Serious September 2015. It could just as easily be named, how to Scale Success, or Sliding Sideways September. Which of the later two it will be depends on how each of us views and responds to events and opportunities. Before outlining our STRONG Serious September Featured Articles and Interviews line up, let me explain what I mean.
We could use as an executive summary for the next few paragraphs below that Media Engagement by MH Matters, and that Engaging the Media as Media is Very Useful.
1) We spent the early part of the summer documenting MH potential and opportunities on MHProNews.com. As with the rest of our content, you can still see and access those articles. June is here and July, linked here. We could summarize it by saying that with rents rising, site-building through the roof (on costs…) and inventories of ‘affordable homes’ in short supply in many markets, MH has plenty of opportunities for a record rebound.
2) Among the reasons given for not rising higher in new home shipments than we have include financing and new regulations. More on that shortly, but I’ll refer back to what Dick Ernst, now Chairman of MHI’s Financial Services Committee, has said. There is no lack of capacity for our MH lenders to finance many more people, who are financially qualified. That could be rephrased as ‘we need to attract better credit customers,’ without ignoring providing the millions – who have no chance for a site built house – the opportunity to buy from us.
3) We have to broaden our industry’s base. We have to attract the more credit qualified customers, without ignoring the traditional, affordable, entry-level side of our market. There are retailers and MHCs who are doing it. That means, it can be done in your market too. How do we do that, you ask? Many ways, including through media and PR strategies.
Not Letting CFPB and their cheer leaders off the Hook
It is offensive to think MH pros can collectively do only one thing at a time well. The people I know can walk, chew gum and carry on a cogent conversation all at once. En masse, there are tons we can do, together.
So while there absolutely has to be a focus on regulatory relief – that we support in word and deed – we ought not make that the one-and-only-thing needed for industry recovery. Frankly, the regulatory relief sought is as much or more for those estimated 1.7 million households that have a home under 20k in value, as it is for professionals selling the industry’s pre-owned homes.
So we applaud the efforts of the national and state associations in MH that are working to correct those terrible ‘unintended consequence’ of Dodd-Frank. We’re doing more than cheering. We’re doing the meetings, the legislative outreaches, PLUS providing digital cover for the effort in the form of serious research that makes policy types and Senate staffers say (paraphrasing what a Democratic Senate staffer told me), “Hey, that’s a pretty compelling argument.”
As further proof of the digital cover, Jan Hollingsworth’s latest column, “Renters’ Nation” has lit up since it was published.
87 hours and 38 minutes after the above was published, Webalizer reports there were 42,917 hits on that one article. In MH Land, that’s astonishing.
What has to be done now is to scale that outcome
If you want the CFPB and/or the Senate to agree to changes in MH regulations, let me repeat that: what we now have to do is scale that readership result cited above. Please share the link above to Jan’s article with your local editor, and with your Congressional Rep, your 2 U.S. Senators and the CFPB.
Let’s put this total readership of Jan’s article into perspective.
Just because some publication may have a million readers, that doesn’t mean that each article is read. Case in point. We took respected and popular Forbes’ article, shown below. On July 29th, 2014 on a hot subject, it had 6,701 views. 13 months later, you see that the total views on that article are now up to 7,732. What that Forbes article has in views in 4 and 2/3rds years, Jan’s latest article accomplished in less than 4 days.
Side Show September?
Word has it from certain hot spots that some are already grumbling that we gave Frank Rolfe his right to free speech via a featured interview in this month’s issue. Why would we, as a pro-MH publisher, allow Frank to be quoted as he shared it?
Wouldn’t you want to be quoted accurately?
To be taken seriously as trade media, we have to be fair and balanced, or we risk sliding into irrelevance. We quoted Doug Ryan accurately too, and I’m not equating the two by any means. When we quote:
- Jim Clayton, or
- Nathan Smith, or
- John Bostick, or
- Mark Weiss, or
- Dick Jennison, or whomever,
we ought to quote them accurately. And we do.
