Posts Tagged ‘Manufactured Housing Institute’

Cocktails and Dreams

August 4th, 2013 No comments

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

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

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


The 2013 inductees to the Hall will include:

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

More details can be found at this link.

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

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

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

Shifting Gears!

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

On the MHProNews side…

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

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

MH Captive Financing

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

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

Scientia sit Potentia

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

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

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Manufactured Housing, HR 1779 and the Bigger Issue

June 12th, 2013 1 comment

Let me begin by saying that MHProNews is highly supportive of HR 1779 as a reasonable remedy to a vexing set of financing and related challenges for manufactured housing homeowners and our industry's professionals. There are state/community association executives who have told me they have made a number of trips to DC this year – in addition to local visits with their Congressman, Senators and respective staffs – to advance the cause of HR 1779. As a bill with bi-partisan support in both chambers, it ought to and can succeed. Please see the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) Chairman, Nathan Smith's call to action message that is linked here.

That said, are we sadly caught up in a larger flytrap?

Let me share an email thread that came into me earlier this week. I'm removing the names of those in the thread, but the rest of the messages are word-for-word as received. This is a 'story within a story,' and is shared with a purpose.

As the context will show, the first email is community owner – an independent 'mom and pop' operation – asking others he addressed for advice about his challenges. It is followed by the first (and I'm showing only the first) reply to this thread. None of these messages are mine.


————– first email from a manufactured home community owner ————–

If a person earns $15.00 an hour and brings home $12.00 of that for 40 hours they will bring home $480 a week x 4 weeks = $1920.00 bring home a month.

Our rule when looking at income vs. expense is roughly this: We don't like to take anyone whose house and lot payment is more than 30% of their bring  home. This has become a percentage that seems to make for a long term resident, more than 30% and we have trouble getting our rent.

So, a person bringing home $1920 each month needs to rent for $569 a month- lot and house payment.

Alot of other factors go into our decision after that such as how much their car payments are, child support, credit cards, medical bills, gasoline, food, etc. but still we shoot for 30% for shelter.

If they are seasonal type workers like roofers or landscaping that is a big factor also.

The way I figure it is a home would have to cost about $20,000 to get to that monthly number we need of $569.00 a month.

We know that approx. $8000 covers A/C, skirting, set-up, utility connections, permits, etc.

We know our lot rent is $242 a month.

Ga. sales tax is 7% or $1960

If the home is $20,000 + $8000 + $1960  all that = $29,960.00 with no profit built in for advertising, decor or furniture to show better, my insurance and taxes , electricity, on the home while I own it.

If, and that's a big if, someone had $3000 or 10% down to start the deal, and we can get the bank to finance them, and if they had decent credit, and if I were to go on the note with them and assume the note if they go bad on it, and other stuff, the bank  would finance $26,960 for the new owner.

If all that I mentioned above were good with the banker and they loaned the money at 8% for 120 months or 10 years, their payments would be $327 for the house then my $242 for the lot or a total of $569.00 a month.

Maybe 10 years is too short to finance a home, but 20-30 is way too long also.

If a person makes less than $15 an hour, or don't work 40 hours etc. you see where this is going. If the home is not well insulated and say they have at least 2 kids (probably a cat or dog they have sneaked in) and their power bills start hitting $250 a month to heat or cool if the house is not well insulated and gasoline cost keep rising, and food and medical, or they have a car breakdown,  you see where we are going.

Currently I'm renting 22 homes, and for the 22 homes my avg. rent is $611 a month and I'm having a heck of a time keeping quality people in them at this price.

In the past 6 working days here is what has happened:
DW- rent was $650- bad health, lost job and moved in with sister- gone
DW- rent is $650- diagnosed with COPD, lost job, moving this Sat. with family
SW- rent is $550- teacher, lost his job, moving in with girlfriend in Huntsville-moving the 13th
DW- rent is $750- works out of town, hinting on moving due to storm fears and high cooling cost, not sure if we are going to keep him or for how long.
SW- Husband died last week of brain cancer, wife does not work and not old enough to draw Social Security, never worked. Expecting her to not pay next month and probably eviction shortly.
SW-SW – two empty homes I'm showing now to sale or rent.

Pretty sure I can't get much of a house for $20,000, so unless we extend the years or lower the interest rate or get more down payment, it's a booger to figure out.

A friend of mine, professional -white collar-  both very well educated, both kids out of the house,  and both husband and wife making very good money told me the story of him and his wife sitting down one night wondering where their money was going at the end of the month. Where they use to have alot extra to blow, it's not there and they starting looking at the cost of their food, eating out, gasoline, taxes, meds, etc. and found that even they were spending more than they were bringing home. Does it go back to 'its not how much you make buy how much you spend"?

