Does the MHIndustry Need an IPPA?
Blog # 397 Copyright 2016 COBA7® @ 22 May 2016; community-investor.com website
Perspective: ‘Land-lease-lifestyle Communities, a.k.a. manufactured home communities and ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’
This blog posting is the sole national advocacy voice, official ombudsman & historian, research reporter & online communication media for North American LLLCommunities!
To input this blog &/or affiliate with Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, a.k.a. COBA7®, use Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764
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INTRODUCTION: Part I is me being candid about prospects for a new, national, independent post-production association for manufactured housing businessmen and women from all segments of the industry. Remember, this is simply my opinion about a pithy matter that’s been bandied about, by the industry’s national advocacy groups, ‘for years’, if not decades. What do you think? Inquiring minds would like to know! And Part II. As the title says, this is your last opportunity to participate, and make MHIndustry history, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame this week in Elkhart, IN! Think about this too. When was the last time YOU were invited to tour as many as si’ How to Sell & Seller-finance New Homes On-site in LLLCommunities’? Answer? Never before! So, don’t miss this exceedingly rare opportunity to do so, on 5/25 & 26, 2016.
Does the MHIndustry Need an IPPA?
(That’s short for ‘Independent Post-Production Association’)
George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master
OK. For the first time, I’ll write openly about the rumored launching of a new, independent post-production association or IPPA. It’s certainly not a new topic of conversation among manufactured housing aficionados. Rather, the idea – the perceived need, now possibility, appears on our business scene with relative frequency, almost always at the impetus of the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform. MHARR, you know, is a 30+ year national trade advocate associated with HUD-Code manufactured housing, whose membership is comprised of smaller regional home manufacturers.
It’s likely MHARR’s sensitivity to said need, relates to their mission of protecting manufactured housing from over regulation by federal agencies. And during that process, encounter post-production matters, identified by members and others, ultimately impacting home manufacturers (e.g. housing finance), not being addressed well by any one or more national advocates for manufactured housing..
The most recent plea for the soon launch of an IPPA lobby in Washington, DC. appeared in the May 2016 issue of The Journal, with this title:
‘Consumer Financing & Other Failures Re-Ignite Need for Independent Post-Production Association’
The gist of this op/ed is, the ‘…post-production segment of the industry continues to suffer successive setbacks…on a range of issues…affecting the financing, placement, installation and utilization of HUD-Code manufactured homes….”It goes on to cite specific instances re: “Dodd-Frank and SAFE ACT”, even “…Duty to Serve Underserved Markets…” (‘DTS’), that “…disproportionately harms smaller industry businesses”… (but) “do not negatively impact, the largest industry businesses….” How much of this is correct? That’s certainly open to debate. There’s another national advocate in town (Washington, DC) that’s HUD-Code housing (larger) manufacturer dominated, claims to represent all segments of the MHIndustry. Do they? In this veteran industry observer’s opinion, YES and NO.
Depending on ‘from where’ & ‘towards whom’, pending federal legislation and or proposed regulatory control measures ‘come & go’, the Manufactured Housing Institute (‘MHI’), can be counted on to at least make an appearance, even mount serious opposition, or support, at times. What tends to gripe the average, direct, dues-paying MHI member, however, is the manner in which platforms are designed and implemented. All too often it appears initiatives and actions, if there’s to be any, are launched sans discussion among all parties affected, and in a manner beneficial to the largest of member firms, ignoring the smallest. Now, some may want to debate that description; but if they do, let the conversation cite 1) the institute’s ‘lack of proxy voting in certain key elections’, and 2) their ‘political control practice of affluence gerrymandering’, i.e. the meeting planning gimmick of using expensive meeting venues only the largest and wealthiest members can justify attending.
But beyond that, there are other reasons why an all-inclusive IPPA will likely not materialize anytime soon; certainly not until annual new HUD-Code home shipments are back to pre-2009 levels. Why?
• First. The lion’s share (majority) of national manufactured housing advocacy support dollars comes from the ‘Three Big C’ home manufacturers, controlling 71 percent of the 70,544 home shipments national market share in 2015. How’s that translate into dollars? 70,000+ new HUD-Code homes X $100/floor = $7,000,000 compared to 250,000 new homes shipped during year 2000 = $25,000,000.00. Do you see much, if any of either of those treasures, supporting a new, all-inclusive IPPA? I don’t. Didn’t happen in year 2000 when dollars were flush; why in 2016 or 2017, when we’re ‘hopefully’ coming out of our seven plus year funk? (However, know there is a practical way to make this happen, at the right time; it’s just not open for public discussion now)
• Next. A lack of charismatic, visionary, sacrificial leadership among small businessmen and women with ‘skin in their respective games’ – to lead a new, all-inclusive IPPA effort. Some might call it lethargy. I prefer to think of it as continuing to be a game of survival, not yet maximizing profitability. After all, the manufactured housing industry and its’ sister real estate asset class, the land-lease-lifestyle community, has been working itself through a major paradigm shift since the turn of the century, when easy access to chattel capital disappeared, and along with it, more than 10,000 independent (street) MHRetailers. And at only 70,544 new HUD-Code homes shipped during 2015, we’re not out of the woods yet, not by any measure or stretch of the imagination.