Indirectly Related – a Note of Caution
There are already whispers about the wisdom of MHI VP Rick Robinson and MHI Chairman Nathan Smith going to a stage in about a week, when the person providing the stage is said to be in conflict with MHI and the NCC.
As a matter of policy, we’ve allowed people to critique me and our publication, on our own pages. So we do this very fairly. I don’t have to agree or disagree with Frank on his statements regarding MHI and the NCC to protect his right to speak out on those subjects, even though it was not at all on our minds when we asked him the questions. We had no idea what Frank’s replies would be.
If MHI wants to respond, they are welcome to do so. We are willing to share that response, publicly. Fair and balanced reporting. Period.
“We Provide, You Decide.” ©
Something we strive diligently to avoid is any FALSE or errant statement (this, in contrast to an unpopular opinion). When someone says there are 50,000 or 55,000 MHCs in the U.S. (for example), we’ll either want them to correct that number (that totals is likely more like 45,000, according to informed sources) or we would want to cut the statement entirely.
But that’s not what Frank Rolfe did. Frank stated his views, and in no way shared a claim that is not grounded in a fact, though those facts can be understood in a variety of ways.
The issues raised by others of late are not new, and are not a side show. They are on the minds of many in MH; we know, because we’ve heard them often enough. Its just that this was the first time someone wanted to say so, on the record.
“We Provide, You Decide.” ©
Listening and Taking Correction Well
We had a nice message recently that praised our reporting and commentary work, but then included two typos that needed to be corrected (only 2? ;-). The writer explained, he didn’t want the corrections to be taken the wrong way. My rapid response was to make the corrections, and thank him.
An MHI staff officer also sent us a correction on a typo recently. Same outcome as the above. We want to get the facts right. We thanked the party.
We published the early comments on Jan’s article, one was that ‘it was long.’ We worked that perspective into the article, linked below. My response? I thanked the person for the comment. That said, the challenge with what we face is in MH as an industry is that we’ve let too much stuff build up over the years, and now we need more than 800 words to dig ourselves out. The fact that there are so many hits on Jan’s article so fast strongly suggests the content is ‘just right.’
You Can’t Please Everyone, All the Time…
Nor should that be our goal. If everything was perfect in MHVille, then maybe we’d only need 300 to 400 word columns that all say, ‘everything’s great!’
The reality is there is work to do. Plenty of it. Grab a tool, and let’s get to it. Failure to address the issues that nag us costs new MH sales.
MHProNews had 5 days in August that topped 100,000 hits. Again, in an industry our size, that’s amazing. On On August 21st, Webalizer reported the daily count was 180,959 hits. Our readers don’t have to like every article, for there to be value.
I explained to an industry leader recently that we publish bad news on the Daily Business News; we do so in part, because it happens; but also because when someone gets (for example) arrested for swindling down payments from a buyer, publishing that acts as a cautionary tale. Good practices are often rewarded with success, while bad ones are discovered and punished.
When there is a controversy, we ought not ignore it, unless paying attention only fuels something that needs the oxygen removed.
In the matter of MHI/NCC and Frank Rolfe, MHI has to consider why they wanted him on stage, and then they need to consider what might happen if they fail to heed the cautionary note above about the upcoming non-association event.
My bet? If Nathan Smith and Rick Robinson go to that fast approaching private event of an allegedly disgruntled member as planned, the day will eventually come when they wished they had opted not to do so. That’s my two cents, they can take it or leave it.
But there should be no doubt that we want what’s good for the organization and good for the industry! We prove that day by day, showcasing the good, and periodically reminding people there are issues to address that need mending. You’re reading because you know what’s published here matters and has influence.
Intro for our Featured Articles, Reports and Interviews for September…
As we reported above, we had an August that set records. When you see the incredible line up we have for our Featured Articles for September, perhaps you’ll agree that this month could set new records with readers like you.