With all this being said, I guess this is why I keep inching my way to the boomer conversation. I've always felt when an older couple downsize they may have funds for a large downpayment or pay cash. They have no kids to drain them each week. They do  not impluse buy. They know how much they must have to live on and what they need to pay each month for a house. I think they are tired of mowing and cleaning gutters and want a quality home with good energy saving features. They want to travel and let us mow the grass. So, a two master suite on each end home keeps popping up. If I"m right, then we are not talking about a $20,000 home anymore but double that or more. Baby boomers are coming but I"m not seeing anyone really take aim at them and market to them.

So, a couple of things come to mind. And I'd like anyone to give me some feedback on this and help me clear my thinking or new thoughts on how to go a different route.

I. I need to bring in those who make more than $15.00 an hour
2. I need folks with bigger down payments.
3. I buy used homes, bring them in and renovate them.
4. Finance them longer than 10 years
5. Rent the home
6. Drop 16 wides and go with 14's and smaller in length, and go back to metal/metal.

Maybe in the day and time we live in, just having decent shelter is the best most can ask for right now. Even if it's a 1 bedroom in a nice community, for now that's the most  can afford until things change for them.

Unless I have a pool, clubhouse, amentities like some of the rest of you guys and others, I'm not going to draw in the higher end income folks I need?

Looking outside our world, I see McDonalds doing the $1.00 menu. Steak and Shake now expanding their $4.00 meals and all you can eat pancakes for $4.00. Burger King doing a $5.00 lunch bag. Bi-Lo you can earn gasoline reductions, right now we have enough to get 75 cents a gallon off now up to 20 gallons. Apts. not even charging a security deposit, or an animal deposit.

They are changing the way they do business.

In my world I keep thinking my rents are $650 and going up, and getting full deposits, and animal deposits, etc. Buying 16×80's 3/2.

Never have I thought about lowering my cost to bring in business like what I just mentioned above. Are others changing the way they are thinking and lowering their cost to create more volume? Did my affordable style of living become too high while I was looking the other way for the regular working man? Where $650 use to be the norm, now it's $550 or less? How do I become affordable again and have enough income to pay my growing bills? And where can I buy a home that pays for itself in a reasonable time with todays cost of building them? Can a nice energy effecient home be built today for $20,000?

Move my cheese please. Please respond to all and let's see what happens with this.


————– reply to above from another MH Community owner/operator ————–

We have found that it is critical to consider not only the “Front-End” Debt-To-Income (DTI) ratio, but also the “Back-End” DTI.  Front-End DTI is the ratio of housing costs (excluding utilities) to gross income.  Back-End DTI is the ratio of housing costs (excluding utilities) plus other recurring debts (car payment, furniture payment, child support, etc.) to gross income. 

At that income level, our acceptable Front-End DTI limit is 30% of gross income.  So we would approve that applicant with $2,600/mo. gross income to rent a house and lot for $780/mo. 

The problem is that many of our prospective residents have more debt than they can handle – which is not counted in the Front-End DTI.  At that income level, our acceptable Back-End DTI limit is 40% of gross income.  If that same applicant has a $400/mo. truck pmt. and a $100/mo. furniture pmt., the 40% Back-End DTI would limit his acceptable rent to only $540/mo. – over 30% less than if the only the Front-End DTI is considered.

To complete the underwriting, we verify income, pull credit, get written explanations on derogatory items (we want them to know that we know about the derogatory entries), check rental history, check criminal history, and require applicants to prepare a budget showing that they can afford their new or used home.

When we tightened underwriting several years ago, MH defaults dropped significantly.  In fact, in the Lease-Option sale of new MHs over the past 3 years, we have yet to experience the first default.

We all know there are many factors affecting the success of our home sales: configuring the house, pricing the house, lot/site rent, our cost of funds, marketing/advertising, providing the lifestyle our residents want, etc.  In my opinion, proper underwriting of prospective applicants is right up there close to the top.


————– end of emailed messages ————–

FYI, I know both of the individuals in this thread. So let's presume that they are simply trying to make an honest living, which is my impression of the above.

6 years ago, this would have been a much easier conversation or email exchange to have.

This year, in the current environment, I would ideally want a legal opinion before rendering a direct reply. Even with an expert attorney in such matters at my side, we would both want a lot more detail, because what the second person says in his commentary may be a disguised credit transaction under the law as it exists today. That may trigger $25,000 per incident fines. 10 contracts fined at 25K yields a cool quarter million dollars. Ouch.

