Serious Business ‘Skinny’ from George Allen

Serious Business ‘Skinny’ (gossip/information) from George Allen

‘Some of What I Learned at the NCC Forum & MHCongress in Las Vegas!’


‘Pay to Play’ – NOW – ‘Pay Thrice +, to Play’, at all future MHI Events….


‘Some of What I Learned at the NCC Forum & MHCongress in Las Vegas!’

National Communities Council (‘NCC’) Forum sponsor, ROC – USA, represented by Mary O’Hara, MHM, cited 35 landlease (f.k.a. manufactured home) community ‘conversions to resident ownership’, in12 states, totaling $63,000,000+ since year 2008!

Keynote presenter, Dr. David Crowe of the National Association of Homebuilders (‘NAHB’), reminded listeners of the Rule of Thumb for estimating ‘how much house one can afford’ (including underlying realty) as being, ‘3X one’s Annual Gross Income or AGI’; e.g. $36,000 X 3 = $108,000.00. Confirmation of this truism plays out on the latest edition of the popular ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’, where an AGI of $36,000 suggests a max ‘affordable’ housing purchase of $101,000.00; and, a ‘risky’ housing purchase @ $134,000.00. More on this very point, later in this blog posting….

NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index or ‘HOI’, uses a local housing market’s Area Median Income (‘AMI’) and Median Home Price, to calculate what percentage of these AMI folk can afford the Median Home Price, BUT is the only affordable housing indicator, of five, to use proprietary (i.e. ‘Gotta pay for it!’) statistical information, generally unavailable to the home buying consumer! FYI; the five affordable housing indicators are: the 30% Housing Expense Factor (‘HEF’); aforementioned HOI; Housing Wage (‘HE’); ‘One Who Believes…a deal is affordable at the time it was/is struck’; and, the Income to Home Value Ratio or IHVR. Sources of this information: HOUSING AFFORDOGRAPHY, PMN Publishing, 2008, 35 pages; and, ‘Affordable Housing; America’s Bugbear of Shelter Definition & Measures’ by George Allen. Latter reference available ‘for the asking’ by phoning the MHIndustry HOTLINE.

Housing Information Resources include: &

Is today’s oil shale ‘fracking’ factor (Shipments of crew units or man cabins @ 12BR4B models, HUD Code homes, even ‘mods’) akin to yesterday’s short – lived ‘Katrina effect’ on manufactured housing’s annual shipment total? Consider this: At least five HUD Code home manufacturers are shipping said units into as many ‘fracking’ states. That’s 25 factors; and if each is multiplied by just 500 housing units, that’s a potential uptick of at least 12,500 such units during year 2012. Add this to the 2011 year end shipment total of 51,168 HUD Code homes, and the resulting 63,668 home shipment estimate for 2012, isn’t far from what’s already being ballyhooed as this year’s recovery estimate. All I’m saying is, ‘Be careful’ not to be misled long term, by unbridled enthusiasm and optimism being touted today and the intermediate future….

Dr. John K McIlwain, Senior Research Fellow for Housing, at the Urban Land Institute (‘ULI’) provided this longtime MHIndustry observer, a personal ‘high point’ for the entire NCC Forum & MHCongress experience! Turns out, he too believes ‘affordability’ needs to be put back into the oft abused affordable housing and housing affordability definition discussion. Specifically, where the aforementioned 30% HEF is concerned, that factor should include not only PITI (mortgage principal & interest amounts, taxes & insurance), but also ‘annual household/utility expenses, not including telephone expenses’ for the said housing unit! Unfortunately, mortgage lenders germane to the manufactured and traditional site – built housing industries, for the most part, continue to use ‘the PITI only’ approach; again highlighting the aforementioned differences in ‘How much house a buyer can buy’, as demonstrated in ‘affordable’ vs. ‘risky’ Price Point calculations on the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’. Want a free copy of the worksheet? Simply phone the MHIndustry HOTLINE: (877) MFD-HSNG or 633-4764 & request it!

This year’s NCC Forum experienced, in my opinion, an unfortunate contretemps (i.e. ‘embarrassing occurrence’). It happened when a panel, featuring major property portfolio operations execs, described their firms’ efforts to attract and keep top notch landlease community management personnel. When queried about providing professional property management (‘PM’) training for on – site managers, the panelists appeared to convey this message: ‘We don’t need professional PM training or certification programs for our managers!’ Later however, another panel featured four veteran LLCommunity owners/operators, ALL of whom are professional, certified Manufactured Housing Managers® or (‘MHM®s’), and one Certified Property Manager® or CPM®. There was at least a half dozen CPM®s present at the NCC Forum & MHCongress (Mike Sullivan, CPM®, Alan Alt, CPM®, John Rogosich, CPM® & MHM®; and, Bill Cramer, CPM®, CCIM® & MHM® – all presidents of LLCommunity firms; along with dozens of on – site and regional MHM®s. And, Realtor® Joanne Stevens, an Accredited Community Manger®, or ACM®, also holds the coveted CCIM® and Professional Housing Consultant® or PHC® designations – lectured MHCongress attendees on LLCommunity brokerage matters. Icing on the professional property management training and certification program cake? MHI’s perennial ‘PAC man’, Rick Rand, is a proud holder of the ACM® designation. Maybe next year’s MHCongress will feature a one day MHM® professional property management training and certification opportunity for attendees! What do you think? Let MHI know via (703) 558-0400.

