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Start-up says 80% of its Facebook ad clicks came from bots – latimes.com

 

Must read if you intend to spend money on Facebook advertising. Let the professionals at Manufactured Home Source help you with any and all of your Internet Marketing needs…we can help you sell more manufactured homes and bring residents to your mobile home park, land-lease community.

 

 

Start-up says 80% of its Facebook ad clicks came from bots – latimes.com.


5 Companies on the Cutting Edge of Sustainable Prefab Housing

 

Wow, really cool stuff from Stephanie Buck via www.mashable.com

 

5 Companies on the Cutting Edge of Sustainable Prefab Housing.


HR 3849 Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act

HR 3849 protects against the loss of some 20,000-25,000 jobs, promotes new jobs as a
modest industry rebound is underway and protects the home values of some 9-10 million
residents of 4.4 million pre-HUD Code mobile and manufactured homes. In brief,
here below are some facts and why this bill is needed.
First, this bill has bi-partisan support.
Further, Barney Frank’s office has advised the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI)
that he will not oppose changes to SAFE and Dodd-Frank, as they recognize that the
unintended consequences of the law currently will adversely impact millions of home
owners and cause about about half of all new personal property lending to vanish.
60% of all Manufactured Housing loans today are personal property (home only, or socalled
‘chattel’ loans). The cost of originating and servicing a personal property loans is
about the same for a $30,000 home loan as a $230,000 house loan. So it is clear that
the business math means that a low dollar value loans will not be economically viable
for a lender – and thus won’t be made – once Dodd-Frank is fully implemented by the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).
This means current home owners with low value homes will watch their home’s value
plunge, and/or will limit their resale options should they need or desire to refinance,
move or sell.
Since every new manufactured home built represents one full time job, the failure to
pass the bill will cost 20,000 to 25,000 jobs, and will hamper manufactured housing’s
current recovery, which is creating new jobs.
Testimony before Congress has underscored these points, that perhaps half of all personal
property loans will vanish once Dodd-Frank and SAFE are fully implemented.
This means that 4.4 million mobile homes (defined here as a style of factory built homes
constructed on or before June 14, 1976 that are shipped on a permanently attached
frame) and manufactured homes (defined under federal law as factory-built homes built
to the federal HUD Code that went into effect on June 15, 1976) with a value under
$30,000 will be adversely impacted.
The vast majority of those millions of threatened home owners don’t yet know of the
looming impact, but should Congress fail to act, they will no doubt discover this reality
that hard way.
Thus the need for Congress to act as rapidly as possible to avoid the above consequences
is necessary. Thank you for your support of this bi-partisan effort.

SOURCE: Manufactured Home Marketing Sales Management http://www.mhmarketingsalesmanagement.com/downloads/alerts/4.8.2012%20HR%203849%20Preserving%20Access%20to%20Manufactured%20Housing%20Act.pdf


Why Build a Factory-Built Home?

The factory system combines engineering know-how and factory production methods to design and build efficiently and with greater quality control. When done properly, the efficiency results in lower costs and the quality control results in a better product.

Building a factory-built home will normally save you time compared with building a conventional site-built house. Saving time on construction not only saves money, it also reduces the stress involved in home building. The faster you build your home, the sooner you will be able to enjoy it and dispense with the worries and preoccupations of construction.

Manufacturers of prefab homes are usually able to build new house plans more affordably than custom stick builders, for the same kinds of reasons that automobile manufacturers are able to build a new car for far less than a mechanic could build the same car in his garage. They include:

*Volume purchases of materials, which allows modular manufacturers to secure significant discounts.

*Lower labor costs: Experienced factory workers are well paid, with good benefits, but they do not command the wages paid to professional carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and painters.

*Assembly-line efficiencies: Organizing the construction process with inventory controls, power tools and equipment, and quality-control systems enables the factory crews to produce a home with greater efficiency than a handful of construction workers building in the field.

*Less material loss: Inclement weather does not damage the materials.

*Less pilferage and vandalism: Factories are easier to secure than building sites.

