We need to put the facts to work for us, so that we can advance ourselves, our location, our company, association and our Industry.
First, let's agree that either we define ourselves, or someone else will define us. Wishful thinking is not a strategy. 'Wait and see' until something 'good' happens is not a strategy.
We as a professional, location, company or Industry can, should and MUST define ourselves, our products and services. If we fail to do so, others will define us. They will do so using old myths, which means we will be left as second class housing.
Can we attract more home buyers and better credit score customers? Let's look at some facts.
JUST THE FACTS:
Our Industry we have slid from 372,000+ shipments in 1998 to 50,000 +/- shipments the last three years. Why has that happened?
Here are the facts:
- Our country's population has grown and continues to grow.
- Incomes are down in the U.S.
- Demand for rentals are driving rental rates up.
- We can save people money on a quality home.
- We can serve with entry level HUD Code homes a market that conventional builders can't touch.
- We can serve the mid-level market competitively with HUD code homes too.
- We can also serve the upscale home market with residential HUDs and high end MODs.
- We have professionals in and out of our Industry – today – who are successful.
- The are millions of credit worthy customers in the market place that need housing.
Since all of the above are true statements, what's wrong? Why are we hovering around 46,000 shipments for the year on an annualized basis for 2011?
CREDIT SCORE FACTS
Money-zine did a report on a January 2011 study by Experian, one of the big three credit bureau services. Let's talk turkey about some key facts:
- Credit scores range from 350 (low) to 850 (high).
- National average is 692.
- Good credit is 700 or more.
- About 58% of Americans have a credit score above 700.
- About 13% of Americans are 800 or better FICO (Fair Isaacs Credit) score.
- About 15% of Americans have a credit score under 550.
- The reason the national average is 692 is due to some very low scores that pull the overall average down.
In a panel discussion with Industry's chattel (personal property) lenders at MHI's annual Congress in Las Vegas, all five top Manufactured Housing Industry lenders said they had plenty of capacity to make loans for customers with good credit.
One state exec privately told me that:
'We have built an industry on the backs of consumers who are not finance-able.'
Isn't that an compelling challenge for us to reach out to higher credit score customers?
Let's be candid. How often do we tell others, or ourselves, that 'all we get are people with 'bad credit.'
Doesn't that suggest that we must reach out to people with good credit?
All who are willing to make changes to advance have to start facing the facts.
- We could sell more homes, but it will require changes in how we market and sell.
- We can fill vacant home sites in our manufactured home land lease communities.
- We do the above by attracting the right customers.
- So we have to be willing to learn and do the things that make attracting and keeping the right customers possible.
The above requires:
Education – learning how to attract those good credit customers.
Dedication and Commitment – we can't accept the fact that 'all we get are the weak credit customers' and expect to survive and grow.
Industry Associations – in concert with experts and information resources such as ours – – are the logical place to help foster and form the professionals who will:
- make our sales centers busy by attracting the right customers
- fill empty homes and vacant sites
- Get our factories busy building new homes again.
Two experts at two different meetings in 2010 shared very similar facts. Our Industry is uniquely poised to take advantage of the New Economy and the coming housing shortage.
– many site builders have been wiped out.
– we will need millions of housing units as the foreclosure glut subsides.
– with incomes down, who is better able to fill that need than green factory built housing?
We must learn to tell a good story.
We must sell a lifestyle, not just a box.
- Manufactured homes are greener, safer, quality homes at a more affordable price.
- Well run land-lease communities offer an improved quality of living at a reduced cost for their residents.
The planned start to the Manufactured Housing Image/PR and Marketing Campaign – dubbed the MH Alliance/Phoenix Project – will help get to the root of these and other issues.
We can't wait for something outside our ourselves to help us out.
We will either define ourselves, or we will let others define us. It is just that simple. # #
See what Industry leaders have to say about…
Starting the MH Image PR and Marketing Campaign.
Post written by:
L. A. "Tony" Kovach