There is no doubt in my mind that given a 'free market' with a modicum of common sense regulations, both of these individuals could access straightforward solutions that would serve the public and allow them to make a good living.


From my perspective, I might tell the person who sent the first message above, that yes, he should strive to market and sell up, without ignoring his traditional base of business. That is part of what we teach in our consulting work with retailers, communities and those doing business with the public.

But today, these and thousands of others in our industry are arguably being squeezed by regulations that didn't exist, or were not as stringent, 6 years ago as they are today.


What is the bigger picture issue?

Shouldn't we ask, what sort and size of government do we want to have? What should the relationship be between regulators and those regulated?

Having traveled to Texas a number of times in recent years, and having worked in the Texas market some years back, the relationship between the TDHCA (the state's regulatory agency, Texas Department of Housing and Consumer Affairs, with their Manufactured Housing Division lead by Joe Garcia) is a far more reasonable working one than we see in many other cases.

Is it too much to ask for a good working relationship with regulators and legislators? Not at all.

Costs of Compliance

In a column dated 4.15.2013, The Washington Post had this revealing quote:

It takes the average American taxpayer 13 hours to comply with the tax code, gathering receipts, reading the rules and filling out the forms the IRS requires. . . . The tax code forces Americans to spend over $168 billion to comply and 6 billion hours.”

  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), hearing of the House Ways & Means Committee, April 11, 2013

The Post went onto say that the figures Camp used were based on the IRS's own reports and that of the IRS’ National Taxpayer Advocate. So this is a matter of facts and figures, not party partisanship.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce cites reports in 2012 that the cost of regulatory compliance is an astonishing 1.7 trillion dollars annually.

I won't go into 'scandal-town' reports, because the media is talking routinely about that based at times upon their unique political perspective. But I will cite a single line from a news-making New York Times editorial, entitled President Obama's Dragnet. The administration…is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. “

This is an echo of the our first U.S. President, George Washington, in his farewell address:

Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force. Like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master; never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

Yes, we stand with MHI Chairman Nathan Smith's call for manufactured housing industry professionals to focus on getting your Congressman on board with HR 1779 and the 'soon to be filed' Senate version of that bill. That is one reason why we asked Congressman Kanjorski to share tips on how to successfully engage with your Representative and Senators.

But we must not stay in the fly-trap of short term thinking. We must keep on eye on the bigger picture. That bigger picture is that our society has become too complacent regarding big government, whose taxes and regulatory policies per the combined numbers cited above cost our country 1,868 trillion a year. It isn't sustainable, as bankrupt California cities are foreshadowing what will follow if we don't work to change course.

If we circled back to those in writing in that message thread cited above and asked this: if the regulatory environment was less severe – if SAFE Act, Dodd-Frank and CFPB rules became easier – do you think you would be stressing as you are now?

The fact that Manufactured housing can advance even in this regulatory climate is astonishing!

Now imagine how robust our industry could be if we – along with other industries and working people – worked to modify the regulatory environment in common sense ways that would encourage investments and grow jobs. We must learn to think in terms of 'parallel paths.' Yes, focus on HR 1779, but never losing sight of the bigger picture of how much Big Brother costs us all.

Consider this quote from KevinMD in April 2011:

"It is amazing that people who think we cannot afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, and medication somehow think that we can afford to pay for doctors, hospitals, medication and a government bureaucracy to administer it."
– Thomas Sowell

In a nutshell, Sowell hits one of the key realities we must never forget. There is an overhead cost to government. It isn't just the cost to a business of DC's regulations, there are also the costs associated with the people who work at those federal desks. Some think we can never trim this back, there will be too much 'push back' from federal employees. What we must do a better job of is teaching all that a more traditional American economy creates more wealth, not less. There will be more opportunities, not less if we go to the root issues.

Larry Hahn, writing last year in our Industry Voices column, summarized the issues clearly and simply. Take a look at this column, linked here.


With more opportunities, those workers who are hanging on by a threads in the discussion between the community owners above would be better off than they are today. In booming North Dakota, a McDonald's is paying a $300 signing bonus for a new hire, and are paying roughly double the minimum wage. Why? Supply and demand! Low unemployment, equals higher pay.

We can keep whacking at the weeds as the tentacles of government over-reach spread. Or we can go to the roots of the problems. Yes, let's fix HR 1779, while learning and working to unwind the leviathan that is harming citizens and business owners alike. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for June 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

Executive Concerns, plus 4 BIG Manufactured Housing Exclusives!