*Less waste: By working with standardized dimensions, modular manufacturers are better able to make optimal use of materials and avoid waste.

When a manufacturer is building without a backlog, it can deliver a house five weeks after the customer has finalized the plans and obtained a building permit and financing. The general contractor begins the site work and completes the foundation while the manufacturer is building the house. If the house is small, uncomplicated, requires little on-site construction, and the GC is not too busy, it will be completed in about three weeks. Adding these two time frames together, a prospective homeowner can plan to move into the house eight weeks after finalizing the preliminary steps.

These are just some of the advantages enjoyed by factory-built home owners. Check back with us, as we will blog about other advantages in the future.


ADVANTAGES OF MANUFACTURED HOUSING

In the face of today’s challenging economy, the need for quality, affordable housing has never been greater. Today’s manufactured homes can deliver outstanding quality and performance at prices ranging from 10 to 35 percent less per square foot than conventional site-built homes. These savings allow more and more americans to own their own home, even in the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap.

The affordability of manufactured housing can be attributed directly to the efficiencies emanating from the factory-building process. The controlled construction environment and assembly-line techniques remove many of the problems encountered during traditional home construction, such as poor weather, theft, vandalism, damage to building products and materials, and unskilled labor. factory employees are trained and managed more effectively and efficiently than the system of contracted labor employed by the site-built home construction industry.

Much like other assembly-line operations, manufactured homes benefit from the economies of scale resulting from purchasing large quantities of materials, products and appliances. manufactured home builders are able to negotiate substantial savings on many components used in building a home, with these savings passed on directly to the homebuyer.

Today’s manufactured homes have experienced a major evolution in the types and quality of homes being offered to buyers. Technological advances are allowing manufactured home builders to offer a much wider variety of architectural styles and exterior finishes that will suit most any buyer’s dreams, all the while allowing the home to blend in seamlessly into most any neighborhood. Two-story and single-family attached homes are but two of the new styles being generated by factory-built innovation. as a result, today’s manufactured homes are offering real housing options for the neglected suburban and urban buyers.

At the same time, greater flexibility in the construction process allows for each home to be customized to meet a buyer’s lifestyle and needs. Interior features now include such features as vaulted ceilings and working fireplaces to state-of-the-art kitchens and baths, giving the homebuyer all the features found in traditional, site-built homes. enhanced energy efficiency in manufactured homes, achieved with upgraded levels of insulation and more efficient heating and cooling systems, provide another source of savings for homeowners, especially in this era of rising energy costs. smart buyers are turning to EnergyStar-labeled manufactured homes for substantial savings in many aspects of owning and operating home.

Technological advances, evolutionary designs, and a focus on delivering quality homes that families can afford are the driving forces within the manufactured housing industry. That’s why more people are turning to manufactured housing to deliver homes that fit their needs and wants, at prices they can afford!

Cost-Effective:
Depending on the region of the country, construction cost per square foot for a new manufactured home averages 10 to 35 percent less than costs for a comparable site-built home.

Independent appraisal studies confirm that manufactured homes can appreciate in value just like other forms of housing.

Built for Quality:

All aspects of the construction process are controlled.

The weather does not interfere with construction and cause delays.

All technicians, craftsmen and assemblers work as a team and are professionally supervised.

Inventory is better controlled and materials are protected from theft and weather-related damage.

All construction materials, as well as interior finishes and appliances, are purchased in volume for additional savings.

Cost of interim construction financing is significantly reduced or eliminated.

All aspects of construction are continually inspected by aprofessionally trained third-party inspector.

Amenities:

Floor plans are available that range from basic to elaborate. These include vaulted or tray ceilings, fully-equipped kitchens, walk-in closets, and bathrooms with recessed tubs and whirlpools.

A variety of exterior siding is available, including metallic, vinyl, wood, or hardboard. In some cases, homebuyers can also opt for stucco exteriors.

Homes have pitched roofs with shingles and gabled ends.

Design features such as bay windows are available.

