Monthly Archives: August 2014

Manufactured Homes and FHA-Insured Loans

Homeowners that live in manufactured homes often face confusion and frustration at the worst possible time —at the 11th hour when they go to buy/sell or refinance their home and the lender pops up with a final condition: an engineer’s certification of the manufactured home’s foundation. For many this becomes a crisis when the foundation fails to meet the HUD guidelines. To resolve the situation and proceed with the loan, the lender will then require an engineered upgrade, repair or a retrofit on the foundation in order to meet the HUD guidelines. In a state of panic, where does the borrower or lender go for a reliable source to satisfy this condition? Fortunately, there is a vast array of pre-engineered and approved “permanent” foundation systems available in the marketplace so the homeowner or home buyer doesn’t have to pay to reinvent the wheel, but the borrower may still have a difficult time discerning which criteria should be used to make a selection.

Should they focus on the features and benefits of the individual system or make a decision strictly on the price point? The fact that homeowners are floundering for answers at a time of heightened stress in the loan consummation process accelerates their confusion and leads some borrowers to blame the loan officers or transaction coordinators. “Why didn’t anyone know this??” is the frequent outcry. To be fair, the loan officer or processor is likely dealing with their very first FHA and Reverse Mortgage Loan and was not aware that the foundation would be a critical factor in the loan. However, the borrower often views this last minute potentially expensive surprise as a lack of professionalism on the part of the lender and further adds to his/her consternation.

So, for both borrower and lender, it may be important to have a strategy to interpret available repair solutions. Where can a borrower or lender get the best information? A web search for foundation systems may supply you with some of the names prominent in the industry and you can start educating by having product manufacturers feature the benefits of their respective proprietary foundation system. Likely you will hear the manufacturer’s self-directed accolades extolling the virtues of their system as the “only true FHA certified system” so the tariff for the system may also include a hefty sales commission. Although many manufacturers proclaim that their patented proprietary foundation retrofitting is FHA or HUD approved, the truth is there are no blanket approvals that automatically provide a stamp of approval on an FHA-insured loan. Even though the components that are used in their system may indeed provide the vertical and lateral loads needed to meet the HUD Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Homes, 1996, without proper installation the system is as worthless as Tinker Toys sitting in the canister. Only a licensed engineer on a case-by-case basis can determine whether the system meets the HUD foundation guidelines and must attest to that fact in a certification letter, wet-stamped and signed. One can imagine a worst case scenario where a borrower pays big dollars for a system installation, only to have the installation fail under the scrutiny of an engineer.

While the safety features alone of a foundation system might normally be a component in a homeowner or home buyer’s decision-making, the tick-tock of a loan lock creates a sense of urgency. Plus the unexpected cost of a retrofit at a time of financial need will generally cause most borrowers to think primarily with their pocketbooks. While many manufacturers of foundation systems battle for positioning because they protest that their system has superior load-bearing or seismic resistance, the reality is that the performance of the installer and the turn-around time for the engineer to certify the foundation have become the new standard for structural excellence in the world of FHA manufactured housing financing. By necessity, the merits of the system and its structural efficacy have taken a back seat to the contractor and engineering team that provides the verification that the lender needs to take the loan to underwriting. Since a system is only as good as its installation and certification by an engineer, start by finding a contractor/engineer team that that has a comprehensive knowledge of the FHA and title process, can liaison between borrower and lender to create a seamless transaction, can provide extra structural support for the home as well as the much needed service support for the loan transaction.