May 29th, 2013 No comments

I received a message recently from a respected industry executive. In part, the message stated that 30% of all Fair Housing complaints come from manufactured housing rentals in communities, even though the industry has only a small fraction of the overall U.S. rental housing stock.

This matters to us all, because negative news – like a fair housing complaint – hits local media. That in turn fuels the de facto 'anti-court-gavel-image-credit-wiki-commons(2).jpgmanufactured housing image' campaign that exists among the media in so much of our land.

But it is of particular interest to the tens of thousands involved in manufactured home communities (aka 'mobile home parks,' in what ought to be outdated jargon…and errors).

To my knowledge, we are the only national trade media in manufactured housing that has a column like Nadeen Green's, an attorney known as the Fair Housing Lady for her expertise in that field. Please share this link as a refresher on Fair Housing basics.

Then make sure your team and colleagues stays up to date on related legal issues by reading Nadeen's columns. Attorney Kurt Kelly will have a must read column in our June issue focused on an overlooked Fair Housing/ADA issue. Especially for those in the communities world, don't miss the columns by these experts!

4 BIG Manufactured Housing Exclusives!

In the current Cutting Edge post, we share 4 marketing tips for MH Pros. They are also among the 'secrets' for the runaway success of What follows below is one of those secrets in action.

We share this 'digital stage' widely with professionals across the spectrum that all share a keen interest in manufactured housing. Many of those articles are exclusives. For our upcoming June issue, beyond the many exclusives provided by our stalwart team of industry pros and experts, we will have no less than 3 more BIG exclusives, 'plus one.'

In less than a week, you can enjoy exclusives articles from:

  • A Cup of Coffee with…Joe Stegmayer. Cavco's Chairman and the prior chair for rhe Manufactured Housing Institute MHI. This is commentary you won't find anywhere else from this big time leader of the Industry's top mover's and shakers.
  • Congressman Paul Kanjorksi brings us an exclusive on successful political engagement for manufactured housing. The honorable Congressman was featured on a panel in Arlington, VA held by Manufactured Housing Institute last February during the MHI Legislative session. He will provide keen "insider" perspective on how Industry members can successfully engage senators and your congressman. A fine, insightful read that is ever so timely for HR 1779!
  • Stacey Epperson, CEO NextStep. Stacey Epperson leads an organization that is misunderstood by some in our industry, but is respected by a number of others. We bring an exclusive story on how Epperson, who was once strongly against manufactured housing, now just as strongly embraces it. This could be very useful for changing minds for influencers in your district or state, so be sure to read and share her article.

We may also have an additional exclusive interview by the time we get ready to switch on the home page from our May Featured Articles to out June ones. So stay tuned. All of these are in addition to the many featured articles – that are often exclusive too – found on the home page of, just below the Daily Business News module.

Plus one!

Please take a look at, because it is about to have a major face lift.  If it still looks like the image below: on laptop - version 1.0, version 2.0 looks better!

…then the face lift is not yet done.  If it looks way different, then version 2.0 of this site has gone live!

We are upgrading this tool so that it will be THE Image Building resource for Manufactured Housing. This will be useful for independents, corporations and associations alike. Anyone associated with any part of the manufactured home industry will benefit from

If you have been around the business for very long, you already know that the image of manufactured housing is an issue. The new will be a powerful tool you will want to link, bookmark and share often. Use it with front line customers who are thinking about buying, but need some facts to help them 'tip the scale' from interested to buyer. We've already had one retailing community's sale professional tell us that they used the video on manufactured homes and tornadoes to close a customer who had that concern.

The best way to appreciate the new version 2.0 of the site is to look at the version 1.0 of, so please take a look now, and we will let you know when we are ready to unveil the new, improved version. We listened to you on version 1.0, so we will look forward to your feedback on version 2.0 of

In the mean time, my thanks to you and to our sponsors, that combination is what makes this #1 platform – and all of the exclusives we bring you – possible. ##

(Image credit: WikiCommons)

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for May 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

Death Toll From Tornadoes Compared to other Risks

May 24th, 2013 No comments

The AP tells us that the tornado that struck the Oklahoma City, OK suburb of Moore this week may have created $1.5 – $2 billion or more in damage as it tore through as many as 13,000 homes, multiple schools, businesses and a medical center. Early reports of high death tolls (51, 91, etc.) than we initially reported from news sources were the results of officials who counted the dead twice, plus the confusion that reigned as land telephone lines went down and cell towers were overloaded. The revised death toll on Wednesday stood at 24.

