Dreamin, Stark Reality, Errata & Titillation
It’s been a day and a half of meeting after meeting after meeting. The Manufactured Housing Executives Council (‘MHEC’) was certainly interesting. Despite a couple state execs monopolizing conversation, we learned of the renewed business model (circa 1970s) utilizing ‘rental units on – site’ in landlease communities in Florida. And Massachusetts is considering opening its’ membership rolls to resident – owned (i.e. ‘co – ops’) LLCommunities there. West Virginia is rewriting ‘park rules & regs’ for the first time since 1971; and the heretofore inspiring regional marketing program, Northwest Pride, is in limbo for now. Wisconsin doubled its’ ‘unit dues’ by banking voluntary assessments of $75.00 per resale home sold in that state. And New York continues to bank non – dues revenue by facilitating installation and professional property management certification (‘Manufactured Housing Manager’) classes, as well as profitable annual Super Symposiums! Most memorable ‘quote of the day’ was voiced, when discussing errant software suppliers who, “Sell you the dream and service the nightmare – for a big price!”
National Communities Council? As usual, the most heavily attended session of the 17 scheduled at this year’s MHI’s annual meeting in Phoenix., with 58 of the 110 registrants present. An attempt to gauge “How do you feel about the idea of an image campaign?” (&) “…name one thing you would deem a TOP PRIORITY for the NCC to work on…” was a non – starter! One simply can’t ask 58 individuals to speak, even for a minute apiece – on these, or any other subject, and conduct a 1 ½ hour business meeting. After giving the S.A.F.E. Act & Dodd – Frank regulatory imbroglios their due, Spencer Roane, from Georgia, challenged the NCC to research, then educate LLCommunity owners and operators about ‘lease – option financing’. For information on this topic, go to LeaseOptonMHSales.com or phone (678) 428-0212. A Community Attributes System (‘CAS’) Task Force was formed, to update and improve that underutilized resource. A contrarian quote, heard at the NCC meeting, came out like this: “Stop being all things to all people and get back to the trailer business!” Huh? Maybe a kernel of truth in there?
Onto the Awards Dinner, sponsored by Triad Financial Services, in Grande Ballroom Salons ABE. “Hmm. Maybe shoulda taken a nap this afternoon. Why am I so very tired all of a sudden? Oh well, dinner’s over and the awards program starts soon….
‘Tonight’s Chairman’s award goes to an MHI member who’s been in the manufactured housing and landlease community business for more than three decades.’
‘Besides earning bona fides as an on – site and regional property manager, and as a present day community owner, this person has enriched the business experiences of his peers, throughout the U.S. and Canada, in many ways.’
‘For more than two decades, this individual has researched and published, frequently at his/her expense, key benchmark statistics which, since the early 1990s, have positioned landlease communities as viable and valuable real estate investment alternatives in private and public markets. Over the years, this person has authored, co – authored, and edited ten books on various aspects of management, manufactured housing, ‘affordable housing’, housing finance, & the landlease communities.’
‘For more than 21 years, this landlease community owner has penned, printed and published monthly newsletters, magazine columns, features, and editorials for colleagues, informing them of trade news, upcoming industry events, ‘How To’ effect various property management methodologies, and much much more.’
‘For two decades, this individual and his family members, have hosted annual national gatherings, at resort hotels throughout the U.S., for property owners and portfolio operators, providing top notch education, interpersonal networking, and incomparable deal – making opportunities.’
‘This person is also the co – founder of no fewer than three national trade and advocacy bodies, for landlease communities in the U.S. and Canada; has served on the governing boards of two state manufactured housing trade associations; and served as state president of a professional real estate management organization.’
‘For more than a decade, this individual has shared professional property management expertise and experience with landlease community owners/operators throughout North America, personally training and certifying nearly 1,000 Manufactured Housing Managers to date.’
‘And twice, during the past several years, this individual has convened national caucuses for landlease community colleagues, on one hand; and HUD Code home manufacturers, on the other, to discuss industry and asset class issues, then achieving consensus, relative to ‘conduct of business going forward’ on one hand; and, the need for new manufactured homes designed for in – community marketing, sales and siting.’
‘Finally, this individual has been feted by the Institute of Real Estate Management as an Emeritus member, inducted into the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Hall of Fame, and honored as manufactured housing’s ‘Industry Person of the Year’.’
‘Most significant of all, this person has been married for more than 45 years, is blessed with two adult children – successful business entrepreneurs in their own right, six grandchildren – one of whom is a U.S. Marine, and two great grandchildren! And is one of the few MHI members who’ve been decorated for leadership in combat during the Vietnam War, and service during Desert Storm.’
‘So, at this time, join me in honoring one of our colleagues, with this year’s Chairman’s Award!’
