them. Buying into manufactured housing now is like buying a stock that is significantly undervalued, and is potentially poised for serious growth.


The odds are good to great that everyone reading this has:

  • an interest in manufactured housing, and
  • believes manufactured homes could play an important part of the solution for America’s growing affordable housing crisis.

We believe that too.

Those in the industry, investors, media, public officials, advocates, and researchers all have viewpoints, and many have questions.

While it would take time to ramp up to 500,000 or 1 million new manufactured homes a year, it’s doable with the correct resources, plus the kind of long-term commitment that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway brands – along with other success stories in the industry – have achieved.



With savvy millionaire and billionaire believers in the HUD Code regulated manufactured home industry, why is the industry seriously underperforming?

That’s a question that the Urban Institute posed in a new report.  With four co-authors, the report makes some interesting, questionable and meh points.  It arguably failed to address several important points.

But what the Urban Institute (UI) obviously failed to do was hide apparent conflicts of interest, which went undisclosed in their reporting.


One of those conflicts is ‘hiding in plain sight.’


Warren Buffett, “Lifetime Trustee” of the Urban Institute (UI)

InfographicSeeHowDarkMoneyFlowsBetwenNonProfitsOpenSecretsMastheadManufacturedHousingIndustryMHProNewsThey could claim at UI that the disclosure exists on their website, because Warren Buffett is listed as a Lifetime Trustee of the Urban Institute.

Buffett’s given billions to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has paid millions to the Urban Institute. That’s how, says Open Secrets, so-called “Dark Money” flows.

While that dark money is often noted for political uses, it can clearly be used for research that in turn influences media, politics, business, advocacy, public officials, investments, and more.

So when four different co-authors at Urban Institute delve into a topic that so directly involves an interested party, one would think that one or more of those four would want to disclose that in their report itself, or as a footnote?  That’s what non-profit researchers are supposed to do.



Conflicts of Interest = COI.


Instead of disclosure, instead of full transparency, the opposite occurred with UI and their report.

According to sources who claim knowledge about the research at the Urban Institute, the report writers’ promised anonymity to an association and corporate interests who ‘vetted’ their research report.

Pardon me?

A manufactured home, built by Clayton Homes, is the report’s featured image. What were they thinking at UI?

And doesn’t that make their research at least appear to be at COI, and not much more than a higher class of one of MHI’s controversial paid advertorials?


Conflicts of Interest – COI

According to the facts presented, and uncovered to date, it implies the report has Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, and the Manufactured Housing Institute’s finger prints all over it.

See the flash Daily Business News initial report, linked below.


“Follow the Money” – Controversial Urban Institute Report on Manufactured Housing


One need not be an attorney, journalist, or researcher to realize that it all smells of conflicts of interest.  While this writer isn’t an attorney, one concurred with our assessment. As with all of our reports, fisking, fact-checks, commentary and analysis, we encourage readers to do their own homework, and see for themselves.

That said, why where those apparent conflicts of interest not disclosed?


Begging the Questions…

That clear lack of transparency begs several questions.

  • Why not disclose their respective interests and involvements?
  • Who benefits from the UI report on manufactured housing?
  • What does the report steer people to look at, as they ponder the manufactured housing industry?
  • What does the report steer people away from looking at, as they research manufactured housing as an important solution for the affordable housing crisis? (Note:  HUD is one of the sources for revenue to UI.  We believe editorially that the Trump Administration and HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, ought to suspend all such payments throughout the federal government, until the dark money ties and conflicts of interest that are working against the public’s and small businesses are all cleared up.)


Non-Profits, Foundations and Manufactured Housing

When the topic of philanthropy was raised in the Kevin Clayton interview video, Kevin himself points to foundations and non-profits that they believe will be important for them.

Clayton’s video interview also points specifically at using manufactured housing as urban infill.

Research is often done by nonprofit organizations.

Reports they create are in turn routinely picked up by media, educators, policy advocates, investors, and government.

When investors with a long-term horizon, as Buffett has, third party research is part of what they study.  Kevin says so, in his own words, in the video.  Kevin also speaks about Buffett’s connections and sources of information.


Kevin Clayton Interview-Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes CEO


The Kevin Clayton Interview Video is a Road Map in Numerous Ways

The video laces together in Kevin’s own words the concerns and allegations over:

  • monopolistic practices,
  • how vital credit is to the industry,
  • how nonprofits and foundations are important and are part of their plan.

It’s the truth hiding in plain sight.

The Manufactured Housing Institute is a non-profit.

Ignorance is no excuse. Forewarned is forearmed. MHI members would be wise to review the anti-trust warnings in the light of the reports linked from this page. A copy of those anti-trust warnings are found at this link, or by clicking on the MHI anti-trust warning, above.

NextStep, is at least in part, a non-profit.

So too the RV MH Hall of Fame, and the state associations which Clayton and 21st or other Berkshire Hathaway brands belong to as well.



The Clayton video interview explains why with sufficient capital, the affordable housing solution indeed ought to include a heavy dose of manufactured homes.

When a non-Berkshire Hathaway, non-MHARR company CEO told MHProNews in Louisville last month that MHI’s work for many years “has made no sense,” that’s true from the vantage point of a non-Berkshire Hathaway brand, or from someone who isn’t part of their insider circle.