The facts that follow are in no way meant to minimize the tragedy that occurred Monday May 20, 2013 in Moore and that area. It is meant to establish some perspective on those events. These are facts that your front line sales and site-leasing professionals need to know!

Some media reports and interviews aired the commons comments that questioned the wisdom of living in "tornado alley" locations such as Moore, OK. The realities of the recent event in and around Moore and a broader context will follow.

With all the talk about global warming, climate change and related, it may surprise many to know that the severity and death toll from such tornadoes has dropped in recent years.

The chart below states the facts about the deadliest recorded U.S. tornado events.


The 10 Deadliest U.S. Tornadoes


Rank Location(s)                              Date                        Deaths


1 Tri-State (MO/IL/IN)                     Mar 18, 1925              695

2 Natchez MS                                 May 6, 1840                 317

3 St. Louis MO                                May 27, 1896              255

4 Tupelo MS                                   Apr 5, 1936                  216

5 Gainesville GA                            Apr 6, 1936                  203

6 Woodward OK                            Apr 9, 1947                  181

7 Joplin MO                                    May 22, 2011               158

8 Amite LA & Purvis MS               Apr 24, 1908                143

9 New Richmond WI                     Jun 12, 1899                 117

10 Flint MI                                      Jun 8, 1953                    116


We must also consider that the population growth and density has increased, which in theory creates an increased risk. But modern radar, broadcast weather alerts and municipal sirens all help cut the risk from tornadoes today.

While weather reports indicate that more typical tornadoes touch down for 7 minutes or less, storms like the one in Moore, Oklahoma Monday remind us there are exceptions. The estimates of the length of time on the ground for the deadly Tornado that struck Moore is about 40-45 minutes.

As sad as these facts are, statistically over 4 times as many people died in the U.S. Monday in auto accidents than in the deadly tornado. Over 110 times as many died statistically from cigarette smoking that day. The chart below is from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Center for Disease Control (CDC 2001).

What we saw Monday in the rubble of hundreds of conventionally built houses and buildings was a stark reminder that only an underground shelter can be considered reasonably safe during a tornado. But even an underground storm shelter isn't a guarantee. One Moore survivor with a storm shelter told a reporter that he held onto the storm shelter door, as he feared it would otherwise have been torn off by the tornado.

Two photos of manufactured homes were captured by the media. One photo showed a home that had rolled over, but had maintained atornado-moore-OK-2-posted-on-mhpronews(2).png higher degree of integrity than hundreds of houses built on site. What we don't know from the photo is the answer to the question: was the manufactured home properly anchored and installed?

Either way, one can imagine that people could have survived the storm even in that 'rolled' home.




tornado-moore-OK-posted-on-mhpronews.pngThe photo of a metal sided, metal roofed manufactured home above revealed broken windows, but the home apparently remained in place. Presumably, that home was properly anchored and installed.

Those who own a manufactured home, and those of us who market and sell them can take a kind of pride and confidence in these facts. The old misinformation that manufactured homes disappear or are "gone in the wind" like Dorothy's home in the Wizard of Oz is clearly inaccurate.

The point is that a properly manufactured home does much better than we are generally given credit for, and the safety is not inferior to that of a site built house on a slab that is hit by is kind of tornado. This photo of a leveled neighborhood demonstrates that reality.

The lower cost of a manufactured home makes affording a storm shelter a valid consideration for many. You could own a manufactured home and atornado-moore-OK-3-posted-on-mhpronews(1).jpg storm shelter, and still be well under the price of conventional construction. Some many not realize that a manufactured home can be designed for installation over a partial or full basement too.

Our Industry Voices article from MHAO's Deanna Fields in Oklahoma captured a thought that all involved in manufactured housing need to grasp and be ready to respond to with ease. She related how a local TV station's newsman was reportedly bashing away at a manufactured home community that had been struck before the Moore storm hit. But in the wake of the devastation and damage to some 13,000 houses, the local reported dropped his 'coverage' about the MH Community.

We are all saddened by what happened in Moore. But let us learn some lessons from the midst of that tragedy. Our homes demonstrably faired well in the instances captured in these photos. That is useful information for potentially millions of home shoppers, as well public officials and the media.


We also need to know and be able to share the FACT that the odds are in favor of manufactured home owners, as we learned in this video linked below.

We have a tremendous story in Manufactured Homes! Let us learn to share it well. Because the facts well told can benefit the U.S. where quality, affordable homes are so badly needed.

Shifting gears…

We will likely have an unveiling by the end of next week. Be sure to stay tuned, it will certainly become popular!