Concerned about anti – money laundering rules for residential mortgage lenders and originators? Visit

Did YOU know? CMH Manufacturing produced more than 21,000 coded and 1,400 MOD coded homes during 2011; from Clatyon, Buccaneer, Cavalier, Crest, Giles, Karsten, Schult, SEhomes, Norris, and Golden West ‘brand’ factories? That 21,000 figure represents 41 percent national manufactured housing market share for the firm in 2011.

Something else you missed by not being at this year’s MHCongress. An opportunity to connect with Lance Hull of 21st Mortgage Corporation, about that firm’s exciting new C.A.S.H. home sales/finance program designed to fill vacant rental homesites in ‘one off’ and smaller property portfolios throughout the U.S. Reach Lance via (800) 955-0021.

Last but not least; more than 100 copies of the first – time – distributed ‘LLCTT 3 Step Plan’ for use before, during & after, the Takeover or Turnaround of a LLCommunity, was distributed during a panel presentation at the MHCongress. If you’d like a copy, subscribe to the Allen Letter professional journal @ $134.95/YEAR (12 monthly issues) via aforementioned MHIndustry HOTLINE, as this exciting Lessons Learned tool will be included as a lagniappe (‘freeebie’) in the May issue. Verso (reverse side) of this new one page resource contains latest version of the ‘Ah Ha! & Uh Oh! Worksheet’.


‘Pay to Play’ – NOW – ‘Pay Thrice +, to Play’ at all future MHI Events….

A few years ago, attendance at national meetings hosted by the Manufactured Housing Institute, numbered in the hundreds; and, ‘in the thousands’, at the institute’s annual MHCongress in Las Vegas. During the past two years, I’ve been keeping close track, tallying names on the institute’s regular meeting registration lists, and it’s been rare to see even 100 businessmen and women present. Just two months ago, at MHI’s annual Legislative Conference in Arlington, VA., there were fewer than 75 attendees.

Point? As difficult as it’s become to attract MHIndustry folk to national MHI meetings, the last thing the institute’s elected and salaried leaders should do, in this MHI direct dues – paying member’s opinion, is Discourage Participation even further! But that’s what they’ve likely done, by rolling out, dusting off, and now enforcing, the following policy regarding…

DISTRIBUTION OF MATERIALS. “MHI’s policy prohibits promotional/sales materials from being placed or handed out at its events unless you are an exhibitor or sponsor and your sponsorship specifically includes the benefit of displaying your materials. Sponsors at all levels of sponsorship are eligible to provide materials for distribution in the attendee registration bags. If you would like to have this privilege, please contact…to become a sponsor.”

What’s going on here? Anyone who’s been to MHI – hosted meetings and events, during the past two decades, knows this supposed ‘old policy’ has Not Been Enforced. Accordingly, ‘never more than a few’ – generally entrepreneurs heading Smaller Business Ventures, would put out free handout material, newsletters, brochures, and literature, near MHI’s event registration area. This practice has now been outlawed, ‘at least for the time being’.

How so, ‘at least for the time being’? Simple. To participate in MHI events heretofore, one had to be a direct, dues – paying member of MHI or one of its’ divisions, e.g. the National Communities Council division; or, attend as the Certified or Alternate Representative, from a state MHAssociation member of MHI. So, that’s ‘PAY # 1’. Then, there’s been the ‘several hundred dollar registration fee’ to attend said event, hence ‘PAY # 2’. But NOW, at the behest of MHI’s old policy cum new, would be attendees must ante up with even more money, As A Sponsor – when one desires to engage in DISTRIBUTION OF MATERIALS; now we’re up to ‘PAY # 3. And Oops! Need I remind everyone of the approximately $1,000 in transportation, lodging, and related travel expenses it requires to attend these two and three day events? Call that ‘PAY # 4’! So, why ‘at least for the time being’ again? Besides discouraging new members from joining this national advocacy body, one with such a prohibitive member self – marketing policy; this Whole Affair ‘has the feel’, of being yet another example of bigger firms (Think some MHI board executive officers) squelching the influence of, and discouraging participation by, smaller ones! We’ll have to wait and see ‘at least for the time being’, if this recent decision and action affects participation in MHI’s annual meeting in October.

Now, how did all this ‘Pay Thrice + to Play’ change in policy, come about in the first place? Well, that in itself is a sorry tale, maybe for another time and place….


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
(317) 346-7156

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