MHP Brokers Tips and Tricks Podcast, Lance Latham Interview

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In this episode of The MHP Broker’s Tips and Tricks podcast, Maxwell Baker, president of The Mobile Home Park Broker, interviewed Lance Latham, president of the Alabama chapter of the Manufactured Housing Association. This is part of Max’s informative series of podcast discussions with MHA leaders across the country.

This and every Tips and Tricks podcast episode are brought to you by The MHP Broker’s’ proprietary Community Price Maximizer. Use this four-step system to get the highest price possible for your mobile home park or RV community when you sell it through The MHP Broker. Guaranteed. Ask Max for details.

Here Are the Show Highlights:

  • Lance Latham has a political background as chief of staff for the Alabama legislature. He’s been with the Alabama chapter of the Manufactured Homes Association (MHA) for the last six years, working his way up from deputy director to executive director. (Lance, 1:11)
  • Alabama has 17 manufactured home plants. (Lance, 2:31)
  • Alabama sells its manufactured homes throughout the southeast, in parts of the Midwest, and even near the Washington D.C. area. The market is now slowing slightly, but that’s a good thing because it was so overheated for so long. (Lance, 2:34)
  • An interesting phenomenon Max has noticed, through his sister company wholesaling used homes to mobile home communities, is that new homes are now priced even slightly lower than homes that are a year or two old, just on the basis of supply and demand. (Max, 3:15)
  • Supply and labor shortages had driven pricing up for new homes during COVID, but these challenges are working themselves out and that’s reducing costs. (Lance, 3:58)
  • Today, used homes represent about one-third of manufactured home installations in Alabama. This includes both homeowners selling their own, and rent-to-own (RTO) options by community owners. (Lance, 4:28)
  • The top major challenge being addressed by the Alabama MHA is the scarcity of younger home movers/installers. Most are in their sixties, and few are in their thirties. This raises the price of manufactured housing to make it beyond the budgets of many potential buyers. The Alabama MHA is tackling the problem by partnering with community colleges in the state. (Lance, 5:23 and 5:44)
  • The MHA is developing a training and certification program-or “boot camp”-to graduate a core of knowledgeable and more affordable installers. (Lance, 6:25)
  • That’s a program that would also be a valuable add to the Georgia market, in that the absence of qualified movers/installers slows down the installation process and raises costs in the Peach State too. (Max, 6:55)
  • It’s costing manufacturers tens of millions of dollars (or more) to correct installation problems due to incompetence. This is a major complaint of homeowners, and one that can be solved with qualified, educated installers. (Lance, 8:01)
  • The state started the program at Bevill State Community College in Sumiton, and has introduced it in additional community colleges throughout the state. (Lance, 9:11)
  • With the price of site-built housing continuously rising, it’s a great time to introduce new market audiences to the concept of manufactured housing, including demographics that might not have considered such housing before, and have no idea about the high-quality construction standards of today’s manufactured homes. (Lance, 10:32 and 11:06)
  • As a way of promoting that quality distinction, the Alabama MHA is conducting Promotions with the University of Alabama and Auburn University to pick contestants who can win a $75,000 down payment on a manufactured home. (Lance, 11:35)
  • The Alabama chapter is also making a point to educate local zoning board members and city counselors on the quality of the homes as a way to address their concerns for new communities without establishing adversarial relationships. (Lance, 12:08)
  • Alabama park owners can join the state’s chapter of the Manufactured Housing Association by checking out the website at alamha.org. Contact Linda Drumheller, the chapter’s director of member services. Membership costs $75 per location per year. Benefits include guidance on and samples of lease agreements and pet policy language, marketing guidance to help park owners get residents, statistical information regarding installations, sales and other valuable data, and other benefits. (Lance, 20:40 and 21:30)

Reach out to Max to learn more about the accomplishments of MHA chapters and trends in the mobile home park industry. You’ll also find out how to sell your property for the best possible price. Just drop Max a line at info@themhpbroker.com or give him a call at 678-932-0200.

Power Quotes on This Episode:

(On Alabama’s leadership in building manufactured homes.) “Only Texas builds more homes than we do.” (Lance, 2:20)

We have a sister company called Mobile Home Wholesalers. We wholesale used homes to park owner and we're noticing that the new home pricing is actually cheaper than the one- or two-year-old homes, as the pricing for used home is just, for some reason, still elevated. But, from what I've been seeing and hearing from some of the park owners, the new home pricing is finally starting to come down as the cost of goods is starting to level out a little bit.” (Max, 3:15)

“Used homes are about a third of the installations we see in the state.” (Lance, 4;28)

(On problems with manufactured home installers.) “…it is both a quantity issue and a quality issue.” (Lance, 8:01)

“...(installers) who are willing to go out and work and hustle for the business can pretty much write their own paychecks right now…there’s a lot of money to be made if you’re willing to do the work…” (Lance, 10:10)

“I think there's a lot of first-time homeowners, a lot of young couples, for example, a lot of retiring couples who want to downsize, who might not have ever thought about a manufactured home, but with the market being the way it is right now, I think they might start looking at us. I think that we need to be ready to kind of meet that need.” (Lance,11:06)

“Our biggest political issue tends to be zoning problems.” (Lance, 11:38)

“...the greatest compliment I've ever received in this job was when somebody on Facebook accused us of false advertising because they didn't believe the picture, (that) the home was an actual manufactured home.” (Lance, 13:35)

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