We also are lining up our featured articles for June. We have one of our A Cup of Coffee with…Joe Stegmayer interviews in hand and ready! It will be a BIGGIE! Cavco's Chairman and a prior Chair for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has graced us with an interview that will be a hot read to start a hot summer!

We have more hot tickets for industry doers, thinkers with movers and shakers coming in the pipeline too. Stay tuned.

Finally, on behalf of our team, sponsors and writers, let us thank all those who have and do protect our freedom and wish all a happy Memorial Day. ##

(Photo credits in prior Masthead blog post, final photo credit WikiCommons)

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for May 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

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

New Energy

April 16th, 2013 No comments

The boom in the energy sector in parts of Texas, North Dakota and Ohio has led to a jump in sales and opportunities in manufactured housing. That is not a new pattern, as when I first entered manufactured housing, the oil industry in Western Oklahoma was drawing souls from the rust belt to the Bible belt in search of high paying jobs. Energy powers our cars, homes – and businesses – breeding new energy in a ripple pattern.

paris-hotel-conference-center-las-vegas-mhi-congress-expo-2013-posted-mhpronews-com-3.jpgThe difference (hopefully!) with this new energy boom vs. the one we experienced in Oklahoma in the early 80s is that the fracking technology used today will supposedly allow the play to continue for many more years than  we witnessed previously.

The early 1980s Oklahoma energy boom rapidly went bust, and retailers that had suddenly appeared to service housing hungry oil field workers were almost as quickly, 'gone with the wind.'

America always needs housing, and affordability is a key issue. Manufactured housing can supply the needs for millions. But it has to get past the challenges that those of us who have been around the block know so well.

But even before we navigate all those issues, we are seeing a steady uptick in business for two years. This suggests our outlook can and should be strong.

MHI-NCC Congress and Expo 2013

Still, truly grappling with those issues would take us from a steady uptick back to glory days we have not seen in years, if ever!

Capital is returning to manufactured housing. Investors are taking another look. Non-profits are engaging our industry, as they too see the potential for quality, affordable living.

There is energy here at the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) 2013 Congress and Expo. There are business deals being discussed quietly (or2013-mhi-congress-expo-posted-mhpronews-com2-.JPG openly), and there are deals being made.

The NCC's Chairman and CEO of American Land Lease, David Lentz, opened the meeting with some words of sensitivity to those in Boston who suffered from the terrorist attack. He then said what many must already think, we have to honor those fallen and harmed by persevering!

That is what MH has done in the past 10 years, and then Lentz told the hundreds of attendees how they at American Land Lease and Green Courte Partners refer to what is taking place as the "Red Hot Recovery" in the housing market.

LaVaugn M. Henry, VP and Senior Regional Officer, Cincinnati Federal Reserve, gave some interesting perspectives, and we hope to have a column from this gentlemen in the days ahead. His overall message was positive, while acknowledging facts such as a normal recovery would run at about 4.3 percent and this one is running about half that rate.

ncc-forum-2013-mhi-congress-posted-mhpronews-com-.JPGThe educational component here is attracting owners and professionals from coast to coast to Vegas this week.

As we reported before, the projections are for an increase in attendance here, just as we saw nice bumps in Louisville and Tunica at their industry trade shows. Sources tell us that the NCC-MHI meeting could see 780 total through the doors Tuesday-Thursday.

In fact, you can bet that the tone – the positive energy! – at the Louisville and Tunica Manufactured Housing Shows, has helped set the stage for the energy going into MHI's big annual event in Las Vegas.

In more ways than one, new energy is a subject here in Vegas and in humble offices to C-Suites from border to border and coast to coast. We hope to be adding fuel to that fire by sharing the good news, without ignoring the pot holes on the road ahead.

My sincere hope is that 'this time around' the associations, owners and professionals will map out strategies for themselves and their members tojenny-hodge-ncc-left-dick-jennison-mhi-right-posted-mhpronews- improve professionalism and good service to consumers at the retail and community level.

We need to see the world not just through our eyes, but through the eyes of lenders, consumers, regulators, politicos and others.

By crafting win-win outcomes for all involved, we can leap ahead, and this time, stay ahead.

The alternative is ugly, so let's not go there.

For those here in Vegas, please say hi and I hope to see dozens of you at our own contribution to this event, our version 2.1 of Attracting More Customers with Cash or Good Credit.

See why this was a hit in Tunica, get some insights from other at this link here. Using this approach is bringing new energy in marketing and sales to others, it just might do so for a retailer or community near you. ##

(Photos courtesy of MHProNews)

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for April 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

Phenomenal Solution!

