Increasing Affordable Housing Supply (&) Maybe PCE is Answer to your Marketing & Opns. Challenges…
February; Copyright 2020; www.educatemhc.com
Perspective. ‘Land lease communities, previously manufactured home communities, and earlier, ‘mobile home parks’, comprise the real estate component of manufactured housing.’
EducateMHC is the online national advocate, asset class historian, data researcher, education resource, and communication media, for all land lease communities in North America!
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INTRODUCTION: This week’s blog posting contains two questions: ‘What Measures Did You Recommend?’ for eliminating barriers to affordable housing; and, ‘Is there a Professional Community Evaluation in Your Future? In the first instance, that’s still a viable opportunity if you decide to participate. In the second instance, perhaps a PCE is what your property or properties have needed for some time now.
& What Measures Did You Recommend?
As you likely recall, during November 2019, HUD published a Request for Information (‘RFI’) targeting how to ’Eliminate Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing’ that artificially raise the costs of affordable housing development, and contribute to shortages in America’s housing supply. Every national advocate for manufactured housing, including EducateMHC, responded to the RFI, and some of those measures were shared here, and previous blog postings. Even the Institute for Real Estate Management (‘IREM’) participated. Here’s a summary of their proposal:
• Encourage private insurance companies, by reforming regulations, to write more flood insurance in flood zones. This’d lower costs, making the property more affordable.
• Combat rent control by introducing legislation that’d restrict localities from receiving Community Development Block Grants (‘CDBGs’) if they adopt rent control programs
• Increase Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (‘LIHTC’) by 50 percent, in each state, to encourage more affordable housing development throughout the U.S.
• Encourage more incentives to voucher landlords, e.g. security deposits to match those of conventional tenants, quicker inspection times, reserves for damage, etc…
There’s still quite a buzz ‘out & about’ where these measures are concerned. Remember what I shared with you last week about the changing foci, with NIMBY becoming YIMBY, and evolution of LULU and BANANA – traditional anti-affordable housing shibboleths (‘password or slogan’).
Is There a PROFESSIONAL COMMUNITY EVALUATION in Your Future?
There certainly should be, if you own and or manage one or more land lease communities anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. The Professional Community Evaluation (‘PCE’) is professional property management’s equivalent to one’s annual physical health examination, or review of one’s corporate financial wellbeing. But first; how did PCE come about, where land lease communities are concerned?
Mystery Shopping (of income-producing properties) examine and grade (then) manufactured home communities until the late 1970s. At the time however, it was a routine means of observing and evaluating on-site telephone interview, and in person performance of apartment leasing consultants, their proficiency at ‘making (units) ready’, and maximizing curb appeal. Early Mystery Shopping assignments involving land lease communities covered much of the same territory, as leasing of rental homesites was the primary work focus for on-site staff. By the time of the REIT mini-wave in the mid-1990s, Mystery Shopping, at least among larger property portfolio owners/operators, became a near routine performance review practice.
Focus changed however, at the turn of the century, when it seemed ‘everyone discovered land lease communities’ as investment vehicles. Then Mystery Shopping assignments morphed into what many called ‘pre-due diligence inspections’ of properties soon to be acquired. Here the emphasis changed from evaluating leasing performance to ‘sales know how’, with less focus on curb appeal, but much more on infrastructure condition. And as some novice investors bought too quickly, remedial Mystery Shopping, and post-due diligence consulting, became commonplace. Bringing us to now…
Professional Community Evaluation or PCE, to some extent, follows procedures characteristic of Mystery Shopping and pre-due diligence inspections of the past, but with improvements. And all PCE assignments are conducted in the utmost of confidence.
• Documentation and analysis of etiquette and sales/leasing skills during anonymous, unscheduled telephone conversations with the property’s on-site staff. Tip. Anyone who answers the Information Center telephone MUST know how to qualify prospects and schedule a home sales and or site leasing appointment on-site!
• Documentation and analysis of signage (on & off-site), curb appeal, condition of housing, and other visual clues to operational efficiency and property rules enforcement, or lack thereof…
• Documentation and analysis of in-person sales/leasing skills observed during anonymous, random on-site visits to the property’s Information Center. Tip. Anyone who conducts an on-site interview MUST know how to qualify prospects and sell or lease a home and rental homesite!
• Functionality review of social media and website effectiveness. This platform is fast becoming the most strategic marketing tool for land lease communities nationwide.
• Comparison and analysis of property’s Operating Expense Ratios (‘OERs’) with land lease community published norms. Also use of other performance formulae, e.g. physical & economic occupancy, turnover, traditional 3:1 rule for evaluating site rent, etc…
• Investigate property-owner targeted concerns and make recommendations as appropriate.
• Preparation of a written narrative of findings (i.e. including photographs, and samples of material handed out on-site), and appropriate suggestions for corrective action.
• And when desired, provide professional property management training in toto (e.g. one day Manufactured Housing Manager Certification class) or in part, e.g. home sales, site leasing, advertising design, resident relations, and more…
As you might suspect, this highly specialized and valuable service does not come at a bargain rate. Most assignments of this nature require a minimum of a couple days’ time, plus travel expenses.
To learn more about PCE and you, communicate to EducateMHC@gmail.cm or phone (317) 697-1717.
George Allen, CPM®Emeritus, MHM®Master