Manufactured Housing Institute VP Revealed Important Truths on MHI’s Lobbying, Agenda

MHI board members have during the Richard “Dick” Jennison era complained to MHProNews that that the Arlington, VA based trade group has become a “secret society,” or an “exclusive club” that only a handful actually have any say in governance.


If these points, concerns, and allegations prove true, that’s problematic for the industry, and MHI members, on several levels.

Frank Rolfe: Pressured into Silence? Manufactured Housing Industry, and Journalism

We will boil it down to its essence.

Facts Matter – Mr. Obama’s “Alternative Universe,” Trump Admin, Investors & Politicized Manufactured Housing Data

We already noted on the Daily Business News that there are two great laws that manufactured housing benefits from.

Understanding these 2 existing federal laws, and having them fully implemented, would be major advances for public officials, those needing affordable housing, housing professionals, and investors.

McCrory Lawsuit – “Significant Victory Against Zoning Discrimination” – Manufactured Homes

Note that preemption was ignored in the Urban Institute report.  Why?

Two Great Laws Already on the Books NOW,  Can Unlock Billion$ Annually for Manufactured Housing Industry Businesse$, Investor$

We’ve noted that MHARR has raised concerns over the new class of manufactured housing that Clayton dominated MHI is pushing.

Sources at MHI and with Clayton homes told MHProNews that MHI’s public relations person has spent time at Clayton location(s). On MHI’s dime?  How is that fair to the association’s smaller members?

The videos that MHI produced benefit Next Step, a nonprofit that Clayton and MHI are both supporting.

Next Step is also part of the Duty to Serve (DTS) chattel (personal property, Home only lending) financing trials mandated by the 2008 Housing and Recovery Act (HERA).  Do you see the pattern of non-profits being used by Clayton, Berkshire, et al?

Manufactured housing already has enhanced preemption under the law. Why bother with a new class of home?

Harper – Thank You Rev Donald Tye, Fighting for Enhanced Preemption of Manufactured Homes


People still incorrectly call a manufactured home a mobile home, even though no mobile homes have been built for over 41 years.  Will a name change work, without education of the public on what manufactured homes are, versus the widespread image of them?  Isn’t it all just shadow boxing?  Making the industry think they are doing something, when they are buying time for more consolidation to take place?



The vast majority of the people I’ve met with a Berkshire Hathaway brand, or who are MHI members, are good folks.  We have connections with dozens of them.  Some are sources for MHProNews.

We have not at any time slammed the quality of Clayton’s products.  The vast majority of the folks I’ve met and know from Clayton, 21st, et all are fine people.

Our focus has been and will remain, what holds manufactured housing back? 

It’s the same question that the Urban Institute asked.

Berkshire Hathaway, directly and indirectly through political, regulatory, capital, nonprofits, et al has manipulated and allowed to be depressed the market for manufactured housing. They are doing so in ways that appear to be monopolistic.

Fraud, Class Action, CFPB-Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway, Clayton Homes, Vanderbilt Mortgage & Finance, 21st Mortgage, Manufactured Housing Institute, and the Manufactured Homes Industry

Kevin Clayton has in his own words, dotted those i’s and crossed the t’s, about Buffett hating competition, and instructing the building of “the Moat.”


So too has Warren Buffett.

“Perverse”–Warren Buffett-Dodd-Frank, CFPB, Manufactured Housing, Loans, Independent Businesses Fact Check$

We believe that there is plenty of evidence that the report from an award-winning MHI member to MHProNews was true when he said (paraphrasing), that ‘the big boys have figured out how to get the smaller companies to pay for what the big companies want.’  See that, linked here.

We also believe the pattern is there to support the claims of those past and present MHI members – along with others – who have told MHProNews how they personally have suffered from the monopolistic and other business practices of Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage, et al.

Killing Off 100s of Independent Manufactured Home Retailers, Production Companies – Tim Williams/21st Mortgage “Smoking Gun” Document 2



The industry’s post-production sector should forge a new trade association, as several have already advocated and are exploring.

Study Recommending New Manufactured Housing Association for Independent Retailers, Communities, Lenders, Others Released

There needs to be civil, administrative, and criminal inquiries made into these allegations involving MHI and Berkshire Hathaway, et al.

When Buffett, Jeff Bezos, and Jaime Dimon’s announcement earlier this week caused the markets to plunge, it is in the view of some analysts a warning shot across the bow of the Trump Administration.

Buffett, Bezos – Time Announcement to Drop Market Ahead of SOTU? Plus MH Market Update$

If so, that warning shot impacted investors.  No one should be above the law.

Arguably the most harmed are the mom-and-pop retailers and communities, along with any independently owned producer, supplier, or financial services company involved in manufactured housing.

Buffett became the biggest player in manufactured housing in 2003 with his first acquisitions.

Since the Kevin Clayton video interview was originally conducted, Clayton’s footprint in the industry doubled.  He did so using “the Moat,” financing, nonprofits, and other tools Kevin expresses in his own words.  Several of those are the topic of related reports, linked above and below as references.


There are reasons why Dick Jennison and Rick Robinson both ducked out on questions from a publication that is demonstrated it is pro-industry for years and years.

The Top Twelve Questions for Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) CEO, Richard “Dick” Jennison

What are they hiding?