February 27th, 2013 No comments

Manufactured housing can solve America's affordable housing challenges without federal subsidies. To do that we must have legislative and/or regulatory fixes to laws that choke our industry. Doing so would create jobs and protect the value of some 20 million who live in factory-built homes. Last year's HR 3849 and S 3484 bills will be renamed, tweaked to marry up language and will be reintroduced soon on a bi-partisan basis.

Ron Thomas, Sr. – Chairman of the Midwest Manufactured Housing Federation (MMHF) and Louisville Manufactured Housing Show has rightly called our Industry "a phenomenon!" Until someone experiences first hand the new quality, durable energy savings homes that U.S. Census Bureau statistics says sells for an average of half the cost of conventional construction, it is hard for those we visit in DC – officials, staff, Senators or Congressional Reps – to grasp how amazing our product truly is.

We created pages like this photo gallery:

or the shorter URL: to introduce our product to those who don't fully "get it" about the phenomenon of manufactured homes. Please share the link with your congressional staffers.

The Opposite of Budget Busters

With the three big lifts of sequesters, CRs and the debt ceiling all on people's minds in DC, we need to stand tall and say, "We Have Solutions!"

When a Senator like Sherrod Brown or a Congressman like Stephen Fincher – polar and party 'opposites' in millions of minds – agree we need to fix the unintended consequences of legislation and regulations harming us, that means something.

Ask your Congressman and Senators to get on board with a piece of legislation that members of both parties say, as Senator Joe Donnelly told the Manufactured Housing Institute's (MHI) members on February, 25, 2013, "is a truly bi-partisan issue."

You can have your U.S. Representative's or Senators' staff contact:

Jason Boehlert, MHI Gov't Affairs VP – – for more details.

Congressman Stephen Fincher told me before going into his address to MHI members that we "can fix this for you." He too spoke of bi-partisanship on the issue.

We don't need to beg, we need to express with pride that we are a uniquely American

phenomenon! Let those elected let us do our jobs. That job is serving millions of Americans – and potentially millions more – with a fine housing solution that benefits the federal budget too. I hope to see you at the Tunica Manufactured Housing Show. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February 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

CEO’s Anniversary

February 20th, 2013 No comments

Richard A. "Dick" Jennison is having his first anniversary as MHI's (Manufactured Housing Institute) President and CEO (Chief Executive Officer). It was just before the 2012 Legislative session that Dick Jennison came on board and was introduced to members at that session.

The year has gone by quickly! Happy anniversary, Dick. Glad our industry hasn't scared you off. ;-)

It will be interesting to see the agenda for 2013, and see how Jennison's finger prints may have shaped it. MHEC members (Manufactured Housing Executive Committee, made up of state associations, some regional community associations and joined from time to time by M. Mark Weiss from MHARR) were encouraged last October in San Antonio to be an active part of the process of forming the MHI agenda for 2013.

Anyone in a leadership role such as Dick Jennison's will have an array of supporters, detractors and those in the flexible middle. We've noted:

  • strong words of praise for Dick, including from the rank and file and board/leaders,
  • some who while supportive, think he isn't going far enough fast enough,
  • a few who have taken shots (sometimes motivated by their own personal agendas), but mostly
  • the large 'wait and see' group that is prepared to support Jennison from that middle ground.

Dick Jennison and his associates have accomplished meetings with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – including hard to get private discussions with the CFPB's top man, Richard Cordray – which have yielded some good results.

But there is clearly much more to do. Those following the often tortuous efforts and progress know that a big challenge for regulatory relief is the current dynamics of the nation's capital itself.

DC Gridlock

The challenge, or course, for any trade association that doesn't have immensely deep pockets is the gridlock in Washington, the District of Columbia (DC).

The fact that legal challenges are in play questioning the validity of Richard Cordray's appointment, some states challenging the constitutionality of the CFPB itself and the wide partisan political divide are just some of the factors hampering progress on issues of importance to manufactured housing.

That said, there still has to be a plan to make good things happen that are so needed for our Industry. Some potential positives:

  • There is a modest level of increased hope that MHARR and MHI will be working more positively together in 2013. Time will tell, but negative published missives from MHARR aimed at MHI have gone silent of late. This is part of the cause for hope in the two groups working more closely and positively together.
  • That more 'united public' front is important, because regulators have told me privately that the public rancor harms our Industry in the halls of DC.
  • Another set of rock throwers have gone mostly silent in the last two weeks as well.
  • The bullets above may be encouraging internal industry signs, certainly worth tracking. We should consider closely the comments from those who will be addressing the attendees of the MHI Legislative Session which will begin this Sunday afternoon through Tuesday evening to see what the signals are from members of Congress.

