Category: Homebuilding

August 10th, 2012

For custom home builders, the housing market is getting better all the time

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The housing market is steadily improving, the NAHB reports, which is great news for our custom builders. According to their newest IMI (Improving Market Index), 80 areas across 32 states are listed as an improving market. This includes 75 markets that retained their place on the list, as well as five new ones. Nine fell from the list, primarily due to slight movements in house prices.

If you’re a custom builder in Texas there’s very good news, as Lubbock was one of the five improved markets. So too were Miami and Palm Bay, Florida, Hinesville, Georgia, and Terre Haute, Indiana. See a full list of the IMI here. The IMI is designed to track housing markets showing signs of improving economic health, and to do so measures three sets of independent monthly data. Analyzed are the employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and housing permit growth from the U.S. Census Bureau. The NAHB uses this latest available data to create their list of improving markets; in order to be included, a metropolitan area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six months.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said, “The fact that we continue to see a strong core of metros showing up on the improving list each month adds to the growing evidence that the emerging housing recovery has a solid foundation on which to build as housing returns to its traditional role of driving economic growth.” Have you seen an improvement in the custom homes market in your area? Do you find that your  custom home buyers are feeling more confident as the general economy improves?

Kurt Pfotenhauer, vice chairman at First American Title Insurance Company, also said in the article, “With nearly one quarter of all U.S. metros currently designated as improving housing markets, there is growing recognition among consumers that now is an opportune time to consider a home purchase.” This is very encouraging news and we’re sure our custom builders will take full advantage of it. If you have any personal insight into your area’s improving market, we’d love to hear about it.

August 3rd, 2012

Patrician Village in Lenexa

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Are you searching for a new home in Kansas City? Be sure to take a look at Patrician Village in Lenexa, a great new community by Covenant Homes.

Patrician Village offers single-family homes with 4 bed rooms, 3.5 baths, and a 3- or 4-car garage. These Lenexa homes include 2,900 to 3,700 square feet of space.

Located in the highly rated Olathe school district, this neighborhood is convenient to area restaurants, shopping, and quick access to all parts of Kansas City.

To get to this community from K-10, head to K-7 Highway North, then continue to the Prairie Star Parkway and head west. Travel to McCormack and turn south, where you’ll find the neighborhood.

Homes in this neighborhood range from $300,000 to the mid $400,000’s.

Covenant Homes has been constructing impressive homes in the Johnson County area of Kansas City for more than 20 years. Their core values of quality craftsmanship, innovation in design, and providing the best in customer care has helped make them become renowned for their building services. If you’re ready to move in Lenexa, make Patrician Village your new home.

July 26th, 2012

Custom building and home builder software

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As a custom home builder, you’re in close contact with your home owners and your prospective home buyers. Have you heard about Lasso CRM? Their home builder software is designed exclusively for real estate sales and marketing professionals, delivering all the tools you need to manage your leads, build lasting client relationships, and convert more prospects to purchasers.

Lasso’s system comes with plenty of benefits, including a pay-as-you go system that includes free weekly updates, a strong training and support team, free webinars, and, of course, major returns on you investment. Their home builder software has five major features:

Lead Management: As a custom homebuilder, you’re investing a lot of money into marketing to generate interest and leads. Use Lasso and you won’t have to worry about losing those leads, and it makes managing them almost effortless. You can capture, distribute, and track every lead from your web registration page, model home kiosk, iPads and other tablets, as well as online directories. Every online lead will automatically receive a personal, themed email acknowledging their interest. And a notification is sent to your sales agent. With such fast and personal follow-up, you’ve the beginnings of a relationship.

The agent’s dashboard is designed uniquely for real estate selling: new leads by project, prospects by rating category, and there are auto alerts to prompt the day’s (and future’s) to-do’s. With Lasso you can focus on your home buyers and sales without worrying about the ‘administrivia’.