Expert’s NWS Statement Reveals Serious Problems in Tornado WARNINGS & Manufactured Housing Safety Data

Why are they even hiding from their members good news that they ought to be spotlighting?


MHLivingNews and MHProNews have from the outset documented cases of good news for the manufactured housing industry. Why has MHI routinely failed to spotlight those good news stories for the industry to benefit from?   Learn more about the above at this link here.


Parting Takeaways for Today

Honorable, Non-Monopolistic Investors who take a long-term horizon view of manufactured and other forms of factory built housing ought to – and will – dive in.

Current Industry players who aren’t giants are the current best friends of a giant should demand action.

MHI needs to open its books, open its bylaws, and undergo a third-party forensic examination for conflicts of interest. We think there may be good reasons to disband the organization, as hopelessly corrupted (again, that’s not a slam on most members, but all must be aware of potential liability from maintaining their membership).

Fiduciary Responsibility to Corp Shareholders-MH Anti-Trust Concerns; Plus MH Market UPdate$

Berkshire Hathaway ought to face precisely what some have advocated, anti-trust action. That action should not be limited to Warren Buffett and his brands, because what happened last Tuesday was not the first or last time that billions of dollars in wealth could be wiped out by such market machinations.

The time for anti-trust civil, administrative and criminal investigations is long overdue.  Personalities across he political spectrum in and outside of manufactured housing say so.

Maxine Waters Statement, Preserving Access Manufactured Housing Act 2017, Warren Buffett, Clayton Homes

We believe that among the best ways to advance the industry is to expose MHI, and break up Berkshire Hathaway.

Until that happens, millions are being harmed, small business as being forced to sell for less than their value, or have been forced to close.


Tony took the photo at the right.

Its an American tragedy.  It’s Dark Money Conflicts that are harming real business people, and everyday Americans.  These are our concerns.  We’ve laid out the facts, and just some of the evidence in the above. Given Kevin Clayton’s own words, plus the links, isn’t it more than enough?  We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, fact checks, commentary.)

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

L. A. “Tony” Kovach is an award winning manufactured housing industry veteran, and is the managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC – the parent company to, and professional service provider to the factory-built housing industry.

Connect on LinkedIn 

December to Remember – Manufactured Housing News, Tips and Views 2015

December 3rd, 2015 No comments

If you’ve been in manufactured housing:

  • at least 5 years, and

  • have been to at least 3 MH professional events/association meetings/shows a year,

then odds are excellent that you know first hand how diverse our industry is:

  • politically,

  • by Industry segments (MH Retailers, MH Communities, MH Producers, Lenders, Installers, Transporters, Suppliers – plus sometimes stark differences within each of those segments!)

  • in size, business plans and approaches within each industry segments,

and any other measure of diversity (religion, ethnic, gender, familial status, etc.) you want to mention.


So it’s no surprise when you see a diversity of Featured Articles in this power-packed December to Remember 2015 issue of Here are examples of what you’ll find in this month’s featured articles. In no particular order of importance…

  1. 3 featured articles focused on the thoughts of ELS/EGI Chairman, Sam Zell, with our thanks to his friendly and efficient contact at ELS.

2) What some will see as the near ‘polar opposite’ of ELS, an exclusive video interview with Paul Bradley ROC USA (by the way, while their politics or other views might differ, both are savvy professionals, executing their respective plans). If you are thinking about exiting (selling) your MHC, this is timely viewing you’ll not want to miss.

3) MHI and MHARR featured articles (second month running).

4) A gathering of samples of praise for our independent trade publishing – again, across a wide spectrum – including kudos from “competitors” in their respective niche’s too.

5) Wayne Coakley’s strategies on managing your online MH reputation.

6) Spotlighting a new, rising start in MH in our exclusive – A Cup of Coffee with…Lindsey Bostick.

7) Another insightful column from the Fair Housing Lady, attorney Nadeen Green.

8) 21st Mortgage’s Lance Hull’s latest column, reporting on an update that should perk even more activity for their popular CASH Program – must reading for MHC pros.

9) Bob Vahsholtz unique take on the Image Problem (which is but one example that proves in part Tim Williams’ point – see #4 above – that not every comment or article on our site is something I necessarily agree with…but I’m still happy to share them).

10) Inspirational, thought provoking columns from our good friend Tim Connor, CSP – and from a cherished legend, Zig Ziglar, RIP.

11) Barry Cole’s update on the Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination challenge for the RV MH Hall of Fame.

  1. An inside look at something new for the 2016 Louisville Manufactured Housing Show – complete with a new video.

13) The Wisdom of Dr. Thomas Sowell. Want to bring common sense to a political or economic discussion? A few words from Dr. Sowell will often do the trick! Each quote a tweetable gem!

14) Exclusive comments to MHProNews and a downloadable report by Dr. Sebastian Gorka, on terrorism in the U.S. (eerily timely, given the tragic San Bernardino apparent terror attack). Let me take a moment and say that almost any business of any size today needs to consider their preventative steps in case of an active shooter incident. Please plan and prepare now, and mitigate or avoid problems later.

All told, we have 18 new Featured Articles in our December to Remember issue.

Bonus! Free Christmas Gift that Keeps on Giving! You can sign yourself or a team member(s) up in seconds for the industry’s leading emailed news updates.  Go to and give the free gift of priceless insights – the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use ©  – that keeps on giving. 