Beyond Dood-Frank/SAFE/CFPB, GSE reform, the all but forgotten (in DC…) Duty to Serve (DTS, part of HERA 2008) or other regulatory issues (HUD, DOE, etc.) my personal (professional) view is that our Industry must play better at both offense (expand our market and our impact) and defense.

Some examples beyond the norm discussed.

  • Find ways to further enhance the potential strengths given us by the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000).
  • Have MHI work with MHARR on topics such as the removable chassis, and other technical advances possible. For example, factory builders tell me that the AC letter (Alternative Construction) process with HUD is too cumbersome and slow at present. It ought to be stream lined so HUD Code builders can take advantage of all the ways factory building could save consumers money while delivering a safe, strong and appealing option for the public.
  • The fire sprinkler issue. I'm working with a community being forced to install them, to the tune of thousands of dollars each, by a local jurisdiction. What happened to federal pre-emption and our great fire safety record? (See the HUD letter downloadable at this link.)
  • Craft a position paper to map out a path allowing factory home builders, retailers, developers and MH Communities to tap into over 30 billion dollars in federal programs that we are virtually left out of today. Doing so could increase our industry's sales while decreasing over time the federal budget, creating more American jobs and freeing people from poverty in the process. This concept was inspired by some industry members and the potential is outlined in our exclusive Industry in Focus report linked here. What we see are a number of potential 'mutual wins' we need to champion in DC and/or with local officials! This should become an integral part of the agenda for MHI, MHEC members and MHARR. A handful of association executives have already told us privately that they see merit to this concept, and that it should be pursued.

  • We as industry professionals must align ourselves more with our community residents and home owners. This isn't just 'pie in the sky,' because we have seen this done (for example, I've done this with some clients I've worked with) by some MHC owner operators and more ought to be developing and executing that plan. We can't view our customer base as an enemy or something to be feared. With some 20,000,000 owners and residents, we could establish a voting block that would provide us with an impact far greater than our PAC dollars alone can muster. More on this in the days ahead.

  • Our Industry must develop and encourage a culture of best practices professionalism! We must develop our owners, managers, leaders, plus rank and file members for the next generation! Reading helps, which is why we provide so much content from a variety of industry pros and sources here. But live training and personal development must be a part of it too. Please see this article here on the topic of Corporate Culture.

Learning to Grow Sales at the Big Event!

Yes, the Tunica Show is one of our sponsors, but let's be clear that this was a super event that I personally attended even before it became of client of ours here at MHProNews. What makes the Tunica Show in 2013 even more special than in years gone by are specific business and profit building opportunities you won't find anywhere else in the U.S. in March! We had over 2,000 MH Industry pros go to Tunica in 2012. Will we see the same kind of bounce in Tunica that we saw in Louisville this past January?

Come and see!

Tunica is the largest trade show display of factory built homes anywhere in the world to date this year. Certainly Southern and Midwestern retailers, communities and builder/developers ought to be there. I would not be surprised to see pros from coast to coast come. In fact, our international readers who are thinking about investing in factory built housing ought to contact Dennis Hill's office to get credentials to come too.

Better Together

Until my experience in WI about 8 years ago with their very fine state association, I recall my overall skepticism about associations in general. I'd been at association meetings in a couple of other states. They struck me as 'ok.'

Then, the Wisconsin Housing Alliance wowed me.

About those other associations. Maybe it was me…because the first time I read Dale Carnegie's classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, I confess being unable to finish but the first chapter or two. I hated it. But later, I picked Carnegie's book back up again and devoured it. What changed?

Me and my attitude.

To borrow ROC USA's fine tag line, we are "Better Together." Those pros who have been deeply engaged for years in associations understand the value. Some MH Pros invested their personal time, talent and treasure so that others can advance in this great industry too.

But there are far too many professionals who are not involved in associations.

We need solid industry trade journalism, which we strive to provide every business day here at MHProNews. But we also need those fine state, regional and national associations, and those associations need you to be part of the solution that advances your cause and that of the Industry at large.

We truly are better together.

Learn one example of that reality at the Tunica Show in March, which is made possible by the South Central Manufactured Housing (SCMHI), a multi-state association event. These events provide amazing networking, business building opportunities where you can compare products and services side by side all in the same place. Amazing!

I'll be there, I hope you will be there too. Our booth is number 9 in the Hallway, right by the room where the Business Building Seminars will be taking place. See the updated Show line up at the link above!

I hope to see you in DC and in Tunica. ##

PS: Check our many Exclusive and Red Hot Featured Articles for February 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