Convert Prospects: With Lasso you can schedule systematic follow-up process, including automatic alerts. The net result is more appointments and so more conversions. Prospect profiles are comprehensive and easily updated with all contact history and notes. Quick reference is available wherever you go, at the office or on the road.

Lead Intelligence: Lasso’s special Lead Intelligence program provides critical information into the unique buying interests and preferences of your leads. Sales agents are also instantly alerted whenever prospects return to your website; follow-up is timely, personal, and tailored to their most recent interests. Lasso will pinpoint which media is delivering the best leads by source and publication. That way you can gauge the results of campaigns and media spending, moving around your budget to best maximize ROI.

Email Marketing: Naturally email marketing is built right into Lasso’s CRM. You can easily create and send professional mass mail campaigns to potential homebuyers and realtors, without the cost of external email providers. Target your email campaigns with any desired criteria, like sales rating or last visit. Lasso offers industry-specific templates to convey your project identity, home features, plan types, and more. Their system will even let you confirm RSVP’s and allow registrants to update their profile online. There’s real-time reporting on open rates, click-throughs, and forwards; effortlessly resend to all those who didn’t view the prior mailing.

Realtor Communications:  Do external realtors and brokers play a significant role in connecting home buyers to your new projects? With Lasso you can maintain the same level of communication with them as you would potential home buyers. With their realtor database you can track and manage your brokers, and alert them to upcoming project launches, open houses, and community events. It’s also a great tool to pinpoint the top performing external brokers.

Purchaser Tracker: Tired of spreadsheets? Reduce costly errors and save time and money with a single CRM database to view and track everything: all deal activity, inventory, pricing, and contracts. You can also prepare purchaser activity, broker assignments, deposits due, escrow amounts, and payment information. Use Lasso’s home builder software to automatically populate professional contracts to present to purchasers. It’s an easy way to create options and upgrade packages, plus will keep important documents in one place for easy reference. You’ll have digital storage of contracts, galleries, and floor plan ideas to offer your custom home buyer.

Reporting:  Lasso’s system has a variety of comprehensive reports: standard traffic, sales activity, purchaser and financial reports. All can be personalized to your vernacular and downloaded for presentations or offline analysis. They also design and develop custom reports for your unique operations. All of this information is easily available for informed decision making. Lasso supports industry standards like CSV and XML, so data can be easily exported for external reporting or integration requirements.

For a full list of Lasso’s home builder software features, check here.

As a custom home builder, you deserve custom software – programs adapted to your exact needs that empower you to turn potential custom home buyers into happy home owners. Lasso’s home builder software can make that happen.

June 27th, 2012

How To Pick Your Perfect Builder

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If you’re contemplating building a custom home, there are several key factors to review before choosing a builder.

Be sure to ask around for references and recommendations for builders and remodelers. Family, friends, and acquaintances can be a great resource, especially if they have first-hand experience; an even better place to check would be with your local home builders association.

You can also check to see if a respective builder has a permanent location for their business and is in good standing with suppliers and area banks. The Better Business Bureau is another good source to review for any complaints against a particular builder.

Most custom builders take 5 or more years to truly establish their presence in the market and to gain financial stability. This is important for any warranties they promise on a home because if the company goes bankrupt before the warranty is up, they may not be able to follow through on the guarantee. You will want to check to see if they have liability insurance to cover any accidents that may occur on site.

You can ask a builder to provide you with names previous clients; be cautious if they decline, and if they do give you names try to contact them to discuss their experience with the builder. It’s also a good idea to ask to see a current project site the builder is working on; check for safety issues and material quality.

Get to know your potential builder. Make sure you feel comfortable with them and try to get a feel for how effective their communication skills are. Research their website a bit and try to get a feel for what kind of work they have the most experience with; some builders specialize in a particular architectural style.

Once you’re ready to compare contracts and looking to accept a bid, there are a few more considerations to keep in mind. Make sure any contract you are asked to sign is written clearly and is free of grammatical errors and review the home warranty and homeowner manual as well. Cross-reference these documents to ensure consistency. If a builder offers you an unusually low bid, take caution; if they are unable to buy the appropriate materials and cover the cost of labor, you will end up with sub-par work.