From our family to yours, let me hereby wish you a good Advent, our Jewish friends a happy Hanukkah and to all a Merry Christmas.


Team Kovach = (l-r) Soheyla (prounounced So Hey La), video drone assistant – Tamas (pronounced Tah Mash) and L. A. Tony Kovach (prounounced Co-Vatch like Watch). Matthew Silver, Jan Hollingsworth and Charles Drake plus many volunters and sponsors who join together – all to bring you the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros Can Use. © Photo above, from 83 Degress Media.

With no further adieu, please dive into this month’s fabulous Featured Articles, also found via the MHProNews home page under the Daily Business News module.

Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 7, No. 2, 2015

Alphabetically by Category



• Snow Removal, Community Rules and Fair Housing…really?

by Nadeen Green, JD

nadeen-green-mhpronews-comMany manufactured housing communities are in warm and sunny climes or in areas where a few snowflakes are all that you will see; although when they fall, even those few snowflakes can be a source of great panic, requiring residents to stampede to the grocery stores for bread and milk.

Read more…



• Act NOW for Enhanced Manufactured Home Lending

by Lesli Gooch, Ph.D.

LesliGooch-PhD-MHIvicePresident-GovernmentRelations-postedMHProNews50x50-The federal government is currently operating under a “Continuing Resolution,” which passed in October and runs through December 11th.

Read more…



• Getting More Affordable Housing for Manufactured Home Communities

by Lance Hull

LanceHull21stMortgageCorporationPostedMHProNews-com-55x55.jpgIn 2012, 21st Mortgage launched the Communities Affordable Spec Home (CASH) Program to expand affordable housing finance options to home buyers purchasing homes for placement in land-leased communities.

Read more…



a-cup-mhmsm-com1) Who, What and Where: (Your name and your formal title at Sunshine Homes and where your company is based).

My name is Lindsey Bostick. I work at Sunshine Homes, which is located in Red Bay, AL.

Read more…


• Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination – RV MH Hall of Fame

by Barry Cole

BarryCole-mhHallofFame-55x55Great News! The manufactured housing (MH) segment of the RV/MH Heritage Foundation has received pledges totaling $622,314 toward the $1 Million Kevin Clayton Debt Elimination Campaign.

Read more…


• World Economy Operating on Slow – Sam Zell Video

 by L. A. “Tony” Kovach

tony- kovachInvestment legend Sam Zell is Chairman of manufactured home communities leader, ELS – as well as a host of other investments. Mr. Zell is featured in this recent video interview.

Read more…


• Sam Zell’s Investment Fundamentals – Performance

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachEquity Lifestyles (ELS) has long been a leader in the manufactured home community business.

Read more…


• Can Factories or other Businesses be targets for ISIS or other Jihadi Groups? Insights on Terrorism from Expert, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Ph.D. 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachIn the wake of recent attacks in Paris and Mali on civilian targets, reasonable professionals may ask, what is the possible threat to U.S. businesses and the MH industry?

Read more…


• The Wisdom of Dr. Thomas Sowell

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachProven, sound principles should trump posturing. Common sense needs to become more common again.

Read more…


• Something New to See at the Louisville MH Show! Or in many markets…near you? 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach

tony- kovachAs a successful MH Retailer – who sold the sales center but still does manufactured home consulting for firms of all sizes – I know first hand things savvy retailers want.

Read more…


• Why Should Exiting Manufactured Home Community Owners Consider Going Resident Ownership? Inside MH Video Interview with Paul Bradley, ROC USA

by Soheyla Kovach

s-kThere are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Manufactured Home Communities (MHCs – aka ‘mobile home parks’) that are on the market or could be for sale soon.

Read more…


• ‘Politicians, President Lies’ – Dodd-Frank, China and Contrarian Investment Insights from Sam Zell 

by L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach, NABE and EGI

tony- kovachDiane Swonk introduced investment mogul Sam Zell to the living gathering reported by the National Association of Business Economics (NABE) with an explanation that Mr. Zell speaks with very little filter.

Read more…


• The Importance and Value of Independent MH Trade Publications

by MH Industry Voices

MH-IV-manufacturedhousing-industryvoices-symbol-mhpronews-What follows is a sampling of comments by professionals and manufactured housing (MH) industry members, who have specifically commented on the importance and value of independent, online MH trade publications.

Read more…


• The Image Problem— Stage Three

by Bob Vahsholtz

bob-vahsholtz-author-dueling-curves-battle-for-housing-posted-industry-voices-guest-blog-mhpronews-com-manufatured-housing-professional-news-50x50-All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.

Read more…


• MHARR Calls On FEMA To Terminate “ROGUE” Contract – Exposes Effort to Expand Role of Monitoring Contractor

by M. Mark Weiss, JD


M-MarkWeiss-MHARRPresident-ManufacturedHousingAssociationRegulatoryReform-posted-MHProNews-com-50x50-For the second time in less than a year, the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR)

Read more…




•How Marketing Your 5 Star MH Reputation Leads to More Sales

by Wayne Coakley

WayneCoakleyGrenadeMarketingGroupReputationMarketing-ManufacturedHousing-55x62 headshot_MHProNews-com-I’m hopeful you are aware of the importance of online reviews for your manufactured home business.

