September 16th, 2013

Record Number of Markets Improving in September

Categories: Custom Builder News | Tags: , , ,

According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) on September 9, a record high of 291 metro areas were listed in the Improving Markets Index, or IMI. This shows a gain of 44 markets since August and is an all-time high for the IMI’s list since it was first used 2 years ago.

As a custom builder, what does this mean for you?

First, it means things are going well. The Improving Markets Index only includes metro areas whose markets have shown at least 6 months increase in each of the following categories: housing prices, housing permits issued, and employment growth. These figures are collected from Freddie Mac, the US Census Bureau, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, respectively.

Increased employment means individuals will have more income and perhaps be able to finally afford a custom home. Increased housing prices shows that homebuyers’ wallets are healthier and can afford custom. More housing permits means more development, and it’s a safe time to be expanding your builder business.

“Just over 80 percent of the 361 metros tracked by our index are showing consistent growth in three key measures of housing market strength – prices, permits and employment,” said National Association of Home Builders’ Chairman Rick Judson. Judson, a homebuilder himself, continued, “While there is still plenty of room for growth, this is an excellent indication of how the housing recovery has begun to take hold across more geographic areas.”

Indeed, the number of improving markets increased not in a single geographic isolated area, but across the country in cities like St. Cloud, Minnesota; Spokane, Washington; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Brownsville, Texas. Custom builders across the country can expect to see a continuation of the already-strong housing market.

“The dramatic increase in markets qualifying for the IMI in September was partly due to a recent improvement in the way that Freddie Mac measures home prices, which resulted in stronger gains than previously reported,” explained NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe. “Even so, the broadened list of metros on the IMI continues to demonstrate the slow but steady gains that individual housing markets are making to bolster the national outlook.”

A full list of the 291 improving markets can be viewed here.

August 29th, 2013

Find Your Custom Builder

Categories: Custom Homebuilders, Homebuilding | Tags: , , ,

If you’re on the hunt for a new custom home, you’ve come to the right place! Custom Builders is an online directory of the best homebuilders in locations across the United States and Canada.

However, it’s not an easy task choosing choose a builder when you’re looking at multiple impressive profiles at a time. We’ve come up with a short list to help you homebuyers select the right custom builder for your needs.

First, step back and figure out what your options are. Having financial and employment stability and determining a reasonable price range that will allow you to pay off a portion mortgage each month while still maintaining a comfortable lifestyle are very important things to take care of. After all, you can buy a custom home, but if you can’t afford any furniture, why bother?

Once you have your affairs in order and your finances figured out, take a look at the builders in your area by using Custom as a resource, along with a quick Google search of websites by homebuilders around your city.

Make a list of the companies that pique your interest and start researching each custom homebuilder individually. You’ll want to take note of locations where they build, warranty services they provide, standard features they include in each home, and the average price for their homes.

Rank your favorites from among these builders and start reaching out to them. This helps you two-fold: 1) it will allow you to get more information to make an educated decision, and 2) it will give you an impression of what to expect from them for customer service. If they are reluctant to provide you with information, never call back or reply to emails, and generally seem disinterested, that’s a red flag and you may want to focus your interest on a different company to build your new home.

When you contact these companies, ask about any model homes, check out their builder vendors and suppliers, and ask for any other detailed information you are interested in.

Your priorities should lie in quality and value, and the best way to get an accurate impression of a company’s homes is to talk to a few of their homeowners.

Word-of-mouth is one of the fastest, easiest ways to learn about a custom builder. If you have a friend, relative, or coworker who has gone with a builder you’re interested in, make sure to ask them how they like their home. If you don’t have any personal connections to a house built by a particular company, search for reviews on the internet or meet some potential future neighbors and knock on a few doors in a community where they’ve recently built.

What do you think is important to look for in a homebuilder? Leave us a comment below!


September 7th, 2012

How Co-construct Can Help

Categories: Homebuilding | Tags: , ,

As a custom builder, communication with your clients is absolutely crucial. And there’s a lot of it. There’s a lot of communication and paperwork in general – approving changes, notifying of delays, checking the weather, tracking purchase orders, the list goes on. Do you spend a lot of time handling these details? Do any ever fall through the cracks – annoying you, your workers, or your home buyers? Then Co-Construct’s builder software is really going to help.

The concept behind their program is have a software designed exclusively for the custom builder and remodeler that enables easy and instantaneous communication between all parties. For instance, their selection sheet is perfect for keeping selection decisions organized and clear. Each of the custom homes you’re building will have it’s own sheet containing color-coded choices. Organize, add, and delete deadlines, links, attachments, allowances, and a log of changes.

You can reuse and customize selections from previous projects or create new ones on the fly. Organize with your own custom categories (like faucets, paint, or trim) and allow your client to type in their own choice or select from a list given. You can add links and tips to show a client their options and offer your own advise. They’re able to immediately review and choose every feature being organized. That means prompt service for them and easy control for you.

The color-coding in the schedule means that no one forgets a deadline. And comments keep everyone’s notes together so that everyone stays informed (without the over-emailing). Keeping a budget in mind? Track allowance overages as they happen and assign to change orders if needed. That way you’re both assured of financial responsibility.

And in fact, there’s a whole additional section for tracking change orders and expenses. Create change orders from over-budget selection items or other changes, which are then approved online by you and the client. A running total shows them exactly where the budgets tands. That’s a real-time bottom line tally! That level of trust and customer service is going to have a big positive impact on your relationship.

Create change orders from a selection or scratch, starting with the contract price or the budget on cost-plus jobs. With the list readily available, click on any to view the details and approve them. Calculate markups as needed. You can even use PayPal to be paid online and track payments.

And these features are just two out of the many the program offers. With it’s easy  to use interface and multiplicity of features, you can see why Spencer Padgett of Arrisbrook Builders said that “This saves me $50,000 a year […] Plus, we use it with our prospects and we close 95% of the homes we go after. Clients love it.” Interested? Contact co-construct for a free demo!


August 10th, 2012

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

Categories: Homebuilding | Tags: , , , , , , ,

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.

April 25th, 2012

Highview Terrace by Clemens Companies

Categories: Custom Homebuilders | Tags: , , ,

R. M. Clemens Co. is a Dayton custom homebuilder with over 25 years of experience. Their Highview Terrace community offers a cozy home by Terrace Creek, in Bellbrook, Ohio.

Highview Terrace offers beautifully wooded estate lots. Many homes feature walk-outs and lovely views. These Bellbrook custom homes are zoned for the Sugarcreek Local school district.

Conveniently located near I-675, reach Highview Terrace by taking exist 7 (Wilmington Pk/Bellbrook) from I 675. Heading north on Wilmington Pk, turn right on Feedwire (1.1 mi) and then right on Little Sugarcreek (1.1 mi). Then just turn left on Terrace Creek.

There are four available homes in Highview Terrace, as well as three floorplans for a custom home in Bellbrook. The homes begin at $599k. For more information, contact Dayton custom homebuilder R. M. Clemens and they’ll be happy to assist you!

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