A Few (Sales) Oldies But Goodies!
Blog Posting # 635 @ 23 April 2021: EducateMHC
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing!’
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INTRODUCTION: a true potpourri of manufactured housing and land lease community gems, some contemporary statistics, and review of a new historic novel authored by Oliver North.
A Few (Sales) Oldies But Goodies!
You a Luddite or futurist? I suppose I’m more the former than the latter, but I do have occasional moments of inspiration and creativity. And in today’s world, there’s something to be said for ‘looking back’ to see how certain things were done in the past. That’s the gist of what follows here. Simple measures I saw and experienced way back in the 1970s (that’s 50+ years ago!), when I was cherry to the manufactured housing business model and land lease community real estate asset class.
Did you know some state manufactured housing associations created ‘mobile home living’ education packages designed to be taught to ‘home ed’ classes? They did, and in many instances, provided trained instructors to present the material to high school students (i.e. soon to be, would-be homebuyers).
Education packages were often comprised of 5 ½ X 8” booklets on various salient topics. One was titled ‘What you should know about Manufactured Home Safety’. In 15 pages, students were taught how to protect their home against fire, how to safely handle electricity, heat one’s home safely, and protect the home from wind and burglars. Where are those pamphlets today? And we wonder why more folk don’t come our way to buy our homes….
At one time, 8 ½ X 11’ coloring books could be found in sales offices of most ‘mobile home’ dealerships everywhere. The coloring books, featuring various configurations of manufactured homes were popular with children, and kept them occupied while their parents shopped for a home. And there were always copies of various MHIndustry trade publications to read and enjoy.
Did you know it was once commonplace for local community owners/operators to visit independent (street) MHRetailers on a regular basis, leaving behind custom property brochures, business cards, even mounted photographs; all for educating would be homebuyers. Oh, and want to be a real hit with the sales staff? Bring along some fresh-baked cookies!
Today, many of the ‘old ways of doing things’ have passed from the active business scene. As many, if not more, new HUD-Code homes are sold on-site in land lease communities than via independent (street) MHRetail sales outlets and company stores. And as long as the industry doesn’t enjoy ‘easy access to chattel capital’ (per pre year 2000), this paradigm shift will remain intact.
But that doesn’t mean that some, if not all, the measures just described, can’t be applied today. Even more! For instance, rarely in the past, have ‘dealerships’, even communities, been routinely Mystery Shopped, to observe and document on the job performance by home sales and site leasing staffers – on the telephone and in person. This happens all the time within the conventional apartment property type, department stores, fast food stores, and more. Know there’s a (reproduce able) standard property management Mystery Shopping form in the text, Community Management in the Manufactured Housing Industry, Appendix # 15. Available for purchase via www.educatemhc.com
One final oldies tip. Savvy owners/operators of land lease communities have long known it’s a good idea to be a member of the local Chamber of Commerce for at least two good reasons: first, the property gets to display their brochure in the chamber’s literature rack at their office (no ‘nonmember community gets to do this); and, just as important – attending periodic chamber luncheons and events positions the owner and or on-site manager as respectable businesspersons in the local housing market.
Now, long ago readers of the (now defunct) Allen Letter (rebranded as The Allen Confidential) will recognize the title – SALMAGUNDI, for what it is, the ‘little of this, a little of that’ column that ran for years. But know what? It accurately describes what’s to follow here for at least a few lines: again, ‘a little of this & a little of that’, as gleaned from various news sources of late.
From Residential Update, published by the Appraisal Institute, in early April 2021:
“46 percent of Americans missed at least one mortgage or rent payment since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, and 25 percent missed more than one payment, according to survey results released on 11 March by personal finance website GOBankingRates.”
“More than 11 million families are behind on their mortgage or rent payments, and widespread foreclosures and evictions could occur when federal, state and local pandemic protections stop, according to a report released on 1 march by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (‘CFPB’).”
A recent Facebook posting claimed knowledge of 103 million votes cast for President Trump and 37 million cast for President Biden.
Something else longtime readers of my writing will recall, is the annual list of abbreviations published in the (also now defunct) Manufactured Housing Merchandiser magazine.
Remember NIMBY, LULU & BANANA? In land planning and rezoning matters, these are ‘Not in my back yard!’, ‘Locally unwanted land use!’, and ‘Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody!’ Remember now? Well, here’re two more to add to this list: NUTS and YIMBY. The first = ‘Not under this sun!’ And in enlightened circles of late, YIMBY has made its debut: “YES, in my back yard!’ Now you’ve got the whole repertoire of land planning acronyms and abbreviations.
Here are a few relatively new abbreviations I’ve come across and use upon occasion:
Develop one’s creativity by using SCAMPER: ‘substitute, combine, adapt, magnify, put to other use, eliminate, and rearrange!
How ‘bout MMFI: ‘Make me feel important!’ If not, paint yourself as being CRSU: crude, rude, and socially unacceptable! Bottom line? KWITCHYERBELLYAKIN
And finally, for you stock market investment types, you likely know all about EBITDA; which is to say, ‘earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation & amortization’, as a way to measure a firm’s earnings performance.
Does the name Oliver North ‘ring a bell’ in your memory bank? It likely does. He’s a Vietnam vet (Silver Star, Bronze Star & two Purple Hearts), worked for President Ronald Reagan, and was the 66th president of the NRA. He’s also founder of the Freedom Alliance.
What I didn’t know about Lt.Col. Oliver North, is that he’s the author of new fewer than seven non-fiction books (e.g. American Heroes in Special Operations) and six fictional novels – including the newest, The Rifleman.
I ordered and received the novel, and then read it in two days – it was that riveting for me. How so? Well, the dust cover summarizes the tale this way:
“On 14 June 1775, the Continental Congress appointed George Washington Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and granted his request for ‘ten companies of expert Riflemen.’ Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Company was the first to arrive in Boston to confront the British troops.
They wore hunting shirts, linsey-woolsey leggin’s and moccasins. Each had a tomahawk and a scalping knife in their belts and carried ‘long rifles’ in their hands. Every rifleman was a Patriot volunteer, a tracker, and a hunter. And they could kill a Redcoat at 250 yards.
Morgan chooses young Nathanael Newman as his adjutant – forefather of Peter Newman, the protagonist of Oliver north’s other bestselling novels.
Then the action begins. Reading this book was as much a history lesson for me as it was a Revolutionary War adventure. I could easily imagine their long march, from Virginia up to Massachusetts, dealing with all sorts of combat-related issues of food, clothing, health, and weather. There’s even a love story, of sorts, near the end of the book.
Bottom line for me? One very good, educational, adventuresome ‘read’.
George Allen, CPM, MHM