Read more…





• 3 Tips – Expectations, the Present, Differences

by Tim Connor, CSP


tim-connor-mhmsm-comAbsorb and apply these three tips this week.

Read more…



• ZigOn: A Special Christmas Message

by Zig Ziglar

zig-ziglarIt’s Christmas, Not a “Holiday Season.”

Read more…


Radix 2-14MH!

February 14th, 2014 No comments

google-radix-definition-posted-mashtead-blog-mhpronews-com-.jpgWhen you talk to a truly good MD, they are interested in your symptoms, but mainly so they can get to the root cause of the problem. Radix comes from the Latin, here is what Google provided among the definitions.

When we go to a meeting like the recent one MHI held in advance of our Hill visits in DC, there are always a number of side conversations. These are far more numerous than the main presentations.

Some of these are quiet in the sense that someone expounds on a view that may not be voiced in public.

There can be a lot of reasons for not saying what one believes, but suffice it to say that some of these unpublic statements are significant.

Some point towards the radix – root causes or origins of – our woes as an industry.

Industry Woes?

For those who see the happy face in the crowd that leads a cheer, sings a few bars of a song or tries to look for the silver lining to the dark clouds, please keep in mind that there is a method to what some might see as frivolity.

Before you can rally the troops, they must first believe there is hope for something better! The patient goes to the doctor looking for the cure.

MHI supplied facts and talking points reveal that Manufactured Housing has averaged some 21% of all home sales for the last 2 decades. Well, we've slumped from that level. We are 'recovering' from a shipment level of under 50,000 four years ago, to topping 60,000 in 2013 for the first time in years.

But that's a tepid recovery. When you read the words "industry woes," it's because we do have good news that should give us hope – a steady four year uptick – but we must also be honest and mature enough to say, we are just scratching the surface of our potential.

In 2013, there were some 800,000 new housing units started, and we in MH did a partly 60,000? That's less than 8% or all new starts. At the historic 21% level, we should have done about 250,000 new homes. Nor should we limit ourselves to that 1 in 5, we can do better.

We need to step back and see what is the radix – the root cause – of this low level of sales! For a current comparison, there were about 5 times as many RVs sold as manufactured homes in 2013. RVs, which includes motorized and towable units, generally sell for much more per square foot than a manufactured home.

Hello? Do you see what we see suggested in such facts?

  • We've spotlighted Green Courte Partner's Randy Rowe's 5 Point Plan for MH Industry Recovery a number of times.
  • We've quoted Sam Landy, who said we could be doing 300,000 new MH shipments a year.
  • Drew's Leigh Abrams has strongly pointed out the need for an MH Image building campaign.
  • The Ohio MH Association's Tim Williams has pointed out the strong need for public home shows as part of the solution to growing our industry's image and sales.
  • We've showcased on that we can sell upscale manufactured homes, not just entry level product.
  • We sell homes that the U.S. Census Bureau states are half the cost of conventional on-site housing construction.
  • 20 million new housing units are needed by 2030.
  • Incomes are down, and about half of the 10,000-plus-a-day new retirees don't have the dollars needed for a comfortable retirement.
  • The median U.S. FICO Score is over 700, so why do we see so many sub-600 customers at our communities and retail centers?

We could go on and on with examples, but let these suffice for now in saying that we can do far better than 60,000 shipments. To do so, we must get Radix, we must get to the root cause of our issues.

What are the elements for doing better? Let's propose the following.

First the Dream. Jim Clayton's book title is spot on by suggesting you have to dream or 'believe' something is doable first in order to achieve it. Napoleon Hill said, "Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve."

Objective Reality. We must get past stereotypes and falsehoods – many held by owners, managers and members of our own industry – that limit our performance. We are all entitled to our own opinions, but we are not entitled to our own facts. We must become more objective, more fact based and get better at sharing those facts, because they are routinely in our favor.

Remarketing/Resales. One of the powerful quotes we mention is Kevin Clayton quoting Warren Buffett, saying: “Kevin, it seems like the problem of your industry is resale.” This is a HUGE issue. Fix resale to be more like real estate, and personal property lending rates can drop and we would not be nearly so stressed by the CFPB!

Education/training. We encourage attendance at shows like the big one upcoming in Tunica in March or MHI's Congress and Expo in April, in part precisely because education is offered! We can't produce better results without the solid education of the people who are on the front lines and sell our homes!

Communications/Messaging/Branding/ReBranding. Some of this is a technology issue. The WHA's Ross Kinzler recently said publicly that they did a study and found that some 80% of the manufactured home communities in their state had no web presence. 80%! Imagine that poor looking used car lot down in the rough side of town, they have a website. Why are so many in our industry not online, or are using outdated websites?

Remember, the NAR says that some 94% of home shoppers are looking online. Getting a grip on the internet is just part of the messaging problem we have to admit and correct.

Public/Media/Officials Education. We have a great story! We can sell a 'shade and shelter' entry level product that is half the price of conventional housing, per the U.S. Census Bureau. We have a residential style home that can save 20%, 30% or more over a similar 'site built' house. Duh! This is a no-brainer when rents are rising and federal/state budgets are strained for subsidized housing and we have the quality, affordable homes solution! Image and education go hand in hand.

