Longtime Daily Business News readers know that the MHProNews view – and that of scores of industry professionals – is that proper terminology is important.
The reverse of that is that improper terminology is to be avoided.
When the Daily Business News uses the term “trailer house” or “trailer park,” its typically because some third party that used that phrase. A quote is a quote, nothing more or less. Even if the person or party is misspeaking, it is not the journalist’s or trade media’s place to change what was said.
That said, the BBC used the term “trailer house living” in their video report, shown below. That’s where the headline comes from, and as of this date, the BBC video has over 1.1 million views. Compared to the vast majority of manufactured home videos, this video has been seen by hundreds of thousands to a million more people. That gives a tiny sense of why this is an imporant challenge for the industry to address.
There are times that the term “mobile home” legitimately applies, because a factory-built home built on a permeant frame was built before June 15, 1976. In the 1930s to the 1950s, there were arguably trailer houses built. A trailer house could be pulled behind a properly equipped car or light-duty pickup (see linked report, immediately below).
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There are scores who use the terms ‘trailer,’ ‘trailer house,’ ‘trailer park,’ ‘mobile home,’ or ‘mobile home park’ who are industry professionals and investors. When it’s a quote, we get it. When it’s a punch like, in private, at MHProNews, we get it. Properly used – it can be improperly applied – for SEO purposes, we get it.
But the vast majority of the time, the right thing to do is to use the correct terminology. If you and your team don’t make that commitment, it’s not as easy to hold the media or others accountable when they misuse terms.
Some think that the term should be changed to just “home,” and that’s understandable. That said, for reasons we won’t go into today, it’s not practical. Nor is it the law.
Manufactured homes and manufactured housing are legal terms, defined by the HUD Code for manufactured housing, which went into effect on June 15, 1976. As Steve Duke said, the code defines the construction standards a factory-built home was built to, and thus should not be deliberately misused, ever.
The video above is one of numerous practical reasons why terminology matters. When someone is shopping for a manufactured home – and they call it a trailer – or do a search for “trailer house living,” YouTube is likely to show the BBC video above as one of those results.
When you wonder why the there is such a big fall-off between manufactured housing shoppers and buyers1, the BBC video posted above is one of dozens of exhibits industry pros, advocates and investors should consider.
Which video do you want the public watching, the one above, or the one below?
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Submitted by Soheyla Kovach to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.