Weekly Update: July 24, 2014

Beisser’s Pat Mashek Passes Away

Here is a note from Kim Beisser on Tuesday:

   It comes with deep sadness and personal regret that I must inform you of the passing of Patrick David Mashek.  Pat died today after a very long and courageous battle with cancer. Each of us not only grieves at the passing of a tremendous individual, but also for the loss his family suffers. Our hearts and prayers go out to them.

   It goes without saying the effect that Pat has had on all of our lives; not just through our days at Beisser Lumber, but personally as well.   Even though Pat is no longer here, his presence will remain a constant as his contributions will continue to benefit all of us in the years to come.

   Funeral arrangements are currently being made and will be shared with all once they are established.  If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Kim Beisser

The family will receive visitors from 3:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, July 24 at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 1627 Grand Avenue, West Des Moines, with a time for remembrance and sharing at 6 pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place Friday July 25 at 11:00 am at Sacred Heart.

Last Week to Apply for Remodelers Awards

This is the last week to apply for a CADRE. Apply for a CADRE, the highest national award for work by local remodelers councils and individuals, today. Individuals are honored in three categories. There are five additional categories for recognition of professional excellence in leadership, government affairs, membership, education and public relations. Visit nahb.org/CADRE to apply.

Iowa Home Builders

The Sioux City HBA had a great member golf outing last week – perfect weather and a great course.  Propping up HBA of Greater Siouxland Executive Officer Nancy Moos are Rich Callahan, Jay Iverson, Doug Conrad, and Joe Audino.

Urge Our Senators to Pass Bipartisan Housing Finance Reform NOW

  • While Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac continue to operate under government control, serious reform discussions are underway in Congress on the future of the U.S. housing finance reform system.
  • In the aftermath of the housing downturn, investors have been reluctant to invest in mortgage securities without government backing.
  • While the House of Representatives is considering legislation to completely remove the government role in the conventional mortgage market, the Senate is engaged in a bipartisan effort to preserve the federal support necessary for the proper functioning of the U.S. housing market.
  • NAHB believes federal support is particularly important to the availability of an affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which has been a staple of the U.S. housing finance system since the 1930’s.
  • Bipartisan legislation, S. 1217, the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014, was recently passed by the Senate Banking Committee and would maintain a proper level of government support.
  • S. 1217 would fix the nation’s flawed housing finance system and breathe new life into the housing sector by providing a consistent and affordable supply of mortgage credit for single-family and multifamily housing.
  • S. 1217 would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and ensure that a government backstop would only be triggered under extreme circumstances and after significant levels of private capital are first exhausted.
  • Certainty that the government will continue to have a limited role in supporting a mortgage market predominantly filled by the private sector will ensure liquidity and stability for homeownership and rental housing.

We can no longer afford delay. Passage of comprehensive housing finance reform this year is critical to the economic recovery of our nation and the housing sector:

  • S. 1217 will provide certainty and confidence to the marketplace.
  • After six years of government conservatorship and tinkering with Fannie and Freddie’s credit levers, our nation’s housing credit system remains in a constant state of uncertainty and confusion. Home builders, lenders and other housing market participants cannot adequately plan for the future and home buyers are either denied credit or paralyzed by the mixed messaging.
  • S. 1217 sets in place a workable, stable framework for housing growth. Without reform all decisions on the operations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, including key policy decisions on g-fees, portfolio holdings, and overall market access, are left to one unelected regulator.
  • Decisions impacting access to credit can change greatly depending on the whims of presidential administrations, political moods, or economic events.
  • S.1217 protects the American taxpayer by placing private capital in a first-loss position. Allowing Fannie and Freddie to continue to operate without any capital cushion, as is the case currently, leaves taxpayers exposed to another government bailout if the housing market crashes.
  • S. 1217 funds nearly $5 billion in annual affordable housing programs. Without reform bipartisan compromises that would fund affordable housing initiatives would be put on the back burner during this critical moment in the nation’s economic recovery.
  • S. 1217 represents a significant bipartisan policy achievement and should not be squandered by the political extremes of either party. Delay this year could jeopardize housing finance reform until after the 2016 elections.
  • A revitalized housing market, as envisioned by S. 1217, can serve as an engine of economic growth.
  • With nationwide housing starts currently running 700,000 to 800,000 units below what is considered normal production, building an additional 200,000 single- family homes would create nearly 600,000 full-time jobs and generate $22.2 billion in federal, state and local tax revenues.
  • We urge the Senate to advance long-overdue housing finance reform legislation and pass S. 1217.