Awnings, patio covers, decks, site-built garages and permanent foundations often are available as upgrades.

The home can be customized to meet the needs of the consumer.

Safety:

The building materials in today’s manufactured home are the same as those used in site-built homes.

The homes are engineered for wind safety and energy efficiency based on the geographic region in which they are sold.

Manufactured homes are among the safest housing choices available today due to federal laws requiring smoke detectors, escape windows, and limited combustible materials around furnaces, water heaters and kitchen ranges.

Properly installed homes can withstand 120-130 mph 3-second gust winds in areas prone to hurricanes.

This information is courtesy of the Manufactured Housing Institute Quick Facts 2011


Are your prospective homebuyers finding you on the Internet?

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by derrick @ 11:35 am on March 13, 2012

As I travel around the country educating organizations on how to fill their pipeline with prospective homebuyers and implementing a sound business process to make sure they take those prospective homebuyers through their home buying journey, it amazes me how many companies don’t have a comprehensive, targeted Internet marketing strategy to make sure their prospective homebuyers are finding them on the Internet. The objective of any marketing campaign is to attract qualified potential buyers to your company. A key component of this is to be where the qualified potential buyer is looking. With 87% of home buyers using the Internet in their home buying process (National Association of Realtors’ 2008 “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”), it is imperative you have a comprehensive, targeted Internet marketing strategy to make sure you are where people are looking. While most of these organizations have websites, their websites are often lost in all the noise of the World Wide Web. I hear it all the time, “We have a website, we have the Internet covered”, and my very next question to them is, “where does your website come up on major search terms for our industry that will bring you prospective homebuyers in your market?” In most cases, the reality is they are not placed very high, prospective homebuyers are not finding them, and they are not reaching their entire market. In fact, they are losing sales to competitors who are and have a comprehensive, targeted Internet strategy. This article will first discuss how prospective homebuyers find you on the Internet and then discuss what your best and most economical strategy is to make sure you are capturing as much of your home buying market as possible.

So how do people find you on the Internet? Search engines, and there are many available for people to choose from. Google and Yahoo are the two biggest with Google comprising of 70% of the market and Yahoo 15%. Together they make up 85% of all searches done on the Internet. Once a prospective homebuyer enters a search engine such as Google, they are prompted to do a ‘keyword combination’ search for what they are looking for, for example “Manufactured Home Dealers”. When the search is entered, the search engines return any websites they identify as relevant for the keyword combination. Your goal is to come up as high on the search engine results as possible, ideally #1 and at the very least, front page exposure for any term that will attract a prospective homebuyer in your market. While in theory this seems easy, it can get complicated when you are a manufactured home dealer in Hammond, LA and a keyword combination search such as “Manufactured Home Dealers” can capture the interest of the prospective homebuyer who is interested in purchasing a home in Monroe, MI just as easily as the prospective homebuyer who is interested in purchasing a home in Hammond, LA. On top of that, when the keyword combination search “Manufactured Home Dealers” is conducted on Google, Google identifies over 340 million websites relevant to that keyword combination. Having your organization stand out over the 340 million other websites can be daunting, expensive, difficult, and time-consuming. In addition, there are no guarantees you will see results with any of your efforts as there are 340 million other websites trying to accomplish the same thing you are. It simply doesn’t make sense to spend the time, money, and effort to get to the top of searches that encompass your prospective homebuyer market yet expand way beyond it.

What is your best strategy to make sure you are capturing as much of your home buying market as possible? The most economical and useful way to fully market your organization on the Internet is to have your own website cover specific terms to your home buying market such as “Manufactured Home Dealers in Hammond, LA” or “Oak Creek Homes in Hammond, LA” and use an Internet listing service like ManufacturedHomeSource.com that already has an established presence on all the major search engines for factory-built housing terms including many of the broader terms like “Manufactured Home Dealers” or “Manufactured Home Communities”. This two pronged approach really allows you to spread as wide of a marketing net as possible while making the most of your marketing dollars. This is especially true when your only cost to use an Internet listing service such as ManufacturedHomeSource.com is when a prospective homebuyer contacts you that is interested in your homes/community.