Though the task of choosing the perfect builder for your custom home may seem daunting, these simple guidelines will help you make that tough decision. Your ideal dream home is absolutely possible with the right custom builder.

For more information regarding this issue, check out the NAHB Builder Checklist.


June 19th, 2012

June’s Improving Housing Market

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80 metros are listed as improving housing markets this June. Which is good news for our custom home builders! According to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), the list includes 28 new entrants plus at least one representative from 31 different states.

The IMI identifies areas that have improved in employment, housing permits, and housing pricing for at least six months. A metropolitan area must see improvement in all three areas for at least those six months before being included in the index. For this month’s index 52 areas held their spots, with 48 slipping from the list but 28 being added. This includes our custom home builders in Dallas, as well as Grand Junction, Colorado and Knoxville, Alabama as notable areas.

“Though today’s IMI reflects a decline in the number of improving markets from May, the list continues to show significant geographic diversity, with 31 states represented and roughly one quarter of all U.S. metros included,” said NAHB Chairman Barry Rutenberg, a home builder from Gainesville, Fla. Noted NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe added, “[T]he fact that multiple new areas are showing up on the list each month is encouraging, and highlights the degree to which local economic and job market conditions are what drive individual housing markets.” For more information, see the NAHB article here.

As the market improves, have you been seeing more interest in your custom homes? If you’re in one of those 80 metro areas – and if you’re not – it’s a good time to think about your custom home builder marketing. And whether you’re interested in a new website, a mobile site, or SEO, we can help you. Along with your listing here, have you considered a listing at Top Ten Builders? Right now we’re offering a double deal package; sign up for your listing Custom Builders and you can also start a listing on Top Ten for free! That’s for our ground pricing, a lowered cost for first-comers that you’ll be locked into regardless of price increases. Let us know if you’re interested.

June 7th, 2012

Madison Ridge of Grey Oaks by Prieb Homes

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Are you looking for a new home in Shawnee, Kansas? Don’t pass up an opportunity to live in Madison Ridge of Grey Oaks, a new home community by home builder Prieb Homes.

Madison Ridge of Grey Oaks is conveniently located between I-435 and Highway 7, just north of Shawnee Mission Parkway. Members of this community will find themselves close to the Mid American Sports Complex, Kansas Speedway, downtown Kansas City, and Corporate Woods.

Those living in this neighborhood will enjoy a pool and cabana, covered picnic areas with grills, and perimeter stone and wrought-iron fencing. Children living in Madison Ridge will attend school in the award-winning DeSoto District. The homes themselves feature spectacular prairie and craftsman style detailing and are two stories.

To get to Madison Ridge north on Hwy  7, take Johnson Drive east one block to Woodsonia Drive. Head south on 57th Street and the models will be on the corner.

Homes in Madison Ridge start in the low $300,000 price range.

Prieb Homes is a family-owned, 3rd generation home builder serving the Kansas City area, based in Olathe. They offer a variety of floor plans and prices to suit any family’s need and have built nearly 2,000 homes. Madison Ridge of Grey Oaks can be your new home today.

April 11th, 2012

Houston home sales best in the country

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According to the latest forecast, Houston is going to top the country in new home sales this year!  The Dallas News reports predictions for new home sales in the city as topping 12,000 units in 2012. And that’s very good news for our custom home builders.

As a luxury custom homebuilder in Houston, Bella Vita offers the finest subcontractors, suppliers, and artists for custom homebuilding in Houston. They have twelve communities for Houston custom homes. Having sold over $77 million in custom homes, Bella Vita is dedicated to superb quality with efficiency.

Another luxury custom homebuilder in Houston, WhiteStone Custom Homes calls their style “Practical Luxury”™. They have a unique design/build process that can put you in your new Houston custom home in as little as sixth months after the day you walked into their model. WhiteStone has seven communities for custom homes in Houston.