Show and Shine Member Car & Motorcycle Show

We will hold a “show and shine” car or motorcycle networking event in our office parking lot, 400 East Court in Des Moines, on August 21 from 6-8 p.m.  This will be a BUILD-PAC event, but plan to be here for some great good and drinks.  The raindate will be August 28.  Mark your calendar and more details will be provided in the future.  We will have a “peoples choice” award for cars and for motorcycles.

Webinar Wednesdays

Water Features and Landscape Architecture Webinar

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about water features and landscape architecture for single-family homes and communities. It will be held on Wednesday, July 30 from 2-3 p.m. ET.

This session will focus on top water and landscape architecture features that home buyers want to see when they purchase either a single-family custom home or buy into an entire community. In both cases, these features contribute to a resident’s positive sense of place by creating curb appeal in the public space and an intimate, enjoyable setting in their private space.  This is presented by the NAHB Land Use and Design and the Best in American Living Magazine.  Click here.

Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Enter the Housing Market Now

   Feel free to copy this article and send it in to your local newspaper with your name attached – it’s interesting.

With the economy and housing market still recovering, some potential first-time home buyers may be hesitant to invest in a new home. Yet there are several reasons why now is a great time for Millennials and other first-time home buyers to start building their American Dream.

Interest rates are low.

Today’s historically low interest rates are helping first-time home buyers find affordable housing options. Average weekly interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage remain under 4.5%.

But it’s important to keep in mind that interest rates are sensitive to market forces and can change quickly. There’s no indication that rates will suddenly surge upward, but even a slight rate increase can push monthly payments to the point that a buyer might miss out on their first choice for a new home.

Huge downpayments are not necessary.

While lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your first home without a 20% downpayment. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans to first-time home buyers with downpayments as low as 3.5%. However, these loans require mortgage insurance.

To ensure that the financing process goes smoothly, buyers should consider pre-qualifying for a mortgage and having a financing commitment in place before shopping for a new home. Buyers also may find that some home builders have arranged favorable financing for their customers or offer financial incentives.

New homes are built to fit your lifestyle.

Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes – including urban condos and single-family homes – feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that appeal to younger buyers.

With energy costs near the top of consumer concerns, it’s good to know that new homes can be more energy efficient than ever. Innovative materials and construction techniques mean that today’s new homes are built to be much more energy efficient than homes constructed a generation ago. Not only can they be more affordable to operate, new homes also are significantly more resource efficient and environmentally friendly.

Technology makes house shopping fun and easy.

Today’s tech-savvy home buyers use mobile apps to quickly gather all of the key information on a property and to see extensive photos from their cell phones or tablets. For example, Homesnap allows you to snap a picture of any home and get all the relevant property details, including any interior photos for homes on the market.

If you’re just beginning your search, Realtor.com is a popular app because it generally contains the most accurate information gathered from more than 800 local MLSs (multiple listing services).

If you’re checking out homes in an unfamiliar area, AroundMe helps you get a quick sense of the neighborhood by telling you the location of local restaurants, supermarkets, other businesses and attractions.

There also are several free mortgage apps to help you determine how much you can afford and to compare real-time rates from multiple lenders. Popular mortgage calculator apps include Zillow and Trulia.

Owning a home can help young families build wealth and combat rising rents.

For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of net worth and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. Although property values have declined in many markets, Americans have more than $10.8 trillion of equity in their homes, and for most families, home equity represents the largest share of net worth.

At the same time, rent prices continue to climb – 2.8 percent in 2013 – as rental vacancies dropped to their lowest point since 2000, according to a recent report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That makes now a great time to start investing in your future – instead of your landlord’s.

Weekly Update: July 17, 2014

HBAI Members Paid $132,572 in Member Rebates

Complimenting your excellent NAHB discounts is our very own Member Rebate Program.  It takes such a small amount of time to submit your information on a quarterly basis.  This is one of the most obvious reasons to be a member – without even trying very hard you can easily have your HBA dues costs refunded back to you through this program.  Here is a list of members who have participated in 2013 and 2014 – members who have collected $132,572 by using products that you are already buying.  Looking at a spreadsheet released yesterday, we have active HBAI members who have cumulative totals of $23,531; $12,923; $10,801; $13,899 and a large number in the $1-5k range.  This is money in your pocket.  Click here for more info.