Having a website is great, but if you don’t have a comprehensive, targeted Internet marketing strategy to make sure your prospective homebuyers are finding you on the Internet you are losing out on sales. By strategically optimizing your website to improve the way a search engine ranks your website in specific searches such as “Manufactured Home Dealers in Hammond, LA” or “Oak Creek Homes in Hammond, LA” and by using an Internet listing service that already has an established presence on all the major search engines for factory-built housing terms for the terms that include but expand beyond your prospective home buying market, your organization can capture as much of your prospective home buying market as possible while significantly improving the quality and quantity of your Internet leads.

Manufactured Home Source can help you make the most out of the Internet. Let’s talk…


What is a modular home? What is the difference between manufactured homes and a modular homes?

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by derrick @ 1:19 pm on March 8, 2012

Modular homes are homes that are built in two or more sections in a controlled factory setting that are then transported and assembled at the building site. Modular homes are built to either local or state building codes as opposed to manufactured homes (sometimes still erroneously referred to as mobile homes) which are also built in a factory but are governed by a federal building code.

Modular homes can be completely customized to meet the home-buyers needs and tastes as well as to meet local building and zoning codes and to better withstand local issues such as hurricanes, earthquakes or snowload. Modern modular homes are built with the highest quality materials and construction. The benefits of building homes in a factory are similar to the benefits of building automobiles in a factory and can include:

•High degree of quality control
•Lack of exposure to the elements during construction
•Better control of inventory of materials including protection from theft and the effect of rain and snow
•Volume purchasing discount as well as more efficient use of materials
•Shorter time to move-in

The greater efficiency of building homes in a factory environment, rather than on-site, means that you, the home-buyer, can move into the home of your dreams at a significant savings and with a higher level of quality than you would if you were to choose a site-built home rather than a modular home.

Since they are built to local building codes, modular homes are treated the same as site-built homes with respect to zoning, financing, appraisal, and value appreciation.


Are Green Manufactured Homes and Modular Homes available?

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by derrick @ 2:03 pm on March 6, 2012

Green building is a hot topic today for a number of reasons. Rising energy costs are making home efficiency more important for the average consumer. Increasing concern and awareness of environmental impacts including global warming are increasing consumers’ interest in reducing their “footprint” on the planet and its resources. Additionally, the Federal government as well as many State governments are offering incentives that make going “green” even more affordable.

Regardless of your motivation for researching green building, Manufactured and Modular Housing fits naturally into the overall green building paradigm. Homes built in a factory have some natural advantages over traditional “site-built” homes. A factory is able to use materials much more efficiently than a construction crew at a building site. Cuts of raw materials such as lumber, drywall, paint, wiring, plumbing and insulation can be planned more efficiently and left-over materials can be reused, repurposed or recycled rather than simply sent to the landfill as waste. Also, in a climate-controlled factory setting, materials are not exposed to the elements as they frequently are at job sites which often results in materials being rendered unfit for the builder’s needs and therefore landfill-bound. According to the National Association of Home Builders the typical 2000 sq. ft. site-built home generates about 8000 pounds of waste. Modular Home and Manufactured Home factories are able to reduce that waste by 50 to 75%. A home built in a modern manufactured or modular home factory is also likely to last longer than site-built homes in the event of natural disaster, saving both human as well as materials costs. For example, modern factory-built homes are being used to rebuild devastated areas of the Gulf Coast. Built to withstand winds in excess of 200 miles per hour, these homes will outlast nearly any site-built homes. Finally, the materials used in a factory are delivered in large, efficient deliveries rather than the many small trips to the local hardware or lumber supply company and back that are typical of a site-built home-building project. This saves in materials costs as well as transportation costs and impact.