So, no new, all-inclusive IPPA for the time being. Even though some, maybe most, industry segments continue to feel underrepresented. But wait.
How ‘bout the Community Owners (7 Part) Business Alliance®, or COBA7®? I suppose one might refer to the 2 ½ year old, growing alliance of businessmen and women, as being a mini-IPPA. It materialized not as a result of ‘issues’ cited in the opening paragraph of this article, but out of frustration towards national advocacy bodies focused on home manufacturers, not real estate development, investment, and management of LLLCommunities, especially small to mid-sized properties that make up 85% of the national inventory. Today, COBA7® boasts several hundred affiliates, from all segments of the manufactured housing industry.
The original seven ‘parts’ or foci of COBA7® remain constant and effective:
• Ongoing statistical research, e.g. 27th annual ALLEN REPORT, now poorly imitated by a division of one national advocate. As a result, COBA7® now champions – and encourages, all national reporters (HUD, MHARR, MHI, & COBA7®) of ‘new HUD-Code homes shipped’ data, to publish the same Institute for Building Technology & Safety (‘IBTS’) totals each month of the year!
• Monthly updating & distribution of more than a dozen Signature Series Resource Documents (‘SSRD’s), including such salient titles as the annual National Registry of ALL Lenders to the MHIndustry & LLLCommunity Asset Class! Also, the sole source of the MHIndustry’s Official Lexicon & Glossary, and several widely-regarded directories of real estate brokers, consultants and more..
• Weekly & monthly communication in print (the Allen Letter professional journal & the Allen CONFIDENTIAL! business newsletter)and online (blog) at community-investor.com
• Superb networking opportunities via annual Networking Roundtable and other similar events.
• Deal-making opportunities unavailable anywhere else in the industry or asset class
• Professional property management training & certification via popular Manufactured Housing Manager®, or MHM® program, taught only by LLLCommunity owners/operators. More than 1,000 MHM®s designated to date!
• National advocacy as need be, e.g. 1) national official ombudsman (press) to the MHIndustry, and 2) official historian (Two books published to date, and home of the official MHIndustry timeline).
So, there’s a mini-IPPA in effect today! What does the future hold for it? Ah, there’s the question. The quick answer is, depends on who steps forward to ease into a leadership role of charismatic, visionary, sacrificial service to one’s peers throughout 50,000+ LLLCommunities nationwide and in Canada. In the meantime, know COBA7® enjoys positive national recognition by, and respect from, HUD, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and GSEs. For more information, or to affiliate, phone the Official MHIndustry HOTLINE: 9877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764.
In conclusion, this writer does not see an all-inclusive IPPA forming anytime soon. However, with a mini-IPPA in place and growing, there’s hope that presence will pressure present day national advocacy entities to better relate to, and represent, their respective memberships – muting the clarion call for a fourth national advocate for manufactured housing.
Last Chance to Participate & Make MHIndustry History!
At the close of business on Friday, 20 May, more than 80 MHIndustry & LLLCommunity owners/operators had registered to participate in the ‘first ever’ Two Days of Plant Tours & Home Sales Seminars, at the RV/MH Hall of Fame in Elkhart, IN., on 5/25 & 26, 2016. It’s likely that total will exceed 100 by the time the event begins Wednesday morning at 8AM. Will YOU be there to learn how to sell and seller-finance new HUD-Code homes on-site in land-lease-lifestyle communities; visit two or more of six Cavco, Champion, Clayton, Commodore & Adventure Homes plants; and, when it’s all said and done – Make Manufactured Housing Industry History in Grand Fashion?!
Still possible to register on Monday, by phoning (317) 346-7156 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember, all four sequential education sessions are being taught by LLLCommunity owners/operators who’re already actively selling and seller-financing new HUD-Code homes on-site in their respective properties. Their topics and names are:
GETTING READY! Adriane DeRose, MHM®, & Pamela Zieman, MHM® of Carefree Homes, Inc., Indianapolis, IN.
BUYING HOMES! Jamie Dougherty, MHM®, of Community Management Group of Farmington Hills, MI.
SELLING HOMES! Kenneth Lipschutz & Danya Mallad of HomeFirst Certified Communities in Birmingham, MI.
FINANCING HOMES! Spencer Roane, MHM, of Pentagon Properties, Atlanta, GA.
In addition, association executives or board representatives will be present from four of six Midwestern states. It’s hoped ‘everything about this inaugural program’ suggests it needs to be repeated every late Spring or early Summer as a means to stimulate more HUD-Code home sales, to fill vacant rental homesites in communities throughout the region.
Sincerely hope to see YOU there! GFA