We should not settle for crumbs at the foot of the table, when we ought to be feasting at the table.



Most MH videos don't top 1000 views.
It took a year for this video to hit 10,000 views.
In the next 8 months since we launched and posted it there,
we are now at 50,000 views.
Retailers and Communities show this videoto those
tornado-concerned prospects, and this often helps close them.
Shatter the myths and outdated stereotypes, and we will sell more homes.

Being Part of the Solution

Think about our two main logos, and you'll see that our initial and evolving vision here addresses those needs.



Every Solution is Profitably within our Collective Reach!

Here is the good news. Every problem we face has a common sense solution that's within our collective reach.

The biggest players in our industry need the front line pros and the mid-sized to mom-and pop sized independents to make good business happen.

All sized businesses need the engagement of associations to keep government over-reach at bay. We need to energize our customer base, and not let the Ishbel Dicken's types be the only organizing voices in our communities.

The financing is there, the customer pool is huge, but we must tap it and track it using CRM tied to robust online marketing.

Want to profit more? Don't be stuck in a rut. Be a part of the change.

2014 Louisville Show


The Good News is

Packed seminars at Louisville tell us pros are hungry for knowledge. Our ever growing readership is perhaps the clearest sign that people are hungry to know more so they can grow more. You and others like you want the Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use. A growing number of people in and outside of our industry are seeing our value in a new light. All of that means we are poised for greatness, which is why Sam Landy keeps buying MHCs (their portfolio has doubled in size in 5 years), and why legends like Warren Buffett and Sam Zell have billions invested in our sector.


2014 Louisville Show
Will the rapidly approaching 2014 Tunica Show
also set new attendance records?

Let's get Radix

Be radix focused. While dealing with HR 1779 and S 1828, let us be very much root-cause focused. I'd toss in that fixing DC politics and bureaucracy would be a huge help, but that detail will be for another column or report.

Ready for the secret?

We have been focused on the root causes since we launched over 4 years ago. An ever-growing number of industry pros are seeing things in a new light.

We truly are better together. As Barry Noffsinger at CU Factory Built Lending suggested, be the change that gets to the heart of the matter.

See you in Tunica? We will be at booth 13H, right by the Seminar room, pretty cool huh?! ##

L. A. "Tony" KovachL. A. 'Tony' Kovach | |
Business and Public Marketing & Ads: B2B | B2C
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Tunica Tonight Trumps Twilight

March 27th, 2013 No comments

From mom and pops, to rank and file, to some of the biggest names in our industry, are all in Tunica MS tonight because of the biggest manufactured housing show of the year. When Kevin Clayton and his peers go to an event, it signals it truly is a news making one worth attending.

The Dennis Hill vision of a trade show is for a positive, upbeat event.  Rightly so!  I can tell you the overall mood is cautiously optimistic to enthusiastic.

The turnout reflects that fact. Already had 68 more attendees came today on the first day of the show than all of last year. So we are already in recent history record territory for Tunica. Thursday and Friday will only add to that record. Eclipsing 2000 'all in' from every segment of the industry is already a done deal.

New manufactured home shipments are rising.  Many stars are lining up that could boost our industry further upward.  But individual business pros like you must seize the day, today.

Those who eulogize Hugo Chavez can rightly say that he fundamentally transformed Venezuela.  The same can be said about American life in the U.S. in the past decade. Without walking the history, politics and economics of all of this recent economic fall and slow-dance recovery, the facts are that the average U.S. citizen is now poorer.  

But they still want and need a home of their own!

Less income and still want a nice home.  Hello?! That's where we in factory built home building come in.  

If our generations in this time have any of the same stuff that:

  • Fought the Great War (WWI).
  • Endured the Great Depression.
  • Won World War II.
  • Put a man on the moon.
  • and put tens of millions into a home of their own…

…then we too will be able to rise to this occasion and turn lemons into lemonade.  

We too can turn this passing crisis into opportunity that knocks upon our door!

If you are not yet in Tunica, and are in driving distance, change your plans and make the drive.   If you are here already, stay the extra day.

We are in a great industry that is slowly rising from the bottom we hit two years ago.

The Tunica Show trumps the twilight some claim has hit our industry. Some only change when they hit bottom.  We hit that bottom two years ago. We are rising anew.

With dozens of homes, exhibits, business building seminars, and some two thousand pros gathered here to potentially network and/or do deal making with, it is an amazing event you have to experience.  It will lift you up!

For those waking up here, you already know what an amazing event this truly is.

We are glad to be here in Tunica tonight. Please stop by the seminar room, where our booth will be to say hi.  Buy some products, find the deals, get some services, do some networking, let's all do some more business! ##

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

other new stories at too.

l-a--tony-kovachL. A. "Tony" Kovach and Spotlighting the MHLifeStyle = Industry News, Tips and Views Pros can Use

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

Office –815-270-0500 or connect with me on Linkedin.


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

The Boomers

June 20th, 2012 No comments

Let me start by inviting you to take a good look at this Industry Voices guest blog post by a seasoned West Coast MH Business owner, entitled, Will we catch the Tsunami?

If you haven’t read it yet, please do.

Yes, now, before proceeding.


Glad to have you back.  As you can see John provides us all with insightful food for thought.  He hits a theme near to one of our own.  Namely, that our market potential is far greater than the 50,000 +/- new home shipments that we have been experiencing in recent years.