A more recent development in factory-built homes’ “green” evolution is the establishment of green-building certification programs including the EnergyStar™ and CertifiedGreen™ programs. EnergyStar™ is a nationally recognized, voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products, new homes and buildings to consumers and business owners across the United States. Initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992, EnergyStar™ is now a joint effort of EPA and the US Department of Energy. EPA is responsible for administering the EnergyStar™ label for homes. An EnergyStar™ qualified home is significantly more energy efficient in its heating, cooling, and water heating than a comparable standard code home. This increased level of energy efficiency can be met using standard technologies and manufacturing practices by successfully integrating three key home components:

* An energy-efficient building envelope (e.g., effective insulation, tight construction, and high-performance windows).
* Energy-efficient air distribution (e.g., airtight, well-insulated ducts).
* Energy-efficient equipment (e.g., space heating, space cooling, and hot water heating).

Each EnergyStar™ qualified home can keep 4,500 lbs of greenhouse gases out of our air each year. And because homes have such long life-spans, this environmental benefit lasts for many, many years. (Source: EnergyStar.gov)

The CertifiedGreen Modular Home Program™ was established by the Systems Building Research Alliance in conjunction with the National Modular Housing Council, modular homebuilders and other stakeholders as a green building and certification program for modular homes. Key features of the CertifiedGreen Modular Home Program™ include:

* Only producers of modular homes and their affiliated builders can participate in CertifiedGreen. The program is designed to take advantage of the resource efficiencies and quality control methods inherent in modular building
* The requirements for CertifiedGreen homes are based on the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The NGBS was developed by the International Code Council in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders.
* To achieve CertifiedGreen designation, plants and builders must work together to demonstrate that the home and the site contain a combination of green features, or measures, from six categories: Lot Design, Preparation and Development; Resource Efficiency; Energy Efficiency; Water Efficiency; Indoor Environmental Quality; and Building Operation, Maintenance and Education.
* CertifiedGreen homes must comply with the requirements of the national ENERGY STAR program. Energy efficiency is a linchpin of green and ENERGY STAR is the best guarantee of consistent superior energy performance.
* CertifiedGreen offers four levels of compliance: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald, providing modular companies and their builders opportunities for qualifying homes with greater “green” content.
* Modular manufacturers must be certified by an independent third-party “Certifier” to build CertifiedGreen homes. Routine production is monitored by the plant’s own in-house quality control staff.
* While the plant is certified to routinely construct homes that are both CertifiedGreen and ENERGY STAR, there is no equivalent certification for the builder. Rather, each home is approved in the field by an independent third-party “Verifier” retained by the builder.
* A completed and qualified CertifiedGreen home has a Designed to Earn CertifiedGreen label, two EnergyStar™ labels, an EnergyStar™ Home Certificate and a CertifiedGreen Home Certificate.

Modular companies interested in building CertifiedGreen homes should visit http://www.certifiedgreenmodular.org/ for more information.

In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing our impact on the planet, building “green” can provide financial benefits to the consumer. Energy efficient homes use substantially less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating-delivering $200 to $400 in annual savings. Over the life of a home this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars saved. Also, by choosing an energy-efficient home you will have a higher likelihood of finding a good buyer when the time comes to sell your homes.

Federal and State governments offer a number of incentives to encourage consumers to choose environmentally friendly homes as well. The number and variety of incentives for EnergyStar™ factory-built homes is on the rise. Many utilities and state agencies are turning to financial incentives as a way to promote efficient construction. An array of tax credits, sales tax reductions, rate discounts and direct payments are being offered from coast-to-coast for both HUD-code and modular homes. Most programs provide a direct cash payment to the factory builder, retailer/dealer or homebuyer, often with the purchase of an EnergyStar™ home. Amounts vary, but most incentives are between $400 and $750, although with several programs the benefits reach well beyond $2,000, frequently in the form of a tax reduction. These are in addition to the $1,000 per home federal tax credit available to manufactured home producers through 2008. See http://www.research-alliance.org for more information.


A great video from our friends over at Palm Harbor!