“Umph. Musta dozed off. Hmm. What’s all the clapping about? Oh, they’ve just announced this year’s Chairman’s Award. Who is it? Oh, Tim Williams, President of 21st Mortgage Corporation in Knoxville, TN.! Good man, Tim! OK, now we’re all gonna stand. Good, need to stretch and get awake here. Man, that was some dream….”
And I’ve reconciled myself to the fact it will always be that, a dream.
Then There’s Stark Reality
Step II of the three step, ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ sequence has occurred.
If a regular reader of this weekly blog posting, you know Step I happened in mid – September, at the 20th International Networking Roundtable in San Antonio, TX., In large part, Step II was the public announcement of plans to launch a new national not for profit platform, to ensure continuation of valuable and timely research and resources, for and in behalf of landlease community owners/operators, throughout North America. Have YOU signed – on as a moral and or financial supporter yet? See final paragraph, here following, for contact information.
Step II was anticipated to occur at the Manufactured Housing Institute’s annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ., from 2 – 4 October 2011. Frankly, the unofficial industry wide theme of ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ was a non – starter! Oh, there were hints of theme awareness, but no decisions, no plans, and no action, whatsoever. The hints?
• Aforementioned futile attempt to let 58 NCC meeting attendees comment on the need – or not, for an ‘image campaign’, and to identify a TOP PRIORITY issue for 2012. No results whatsoever. This was worthy of a session all its’ own.
• A two page questionnaire was distributed early, to all registrants; then collected, tallied, and communicated, via PowerPointPresentation, during the morning of 4 October. Here too, little was accomplished, given minimal open discussion, and certainly no consensus plan of action pursuant to ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’
So, where does that leave us today, relative to maybe – or maybe not, moving ahead with Step III during early 2012?
Frankly, I don’t know at this point. But putting that matter and question into abeyance for a week or more, is the prudent and patient thing to do. After all – and get ready for this; THE ANNOUNCEMENT, during the governing board session at MHI’s annual meeting, of Thayer Long’s RESIGNATION as executive vice president of the institute, was a shocker – maybe even a game changer! How so? Think about it; the possible ramifications. So again and for the moment, let’s absorb this surprise before turning our collective attention to how a change in salaried leadership might impact this ‘How to Save Our Industry?!’ theme. Who knows; MHI might use this opportunity to become an advocacy body more balanced in representation, among all the membership segments of the manufactured housing industry and landlease community asset class.
In the interim, I need to hear from you – again, as to what YOU think the manufactured housing industry and landlease community real estate asset class should or might do to ‘Save Our Industry?!’ going forward. For example, would YOU support, by your participation, a third national grassroots caucus of manufactured housing and landlease community stakeholders (i.e. Those with actual ‘skin in the game’ as business owners and senior executives) during late January or early February 2012, likely in a warm climate, maybe central Florida? Phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 or (317) 346-7156, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or write: GFA c/o Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247. Nearly 50 of you have already expressed support.
Remember; there’re precedents for such a timely and focused event! On 2/27/2008, 100+/- LLCommunity owners/operators gathered at the FountainView LLCommunity clubhouse, in Tampa, Florida for the first National State of the Asset Class (‘NSAC’) caucus. There they agreed on Five Action Areas to guide their Business Futures during the years ahead. And know what? 3 ½ years later those foci continue to guide! A year later, on 2/27/2009, 100+/- HUD Code home manufacturers & LLCommunity owners/operators assembled at the RV/MH Heritage Foundation’s Hall of Fame facility in Elkhart, IN., for NSAC caucus II, to collectively answer the question: ‘How to Sell More Homes into Landlease Communities?’ And know what? Their solutions marked the birth of the Community Series Home (‘CSH’) design concept – in effect to this day, and the appointment of nearly three dozen Business Development Managers (‘BDM’). Is it indeed time for NSAC caucus III? That’s up to YOU! Do YOU believe we can openly discuss, and eventually agree on solutions answering ‘How to Save the Our Industry?!’ I do, but cannot do so alone! GFA
Did you receive John Grissim’s 1 October issue of ‘The Grissim Perspective’ newsletter? If you want to continue to receive this communiqué for FREE, write ‘newsletter’ on the subject line (NOT ‘perspective’ as was requested first time around). If you didn’t receive it at all, but would like to peruse a copy, contact John Grissim via email@example.com
Two weeks ago, this weekly blog posting featured this headline, ‘Yet Another New Era, or a Chicago Renascence, dawning?’ Well, all three leading indicators hinted at therein, remain in play; and you’ll likely read about them first, here, if and as they occur.
Well, there’s yet more intrigue afoot, this time at the very top of one of our relatively few remaining HUD Code manufactured housing industry firms. Only other hint I’ll give you, is that if the anticipated change materializes as expected, it’ll underscore the present day importance of sales expertise, experience, and motivation.
George Allen, CPM®Emeritus & MHM®Master
Consultant to the Factory – built Housing Industry &
The Landlease Community Real Estate Asset Class
Box # 47024, Indianapolis, IN. 46247