It is great that we have 9 months of steady increases in HUD Code manufactured home shipments. It is great that Texas and MHI have teamed up with SNR Denton on going to the CFPB to lobby for modifications of Dodd-Frank and SAFE ala HR 3849, which still needs to be pushed too.

We have resources that need to be tapped that are underutilized that would make the tsunami that John speaks about real. Many of those will be part of the Texas Manufactured Housing Association’s (TMHA) upcoming meeting. I’ll talk about some of those opportunities in my presentation at the TMHA annual event.

But there is more needed and possible.

Remarketing needs to become a priority for our Industry. In a conversation with a mover-and-shaker, this topic came up. The gent I was speaking to agreed, and related some examples he knew first hand about the profits that arose from remarketing for those manufactured home companies who took part in remarketing.

Do you hear the word, profits?

Chattel – and even land/home – in our Industry will never reach its full potential until we have a workable remarketing mechanism for manufactured home owners and lenders. Sound remarketing would give us what conventional housing builders de-facto enjoy; ie: real estate brokerage. Without remarketing, as Warren Buffett Kevin Clayton and others have observed, we are handicapping ourselves, our customers, our lenders and all those who supply and support those groups.

Put remarketing in the mix of your association’s discussion/action items.

Get involved yourself in remarketing; you don’t have to wait for Congress or your state legislature to act.

Done correctly, remarketing is profitable and will boost new home sales over time.

If remarketing is ignored or goes un-advanced, we are limiting our potential big time. What will you do? Will you advocate and get in on the remarketing ground floor?

Here is the big hint that dovetails with the Boomer’s article by John. Millions of people would gladly pay less to own one of our quality homes! What they want to know is, what is my exit strategy when it comes time to sell? Put yourself in the prospects or home owner or lender’s shoes. Knowing you have a remarketing – an exit strategy – increases the value of the purchase. It makes the financing more secure. It is a no-brainer.

Do you see why remarketing is important? It answers a basic need that the market has been asking us for over the course of many years. Let me close on a bold claim. Our downturn since 1998 would not have been nearly so severe, and our secondary market and lending options would be far greater, if we had effective remarketing in place. Let’s not blow a grand opportunity for ourselves again.##


Post by
L. A. ‘Tony’ Kovach or
Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals

Office – 815-270-0500 or


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


David Booth, Kevin Clayton, Warren Buffett, Barack Obama and Associations

April 9th, 2012 No comments

David Booth's lengthy tenure at the head of Clayton Homes retail division came to an official close at the 2012 Tunica Manufactured Housing Show. David demurred a photo op, and simply expressed looking forward to a well earned retirement. Kevin Clayton has personally taken over those duties. For those who wonder how that is possible – given all of Kevin's other hats – one must look to the structure of Clayton's retail division. With seasoned, capable leaders in key leadership roles in retail, Kevin has an enviable advantage.

It is said that Warren Buffett personally gave the nod to this new arrangement regarding Kevin Clayton's retail responsibilities. Buffett's belief in Kevin is well known, but what is also behind this is a tip of the hat to those executives in key retail roles that now report directly to Mr. Clayton.

Some state executives mention the fact that the corporate culture of Clayton Homes is important to their state's association. Clayton Homes has a policy of support and positive engagement in association activities. The significance of this policy is vital to many. A key reason why follows.

Clayton does not require that their manufactured home retail locations stock only homes produced by one of the Berkshire-Hathaway owned HUD Code or modular factories. In fact, a Clayton retail general manager is encouraged to look at and buy inventory from other manufacturers that he (or she) thinks best for their store's market. The reasons for this policy are numerous, and perhaps we will look at it in another column. Suffice it to say for now to say that the net result is that in some states, 45-70% of all HUD label fees paid to a given state association come from homes sold by a Berkshire-Hathaway owned factory, or by another manufacturer through a Clayton Homes retail center.

Associations of necessity must work with members of both the Democrat and Republican parties. Bi-partisan engagement is a by word at national, state, communities and manufacturing associations alike. You may be a member of one party or the other, or perhaps like myself, you are an independent. You may completely favor one party's platforms and agendas over another, the 'straight ticket' type of approach. But as noted, associations must be able to work with both major parties in order to get their work done on our Industry's behalf at the state and/or national level.

Warren Buffett is a rather public supporter and buddy of President Barack Obama. Buffett's Berkshire-Hathaway owns Clayton and a number of other manufacturing, lending, retail and supply elements of manufactured and modular homes. So does Buffett ever ask for help from the president and his party on an issue like "Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing" – HR 3849, which would favorably amend portions of the SAFE Act and Dodd-Frank – or not?

Interesting question, isn't it?

But the Buffett-Obama-HR 3849 issue may not be as cut and dried as one might think at first glance.

The presidential re-election campaign's fund-raising is not yet at levels that were expected. So the campaign advised Democrats in Congress not to count on it for their re-election efforts. President Obama's 3.6 trillion dollar 2013 budget was unanimously defeated – 414 – 0 – in a stunningly bi-partisan way in the House of Representatives last month. Imagine, not even Nancy Pelosi voted for the Obama budget! Do you think there is any chance that no money for their own campaigns had anything to do with total lack of Democratic support in the House for the president's budget? How would that type of reality and the triangulation based upon it impact the timing of a possible Buffett-Obama-HR 3849 request?