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by derrick @ 1:46 pm on March 5, 2012

Manufactured Homes and Modular Homes Factory Built Tour


Four Common Problems with Internet Lead Handling and Sales Processes

By Chad Carr, Rainmaker Consulting

I am excited about the opportunity to write for this website because I see so many misconceptions about Internet Leads and how they fit into a company’s marketing and sales process.

As a consultant to Housing Retailers for almost twenty years, I have been in hundreds of dealerships. In almost every one of those dealerships there has been a need to improve the process sales people use for handling leads, especially Internet leads.

When I first met the principals at ManufacturedHomeSource.com, I was very excited about their ability to deliver Internet Leads to a dealership. But it quickly became apparent that even dealers with a good sales process in place had no idea what to do with Internet leads.

It is not unusual for a salesperson to come up to me at a dealership when the boss isn’t around and start complaining about the stack of garbage leads he is supposed to be working from the Internet. In most of these cases, it takes only a little bit of questioning to identify why the salesperson has this attitude. I can promise you it is never that the Internet Leads weren’t actually good leads.

Let me share a few reasons for these negative attitudes:

Age – In sales there is a saying, “The older they are the colder they are”. Why would anyone think its okay to let Internet Leads sit around for days before we get back to them?

Research shows that customers will lose 50% of their interest in a company or product within 3 hours of their initial inquiry. Yet, as an industry, we average five days before getting back to an Internet lead. That’s terrible.

If a salesperson is handed leads that are old, they are going to be disappointed when they call those leads. Likewise, if they are handed new leads and sit on them for a few days, they will not be happy with their results when they finally do get around to calling.

This makes total sense. If I left you a phone message asking you to call me about the product you are selling and you waited several days before you called me, you would expect the cold shoulder from me. Don’t let this happen to you – call your Internet Leads as fast as possible.

Wrong Expectations – Many times when salespeople call Internet Leads they have the expectation they will be talking to someone who is ready to buy a house.

This can happen, but more often than not, Internet Leads are contacting dealers very early in their decision making process. If you suddenly move into the selling mode with someone you have never met and who is not ready to be sold, you are going to put them off.

As strange as this might sound, the number one thing customers are looking for on the Internet is someone with whom they can build a relationship. Your job as a salesperson is to develop a relationship with that lead first. Selling them a house will come later, but only if you have a good relationship.

Lack of Training – Almost everyone agrees it is important to train salespeople. Dealers send salespeople to factories to gain product knowledge; they send them to sales training to learn a sales process; they may even do some basic telephone skills work with them. However, dealers almost never invest any time or money to train their sales people what to do with an Internet Lead.

For example, if you are responding to an Internet Lead, it is likely you will have to write e-mail. Have you been trained on how to write a good e-mail? Do you know what to include and what to leave out of these e-mails? Do you now how to use the spell check and grammar check features of your e-mail system?

With the Internet, dealerships have a completely new way of collecting and communicating with leads. Dealers need to invest in training their people on how to use this new tool to build relationships and make sales.

Lack of a Process – If a sales manager hands a salesperson a stack of leads and says “See what you can do with these” the whole endeavor is going to be doomed. Every dealership needs to have a written and well-designed process for handling Internet Leads.

This process needs to address how quickly you will respond, how often you will respond, what you will do if the customer doesn’t return your calls, how you will answer the question “What’s the price” and much, much more.

A lot of my work these days is centered on helping dealerships put together an effective process for working with Internet Leads and then training their people how to use that process.

I will try to share some of that information through this blog, but if you would like to get started with your process, I would recommend coming to my free webinar entitled, “Unlocking the Secrets of the Internet”. Send an e-mail to chad@getRain.com and I will let you know when the next webinar will be held.

Chad Carr is the President of Rainmaker Consulting, a second-generation family business that provides Retail Management Software and Consulting Services for the Housing, RV and Trailer markets.

Rainmaker works with dealers ranging in size from five to six people up to some of the biggest and most well recognized names in the industry. For more information about their services, visit their web-site at www.getRain.com or contact Chad at (800) 336-0339 or chad@getRain.com.


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