LHBA Blog

It Pays to be an NAHB Member

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Since we last reported at the International Builders’ Show, NAHB has been busy delivering value to you every day. Our top priority is to serve the needs of our members by providing educational opportunities, fighting for the housing industry on major issues to help your businesses thrive, and saving you money wherever possible.

Recently, we reported that NAHB’s actions on the legislative, regulatory, codes and legal fronts ended up saving the typical home builder roughly $7,250 per housing start in 2012. You can read a detailed explanation of the cost savings here.

NAHB has steadily built on that impressive achievement in the past few months to provide even more bang for your membership buck.

Below is a summary of action items that outline the steps that NAHB is taking to further save builders money and help with their day-to-day operations. I encourage you to take a few moments and click on the links for a more detailed overview.

Below is a summary of action items that outline the steps that NAHB is taking to further save builders money and help with their day-to-day operations. I encourage you to take a few moments and click on the links for a more detailed overview.

NAHB-supported stormwater court ruling could save Va. taxpayers $300 million. NAHB helped strike down another attempt at regulatory overreach in January when a U.S. District Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency cannot set limits on the amount of stormwater allowed to run into a stream or other body of water. NAHB and two Virginia industry groups joined in the Commonwealth’s lawsuit against the EPA, which had issued a Total Maximum Daily Load for the Accotink Creek, a Potomac River tributary. NAHB and its industry allies argued that the agency could not use flow as a measure for TMDLs – especially when the flow is rainwater, which EPA doesn’t have the authority to regulate. The judge agreed. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the ruling could ultimately save Virginia small businesses and taxpayers more than $300 million. The ruling will also discourage the agency from pursuing similar limits on stormwater discharge in other areas of the country.

NAHB members saved more than $1 million at the 2013 IBS. Our members saved $1.09 million on registration at the 2013 International Builders’ Show over non-member pricing. In fact, for many of the approximately 17,000 of our members who attended the IBS and 5,000 who participated in the show’s educational programming, the money they saved on registration fees easily surpassed the cost of their NAHB membership. That’s just one of many ways that NAHB’s membership pays for itself — and it doesn’t even begin to factor in the priceless networking opportunities that IBS attendees enjoy.

Illinois builders save $6,300 per home with defeat of fire sprinkler mandate. NAHB provided financial and technical assistance to help Illinois home builders mount a quick and effective campaign last month to defeat the state fire marshal’s plan to mandate fire sprinklers in new single-family homes. The effort saved the Prairie State home builders $6,300 on the cost of each new home. NAHB argued for the use of smoke detectors, which is a safer and cost-effective alternative. HBA of Illinois EO Bill Ward was quick to credit NAHB Construction, Codes and Standards and State and Local Government staff for much-needed technical expertise and a grant to help fund a survey demonstrating that an overwhelming 83 percent of voters don’t want fire sprinklers mandated in existing homes and 69 percent don’t want them in new ones, either.

NAHB actions on 25C tax credit support 140,000 remodeling jobs. Thanks in large part to the efforts of NAHB, remodelers this year will be able to take advantage of the Existing Home Retrofit Tax Credit (25C). The 25C tax credit provides consumers a tax credit of up to $500 for the purchase of qualifying energy-efficient products. The 25C tax credit supported almost 140,000 jobs in remodeling in 2009. Government data indicates that the tax credit will support an estimated $4.08 billion of remodeling in 2013 with a typical energy-efficient remodeling project costing a little more than $2,800. NAHB estimates that nearly 18 percent of these remodeling projects would not have occurred without the credit. Thus, the extension of the 25C credit for 2013 will result in an additional $727 million in remodeling for the industry. Following a year-end push by NAHB, the 25C tax credit was retroactively renewed by Congress through 2012 and extended through the end of this year.

ICC building code wins could save builders more than $42,000 on the cost of a new home. At the latest ICC Committee Action Hearings that pertained to the 2015 code editions, NAHB members and staff painstakingly examined more than 2,000 code proposals and their impact on building safety and cost effectiveness. Out of 750 code change proposals on which we took a stand, NAHB scored a successful outcome on 596 – for about an 80 percent success rate. Though the fight is far from over, this excellent work positions us very well for upcoming Final Action Hearings on the 2015 code change proposals this October. Here’s what’s at stake: If NAHB is successful on all the code change proposals that we either support or oppose, the total construction savings would be more than $42,000 per house. To learn how you can help educate your local building code officials, you can access our builder action kit at nahb.org/2015codes.

NAHB designations can significantly boost a builder’s or remodeler’s bottom line. Information from the most recent NAHB Builder Member Census reveals that members who have earned NAHB professional designations make more money than their counterparts in the business who haven’t earned designations. According to the survey, members holding:

The Graduate Master Builder (GMB) designation had company revenues that averaged $1.61 million more last year than those without an NAHB builder designation.

The Certified Graduate Builder (CGB) designation had company revenues that averaged $990,189 more.

The Certified Green Professional™ (CGP) designation had company revenues that averaged $824,124 more.

The Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR) designation had company revenues that averaged $506,414 more than those without an NAHB remodeler designation.

The Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation had company revenues that averaged $110,838 more. (Note: These figures are based on the median 2012 revenue reported in the NAHB 2012 Builder Member Census.)