Able Homebuilders

Abode Construction

American Homes By Dave Long

Anderson Construction LLC

Anderson Group Construction

Aspen Homes LLC

Bella Homes

Big Dog Construction Co.

Boatman Tile Co.

Brezina Homes, Inc.

Castle Pointe Homes

Country Classic Homes

C-RDR Homes

Denton Homes

EverGreen Design Build

First Construction Company

Friedrich Construction

Gratias Construction Inc.

Gulling Homes LLC

HCS Builders

Home Repair Team, Inc.

Integrity Custom Homes Inc.

Iowa Home Crafters Inc.

Jensen Construction

Jerry’s Homes, Inc.

Jim Sattler Inc.

Jon Hunziker Const. Inc.

K & V Homes, Inc.

Kimberley Development Corp.

Kohles Construction Co. Inc.

KRM Development, LLC

Leinen Construction

Mark Gudenkauf Constructon, Inc.

Midwest Home Builders

Oak Tree Homes, LLC

Precision Builders

Rich Lepper Construction, Inc.

Savannah Homes, Inc.

SJE Ltd.

Tri-County Enterprises, Inc.

Village Classic Homes

Werle Construction Co.

Windmill Properties, Inc.

Windmiller Design & Development Co.

 

OSHA Overreach in Delaware

A colleague at the Delaware HBA posted this question earlier this week on one of our listserves and wondered if it was legitimate:  Yesterday I learned OSHA fined a local concrete contractor here in DE for having men in a “trench” without the trench being stepped back.  The dug out basement became a “trench” when the walls were poured.  They are requiring step the dig back after 4′ of vertical bank, then horizontally, then vertically again based on the depth of the overall dig.  OSHA regards the space between the poured wall and the dirt bank as the “trench”. 

 

Another colleague replied:

OSHA’s Excavation and Trenching Standard

What does the OSHA standard cover, and what protections does it offer?  The rule applies to all open excavations made in the earth’s surface, including trenches. Strict compliance with all sections of the standard will prevent or greatly reduce the risk of cave-ins as well as other excavation-related accidents.

What kinds of excavations and trenches are not covered?

The standard does not apply to house foundation/basement excavations, including those that become trenches by definition when constructing formwork, foundations, or walls. For this exemption to apply, all the following conditions must exist: …

 

Are You a Golfer?  Are You Committed to the Building Industry?

No one has stepped forward on this yet – if you’re a golfer and committed to the building industry, it’s a no brainer.  We have a special opportunity for the first four new Gold Key [$1,000] (or higher) members who step forward. Those individuals will then have the opportunity to play golf on an ultra-exclusive privately owned 19 hole course in Ankeny called “Talons of Tuscany.”   The course is available only to a handful of charities each year and foursomes have been known to sell for up to $3k. Dennis Albaugh owns the property, which has raised $8 million for charities over the past few years.

You can be billed throughout the year for your BUILD-PAC contribution, which makes it really painless. The Gold Key level is an annual contribution of $1,000 and that can be split up into payment plans.

Our purpose is to raise and spend money to elect candidates running for political office. We work hard to elect pro-housing candidates by contributing to their campaigns. Around four percent of NAHB members contribute, which is very sad. It’s an investment in the future of your business and the home building industry as a whole.  Whether or not you agree with the method, contributions are essential to promoting a pro-housing agenda in government.

Contact HBAI Executive Officer Jay Iverson (515-278-0255) if you would like to be a part of this group of industry leaders.

Show and Shine Member Car & Motorcycle Show

We will hold a “show and shine” car or motorcycle networking event in our office parking lot, 400 East Court in Des Moines, on August 21 from 6-8 p.m.  This will be a BUILD-PAC event, but plan to be here for some great good and drinks.  The raindate will be August 28.  Mark your calendar and more details will be provided in the future.  We will have a “peoples choice” award for cars and for motorcycles.

Webinar Wednesdays

Water Features and Landscape Architecture Webinar

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn more about water features and landscape architecture for single-family homes and communities. It will be held on Wednesday, July 30 from 2-3 p.m. ET.

This session will focus on top water and landscape architecture features that home buyers want to see when they purchase either a single-family custom home or buy into an entire community. In both cases, these features contribute to a resident’s positive sense of place by creating curb appeal in the public space and an intimate, enjoyable setting in their private space.  This is presented by the NAHB Land Use and Design and the Best in American Living Magazine.  Click here.