Grand View Builders is a custom homebuilder in Houston dedicated to affordable custom homes with interior beauty and exterior style. They have sixteen communities in the area, from the $90’s to the $240’s. Their features include a very successful Build on Your Lot program.

J. Patrick Homes builds custom homes in Houston in some of the finest master-planned communities. They have twelve new home communities as well as ten move-in ready homes in Houston. Their homes feature wide-open views, spacious rooms, and versatile floor plans they are happy to customize.

A Graduate Master Builder, the highest designation available on the State or National level, Keystone Classic Homes is a custom homebuilder in Houston who specializes in the move up and move down buyer market. They have nine communities open for custom homes in Houston. And they offer over 30 foorplans to choose from, ranging 1900 sq. ft. to over 5000 sq. ft, with three decades of experience as a Houston custom homebuilder.

With the market forecast so promising, Houston custom homebuilders are ready for a great year.


April 11th, 2012

Improving market for Dallas custom homes

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The NAHB releases their improving market list this month. This index identifies metropolitan areas which housing markets show measurable improvement. Dallas has improved in housing permits, employment, and house prices for more than six consecutive months. So it’s a great time for custom homebuilding in Dallas. Dallas custom homebuilders are assured of a market holding steady, with consistent improvement.

As a luxury custom homebuilder in Dallas, Bella Vita offers the finest subcontractors, suppliers, and artists for custom homebuilding in the Dallas/Ft Worth area. They have fourteen communities for Dallas custom homes, including Highland Park and The Creeks at Preston Hollow.

Shaddock Homes is another luxury custom homebuilder in Dallas, with over 40 years of experience. They’ve earned a reputation for distinctive designs, superior craftsmanship, and homeowner satisfaction in Dallas custom homebuilding. They have nine communities for Dallas custom homes, from the $300’s to the high $600’s.

American Legend Homes offers a wide variety of custom homes in Dallas, including move-in ready, single-family, low maintenance garden homes, and luxury townhomes. Priced from the $170s to $600s, this Dallas custom homebuilder is dedicated to innovative design and unparalleled customer service. They have fifteen communities for Dallas custom homes, including the fast selling Royal Oaks.

Since 1957, Sandlin Custom Homes has been building custom homes in Dallas, family-owned and operated and the winner of multiple awards. They have twenty communities for custom homes in Dallas, from the $130’s to the $400’s. As a Dallas custom homebuilder, Sandlin concentrates on innovative homes that have superior quality for exceptional value.

Another great Dallas custom homebuilder is Cheldan Homes. They are focused on just one rule: to make creating, buying, and building your new home simple. They are an extreme green builder, for economic, health, and environmental benefits. These efforts also improve the general community, important for custom homes in Dallas. They have eight communities in the area, including Arbor Heights. Their Dallas custom homes offer world-class client care, during and for long after your home purchase.

The security and growth of the Dallas home market is a very good sign for both custom homebuilder and custom home buyer alike.

March 27th, 2012

J. Patrick Homes in newly open Parc Lake Estates

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Looking for a custom home in Houston, Texas? J. Patrick Homes is now building in Parc Lake Estates. Off highway 249, Parc Lake is a gated, enclave lakeside community. With waterfront lots and a forested backdrop, Parc Lake offers comfort and convenience. Walking and nature trails overlook a community park with a gazebo and pier atop the lake. Nearby amenities include the Willowbrook Mall, Cypress Creek YMCA, and three golf courses, including Blackhorse Ranch. There is easy access to Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, North Cypress Medical Center, and Cy-Fair Hospital, and Parc Lake is inside the Cy-Fair high school and Hamilton middle and elementary school zones.

J. Patrick has two move-in ready homes in Parc Lake and 15 available plans starting in the 350’s. They are also happy to customize any floor plan, which are well known for their spacious rooms and wide-open views. J. Patrick is leader amongst Houston homebuilders for their commitment to design, quality, and luxury.

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