Manufactured homes and FHA Insured loans specialty contractors are often knowledgeable about both the plethora of proprietary systems available on the market as well as the costs and the building permit process associated with the installation. They understand that different systems have different merits and the ranking for decision-making has a number of determining factors, some of which are:

1. Size of home
2. Type of home manufacturer and the style
3. Type of perimeter enclosure
4. Type of set-up (above ground or subterranean set)
5. Type of soil/ground/drainage conditions
6. Appurtenant structures to the home
7. Roof load, floor load, live load in the home
8. Local building code requirements determined by wind, flood, seismic activity
9. Best system vs. best value

Therefore, choosing your foundation system should come down to the competency of the retrofitter/engineering team that can economically, expeditiously and successfully accomplish a finished product, wading through the lending requisites, local building department requirements, providing any recorded documentation (like the 433A in California) and the ultimate prize—the engineer’s certification letter verifying that the foundation meets the HUD guidelines.

6 Ways to Get More Traffic and Build a List

Ahh, traffic. It’s known as the hardest part of building an online business. It can take months or even years to build up a decent amount of traffic so that you can build a list or just sell a product from your website.

Before we look at the most cost and time effective ways to get targeted traffic, I would like to make one point:

If you’d like to work once for your traffic but get paid for life, then you absolutely must be doing one thing: Building a list.

I know, people always tell you this and you may already be doing so, but to those who are not then make sure you capture each precious, hard earned visitor that comes to your site, because once they leave, they are never coming back! Besides, once you have a list, you don’t need to worry about constantly trying to find traffic anymore, because the traffic is just an email away!

And if you’re already building a list, you may want to read on to find out why you’re probably wasting 90% of your time and energy doing it the wrong way.

But first, let’s look at how you can get some initial traffic to your website and start making some sales (and building a list of course!)

1. Blog Comments

Many people overlook this tactic because they think it doesn’t work. This is usually because people associate blog comments with the usual “hey, thanks for the advice man…” type of blog comment that you see on so many blogs. However, blog commenting becomes a great way to piggy back hoards of targeted traffic literally overnight when you leave a solid, useful comment that actually adds to the original post. Perhaps add something that was missed, or extend the list of ideas, or present an argument…just show that you know what you’re talking about and leave a link back to your site, the rest is history. Just don’t spam multiple blogs with off topic or irrelevant comments.

2. Forum Signatures

Getting involved in forums does take a few weeks worth of work to build up a presence and trust, but once you become trusted and respected in a forum, you can drive tons of traffic through this method. Just pop a link in your signature box and watch the hits come in. This works best when you post a forum thread that truly delivers great content and gets people talking about you.

3. Social Networking

There’s a whole world of social sites out there such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Bebo, Hubpages, MyBlog Log…the list is endless. If you get to know some people who have an obvious interest in your niche market, you can quickly form a platform to broadcast to all their friends, who pass it on to their friends, and so on. Again, good useful content will get passed around and talked about most of course, but the key is to build a handful of good friendships on several of these networking sites so that when you have something to say, they will likely pass on your message to the world through their collectively huge lists of friends.

4. Article Marketing

One of the time tested, most effective ways to get targeted traffic to your site is through article marketing. This means writing a quality article and posting it to an online article directory such as EzineArticles.com. Then in your resource box, you can leave a link to point to a resource where the reader can get even more information and resources to really solve their problems or enhance their current situation in whichever way is appropriate.

5. Video Marketing

Video is really taking off online these days, and if you know how to connect with people physically or verbally, then video is a huge area to gain tons of traffic. With YouTube being one of the most visited websites in the world, along with these types of video sharing sites having the potential to make your videos go viral, this is something all marketers need to start using. The trick with video is to not come across as a corporation or sales person, rather a normal person in their home, trying to help others. You can leave a live link in the about this video section and get plenty of free traffic from this resource, particularly if your video is entertaining and appealing.

6. Yahoo Answers

Another overlooked resource is Yahoo Answers. I can account for 25% of my yearly traffic to come from a few good and useful answers I posted to people’s questions on Yahoo Answers. The trick is to give really good, non-biased advice and simply suggest a link for them to check out to solve their problems (which will be your website of course!). As long as you are ethical and treat people with respect, and genuinely try to help people solve their problems, then you’re golden at Yahoo Answers. You can actually find people looking for products and services that you might offer, which leads to easy conversions too!