Sometimes what we are left with are facts and questions.

What we do know is that we have to do our personal part in contacting our Congressman and U.S. Senators to get HR 3849 supported and passed. After contacts in DC and later, my Congressman is on board. How about yours?

Segueing back to Clayton, what we know is that their company offers us many important lessons and potential insights. Often when I greet a Clayton team member, asking how things are going, I hear the upbeat reply "Living the Dream!"

The Clayton culture seems to cultivate a winning esprit de corps, a positive 'can do' attitude and as noted above, a pro-association involvement. That the company has been profitable in spite of macro-economic challenges is another factor we should note as worthy of emulation.

Depending on when you read this blog post, the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) 2012 Congress at Caesar's Palace in Las Vegas will be looming, underway or over. If tradition holds, some from the Berkshire-Hathaway manufacturing, finance and other elements will be there. Manufactured housing communities will be strongly represented at Congress, as the National Communities Council (NCC) will be meeting there as well. Other suppliers, insurers, retailers, lenders and vendors as well as association executives from coast to coast will be there too. I plan to be there, and may well share a thought or two or any industry news of note after the event in an upcoming blog post. ##

Alert! NOTICE! If YOU and YOUR associates have not yet contacted your U.S. Congressional Representative and Senators in support of HR 3849, please go to this link.

If you have customers who own manufactured homes, do them and yourself a favor: provide them with this link, so that they can contact their Congressional representatives too. ##


post by

L. A. 'Tony' Kovach, MHM or
Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals

Office – 815-270-0500 or


Reforming and Countering SAFE and Dodd-Frank

March 23rd, 2012 2 comments

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has begun to line up support for HR 3849, dubbed "Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act.”  The bill would amend portions of the SAFE Act and Dodd-Frank. The good news for our industry is there is bi-partisan support for the measure in the House, with over a dozen legislators signed on at this time in support. Barney Frank's office has told MHI that they will not stand in the way of the change, because they understand its importance to the Industry. These factors and others can pave the way for support in the Senate, which would be necessary for the bill to advance towards law.

So the legislative 'fix' for SAFE and Dodd-Frank is in process. One critical question is, how long will it take?

Another, what will happen if the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) begins to regulate as anticipated? According to testimony by Kevin Clayton, just over half of the chattel (personal property, home only) loans that have previously been made will not be made moving ahead. The reason? The costs for origination, servicing, etc. would not make loans under $30,000 profitable, so those finance companies will not make them.

Because 60% of all manufactured housing lending today is personal property (home only, chattel) lending, this could lop off 20,000 or more new home sales from HUD Code manufactured home producers and retailers. That event would obviously be bad news; a serious blow to the recovery that has been underway in the last 6 months, as manufactured home sales have steadily risen for half a year.

MHI, state, community and other industry associations have been working to line up the legislative support for HR 3849. An important step for EVERY industry professional – from owners and executives, to managers, office and rank-and-file workers – is to personally contact your U.S. House of Representatives member and also both of your U.S. Senators to ask them to support HR 3849. Phone calls, faxes, emails or letters can all help accomplish that goal.

But to help insure the passage of this bill, we need to do more!

That more is line up the other parties who are negatively impacted by Dodd-Frank and the SAFE Act if unamended. Namely, manufactured home owners! An estimated 4.4 million mobile (pre-HUD Code) and manufactured homes with values under $30,000 will be impacted. In essence, 9-10 million residents in those homes could see their ability to refinance or sell their home to others via third party financing decimated. That would mean their home values would drop, and a string of other negative consequences to them and our Industry would arguably follow.

So what more can we do?

Enlist the support of those customers and clients of our Industry who own and live in HUD Code manufactured housing and pre-HUD Code mobile homes! But how can that best be done?

There are many possibilities, but let us point the way to a method we hope you and thousands of others in our Industry will embrace.




The web addresses above point to a website that targets manufactured and mobile home owners/residents. If you go to that site, you will see articles that are geared towards those homeowners. Notice the Alert tab at the top of the site. Click on that tab, and see the article that pops up. Then, send an email to your customers with that link!

Can it really be that easy?

Why not?

We need all the help that we can get, and there is NOTHING more important in an election year than voters! With millions of mobile and manufactured home owners, this could be turned into an important issue for legislators. If it passes the House and the Senate, there would be no good reason for President Obama to oppose signing HR 3849 bill into law.

We plan to develop into an important multi-purpose resource for the Manufactured Housing Industry over time. But nothing will be more important than taking this first step.

Protect the interests of manufactured home owners. Protect 20,000+ jobs that could be impacted if Dodd-Frank and SAFE Acts don't get amended. Protect your own company, your job and/or that of your team mates as well as the Industry's future. Take a strong, two-fisted approach. Contact your Senators and U.S. Representative, and have all of your team members do the same to support HR 3849. Then, contact your customers, give them the website address tell them to click on the Alert tab, and ask them to do the same.

They should thank you for doing so. And you will be the winner when you take these two steps. Don't delay. ##


post by

L. A. “Tony” Kovach, MHM or
Innovation – Information – Inspiration for Industry Professionals

Office – 815-270-0500 or