- We have 2 New Cup of Coffee with…interviews. Chris Parish and Dan Rinzema are featured in their own interviews, which many will find inspirational, useful and insightful.
- These “Cuppa” interviews will be quite different than the interview with Frank Rolfe, who took some very tough questions put to him, and he responded in what will no doubt be seen by many in wave making ways. We have no direct connection to Frank, so when I commend him for taking the tough questions we gave him head-on and in a timely fashion, that’s sincerely meant. Others should think to consider that practice.
- We have a video interview with Matt Webb, in what ought to be a must-view for anyone interested in improving their management and bottom lines, especially in the MH Community sector, but frankly useful beyond that realm too.
- We have 4 columns by 5 respected attorneys; you’ll see their important topics that can protect your business, below.
- We have 2 unique reports on how the new Appraisal Rule roll out is going, with our related MH Industry Survey results coming out soon.
- There is New York Housing Association’s upcoming regional trade show and educational event.
- Researching Manufactured Housing Industry Personalities, Organization’s and Topics.
- A look at the hot early response to Renters’ Nation, the Dark Side of Dodd-Frank’s Impact on MH.
- Ken Haynes Jr. sounds off on a recent media report.
- AIA celebrates their 15th anniversary, kudos to them and check out their press release.
- There are 2 inspirational/motivational articles.
- Certainly not least for anyone who wants to close more sales, there are videos and an article on reputation management.
With no further adieu, let’s jump into this month’s new Featured Articles, Interviews and Reports.
Featured Articles and Reports for Vol. 6, No. 12, 2015
Alphabetically by Category
COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT & FAIR HOUSING (LEGAL)
• How To Keep Peace and Harmony In Our MH Communities (at a low cost)
The rule breaking tenant can be handled in many ways. Options include:
• Water, Water, How Much Is That Water?
by Bill Dahlin, JD
• The Appraisal Rule – Six Weeks Report Card
• Answers to Questions About the New Appraisal Rule
• S. 682 Offers Possible Relief for Consumers Stranded by CFPB
GENERAL MANUFACTURED HOUSING INDUSTRY TOPICS
• 65th Annual Convention, Trade Show and Expo – New York Housing Association – Oct 8-12th, 2015
by Nancy Geer
• I Can’t Be the Only One.
by Ken Haynes Jr
It literally drives me temporarily insane when I read or hear manufactured housing referred to by the media, by any other nomenclature than manufactured housing, or manufactured home.
• AIA – Manufactured Housing Specialty Insurance Agents Alliance Celebrates its 15th Anniversary
by Kurt Kelley, JD
• Renters’ Nation – Dark Side of Dodd-Frank, its Impact on Affordable Housing – what 38 hours and 25 minutes reveal
by L. A. “Tony” Kovach
We’ll let John Caron – whom we interviewed for this episode of Inside MH – tell you about his significant history in manufactured housing, MH Communities and in real estate investing in his own words.
• Controversial Media Reports – The Guardian & KVUE – On-The-Record Interview with Frank Rolfe of Mobile Home University, MobileHomeParkStore, RV Horizons
by L. A. “Tony” Kovach
• Do People Research Manufactured Home Personalities, Companies and MH Industry Subjects? Yes!
by L. A. “Tony” Kovach
• A Cup of Coffee with…Chris Parrish
• A Cup of Coffee with…Dan Rinzema
Dan Rinzema, President and CEO, Datacomp Appraisal Systems, Inc. and MHVillage, Inc..
• You Like Me, You Really Do Like Me!
•Matt Weaver, Campbell Caron Properties on IREM, Management, More! Inside MH Road Show Video
by Soheyla Kovach
PERSONAL REFLECTIONS, MOTIVATION and INSPIRATION
• Living with Wisdom – 3 Tips for Today
by Tim Connor, CSP
• ZigOn Work
by Zig Ziglar