“You mend a thing because you like it;
you end a thing because you don’t.”
– G. K. Chesterton,
“What is wrong is that
we do not ask what is right.”
– G. K. Chesterton,
Manufactured housing is worth mending, because affordable housing is an absolute necessity.
That the industry faces an array of headwinds is clear from reading just a few days of mainstream media reports.
What untold thousands of manufactured housing professionals should accept is that every negative headline – and there are many – is potentially an opportunity in disguise. The facts that follow lay out step by step insights that for those who think ahead could be valuable.
The nation as a whole doesn’t understand our industry’s terminology, which is a clear failure on the post-production side of the industry. Thus, the search that follows on a hot topic for our industry is made under “mobile home” “tornado” on the news tab today. It yielded about 32,200 results, per Google. Switching that search to the “all” tab and the total jumps to about 842,000 results.
That’s a lot of potential opportunities in disguise on this vexing topic and so many others. Bear in mind that there are any number of “black eye” topics that someone could do similarly with that involve manufactured housing.
When the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) announced some years ago that they would hire a new communications and media relations professional, certain assurances were made. A comparison was made by some to Bruce Savage, who served MHI. Savage, per his LinkedIn profile, was “Vice President, Communications Manufactured Housing Institute from 1992 – 2008.”
A search under Savage’s name and MHI produced 326 results. When switched to the “news” tab” that quickly dwindles to just two results. That noted, Savage addressed from time to time with the news media controversies involving manufactured housing.
A search for “Kevin Clayton” “Clayton Homes” on this date yields 5,940 results. Shift to the news tab on that same search terms and that total drops on this date to 290 total results. Note and tip for non-techies, putting Google, Bing, or Duck Duck Go search phrases into quotes gives you the more precise results.
Next, let’s look at a search result for Patti Boerger, who served MHI in the communications role, the results are similar.
When someone dials into manufactured housing, say a possible home shopper, media person, an academic or public policy researcher, a key problem is that the industry has an overall bad reputation.
That helps explain why third party Zillow’s researchers found that in the years that MHI was claiming to have reached millions of Americans with their advertorial campaign, the interest of actual housing shoppers in manufactured housing actually declined.
These are all crucial data points, not mere slogans that are rolled out by an MHI toady, surrogate or sycophant.
In the post COVID19 contagion world, there are numerous signs that interest and need in affordable will only rise. There are headlines in mainstream media that people are leaving cities like New York, and that more plan to do so.
Those leaving big cities, dense, or high-rise living are reportedly being drawn to more rural areas. That could be good news for Manufactured Housing Professionals and Investors. But only if the real world issues inside the industry are properly addressed.
The first Saturday report linked below includes a stunning factoid, several actually. But the one worth focusing on at this moment is 200,000 new MH homesites in four years. That report which also includes financing related issues merits a careful read, as do others.
The opportunities in manufactured housing are perhaps nearly as great as in tech or AI. That’s saying a lot. It’s been said by people who are into affordable housing who come from the tech world.
There is an opportunity of historic proportions, but it requires a basic focus on the common good. Who said so? How about MHI’s former president and CEO?
One of several big problems in our industry is moat builders. See how a pro-MHI member and supporter addressed that in the big online debate that is among the reports linked below.
Don’t miss the Legacy and Clayton related items following the headlines.
There is always more to say, but let’s let that be sufficient for now. With no further adieu, let’s turn to the headlines from reports that are linked below from 4.19 to 4.26.2020.
What’s New from Washington, D.C. from MHARR
The Latest on MHLivingNews
The Latest on the Masthead
What’s New on the Daily Business News on MHProNews
Epic! Creating 200,000 New MH Homesites in 4 Years; Allegations of Corruption by Fannie, Freddie, Others in Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing Law Years; Allegations of Corruption by Fannie, Freddie, Others in Duty to Serve Manufactured Housing Law
Legacy Housing’s Statement – More on Clayton’s “History”
The statement provided by a Legacy Housing insider that is said to be scheduled for release later today is linked here.
MHProNews will be monitoring that, as are Legacy employees and other interested parties. A follow up report is planned.
But let’s put that controversy in context and perspective. For several days, there have been headlines and mainstream news reports about Legacy and their taking that PPP loan program. Legacy insiders tell MHProNews that they thought that they qualified. What happens next is largely dependent on how their leadership team handles such issues.
But what about Clayton Homes? Despite Warren Buffett’s adage below, which Kevin Clayton himself has cited in the video and transcript found at the link here, Clayton has been on ongoing source of controversial problems, just one of which is the viral video below that is now turned one.
A public whistleblower on Clayton and their associated lending is found in this next mainstream news video.
The road ahead in manufactured housing has to include a bright-line distinction between so-called black hat operations and white hat companies. This writer has been involved in and observed scenarios where a location or organization that had a problematic reputation was able to pivot successfully. There are also instances where by drawing that bright line distinction between a high profile controversy creator – such as Clayton Homes, 21st Mortgage Corporation, Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance (VMF) – can yield strong results for much smaller rivals.
But the reverse must also be pondered. If some company is trying to be a miniature ‘sharks in the water’ version of Clayton, how is that going to set them apart from others?
Millions of credit-worthy customers are waiting to buy instead of rent. They need to be convinced by evidence that this or that company in manufactured housing is worthy of their business.
There will always be a market for people with damaged or thin credit. But statistically in recent years, the far larger market is for people with good credit. A company(ies) can serve both if they can, but if someone had to select which market to appeal to, why not pick the bigger pool that is easier to finance?
To ignore what’s wrong in manufactured housing is to continue getting more of the same. It is only by being willing to lead instead of follow others can that wider market be successfully tapped.
In conclusion, let’s be clear so there is no mistake. There are white hat organizations and white hat professionals in manufactured housing. An important part of what must occur for manufactured housing to achieve its tremendous potential is that white hats jujitsu the problems caused by black hats. For those who might find themselves on the wrong side of that fence, there is always an opportunity to sincerely pivot. Some of the greatest stories in the U.S. and around the world involve stories of ‘redemption.’
Celebrated Razorbacks and Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz put it like this.
Do you have a news tip? Do what others have and reach out with your insights, documents, emails and demonstrable information.
That’s a wrap on this Sunday installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where we blend topics of business, culture, faith, politics and more in a manner where – “We Provide, You Decide.” © (Affordable housing, manufactured homes, week in review, reports, fact-checks, analysis, and commentary. Third-party images or content are provided under fair use guidelines for media.) (See Related Reports, further below. Text/image boxes often are hot-linked to other reports that can be access by clicking on them.)
By L.A. “Tony” Kovach – for MHLivingNews.com.
Tony earned a journalism scholarship and earned numerous awards in history and in manufactured housing. For example, he earned the prestigious Lottinville Award in history from the University of Oklahoma, where he studied history and business management. He’s a managing member and co-founder of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com. This article reflects the LLC’s and/or the writer’s position, and may or may not reflect the views of sponsors or supporters.
Connect on LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/latonykovach
The text/image boxes below are linked to other reports, which can be accessed by clicking on them.