45L tax credit provides home builders $77 million in tax savings. NAHB led the charge on Capitol Hill so that builders will be able to take advantage of the New Energy Efficiency Home Tax Credit (45L) in 2013. The 45L credit provides builders with a $2,000 tax credit for the sale of homes that achieve a 50 percent improvement in energy efficiency over the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code. Following a year-end lobbying blitz by NAHB, Congress acted to retroactively renew the 45L tax credit through 2012 and extend the credit through the end of this year. In 2013, home builders who are able to utilize the 45L tax credit will receive an aggregate of  $77 million in tax savings, according to estimates from the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation.

NAHB 20 Club members double their profits. A recent analysis by NAHB shows that on average, 20 Club members double their net profit in their third year of membership in this program. Offering unparalleled networking opportunities, the NAHB 20 Clubs are comprised of similar type builders or remodelers from non-competing markets who meet several times a year to share their wisdom and learn from each other ways to improve their operations and increase their bottom lines. Statistics indicate that 20 Club members perform better than non-members in financial growth and long-term success.

Expert free legal advice saves members more than $225,000. During the past six months, NAHB lawyers with years of Washington legal experience have fielded more than 450 calls from members seeking information on a variety of legal concerns, including contracts and liability, labor and subcontractor issues, trade association issues, mechanics liens, and more. A comparable one-hour session with a Washington attorney could cost a builder well over $500 an hour. Looking at this another way, in just one hour of their time, NAHB members who took advantage of this free legal service more than offset the cost of their national annual dues. Other NAHB legal services designed exclusively for NAHB members include a free review of local ordinances and the Legal Action Fund, which helps members and HBAs to defray high litigation costs.

New map tool for endangered species saves members $1,500 in consulting fees. NAHB’s interactive species finder mapallows members to search by state and county to determine the status of the more than 1,400 species currently protected by the ESA as well as the status of 700 additional species whose listings are now in the planning stages. According to NAHB’s Member Census, 5,246 builder members were engaged in land development in 2012. Before the advent of this tool, members would need to hire a NatureServe database specialist at an approximate cost of $1,500 to perform a preliminary search to determine whether there are any federally protected species on their land. Based on the assumption that the new tool allows each member to save the cost of one search per year, the total annual savings for our members is $7.9 million (5,246 x $1,500 = $7.9 million).

Leading the fight to save property owners money. NAHB led a coalition of 16 prominent real estate and business organizations in filing an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court that explained why it is neither necessary nor fair for governments to extort money from property owners who wish to use their land. In a major victory for NAHB’s members and property rights advocates, the Supreme Court agreed when on June 25 it issued a landmark decision in the case of Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. The decision overturns a Florida Supreme Court ruling that would have given governments expanded power to force unreasonable exactions upon developers in exchange for a permit approval, and it means that federal, state and local regulators will need to exercise more caution to ensure that permitting demands — including monetary demands — are proportionate to the project at hand. It is difficult to put a dollar value on the outcome since it depends on how many members challenge unreasonable exactions and win those challenges. But NAHB has confirmed reports of one developer saving $150,000 after pointing out the Supreme Court’s decision to a local jurisdiction that was making monetary demands as a condition of permit approvals.

NAHB Member Advantage saved members $3.4 million in first half of 2013. Member Advantage gives members an easy way to reduce expenses, maximize profits and increase efficiency. Through agreements with leading national companies, such as General Motors, Lowe’s and TransFirst, NAHB offers exclusive discounts on a variety of products and services that can benefit your business, employees and family. Members have already saved approximately $3.4 million this year.  For the most up-to-date information about which companies are offering discounts as well as detailed information on how to access the savings, please visit nahb.org/ma.

Members saved more than $15,000 shopping with BuilderBooks this year. NAHB BuilderBooks exists to help members to grow their business and maximize their profits. BuilderBooks publishes books that have been specifically created to help members streamline their daily operations, better serve their new and existing customers, develop new strategies to safeguard their jobsites and, ultimately, build and sell more homes. Jobsite Safety Handbooks have been used on jobsites across the country helping members save up to $7,000 for a single safety violation. Residential Construction Performance Guidelines, a valuable warranty tool, helps builders and remodelers manage customer expectations, prevent and resolve customer complaints, and explain how the home should perform during the warranty period. This publication provides a basis to evaluate construction results and resolve disputes between contractors and owners.

Court strikes down NLRB poster rule. In a victory for NAHB, two separate federal court decisions announced in May and June struck down a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that would have required millions of employers across the nation to place 11-inch by 17-inch posters in a prominent area in their workplace that informs employees of their right to form a union. The court ruled that the NLRB overstepped its authority when it issued the poster rule, which deemed failure to display the required notice an unfair labor practice. NAHB is a member of the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which was a party to the case. NAHB and other business organizations maintain that the poster rule violated free speech rights of employers and amounted to little more than advertisements for union membership. The two strong Court of Appeals decisions mean that the poster rule is likely dead. Although it is difficult to quantify the effect of NAHB’s court victory on unionization, most small business owners would agree there are clearly disadvantages to operating a union shop. Most notably, union wages and benefits are often much higher. In the April 2013 issue of Monthly Labor Review, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that wages are $3.51 an hour higher and benefits are $7.11 an hour higher in union shops. Union contracts may also harm worker productivity, making it difficult to reward exceptionally good performance or effectively discourage and rectify job performance that is subpar.

Helping builders to comply with OSHA fall protection regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) began enforcing new, more stringent fall protection regulations on March 15. NAHB has been working diligently to ensure that builders are fully aware of the updated policy and know how to comply with the new rules in order to eliminate workplace hazards, boost worker safety and avoid costly fines.

Health care employer mandate delayed one year. In a victory for NAHB members, the Obama Administration announced on July 2 that it will delay until 2015 implementation of the rule under the Affordable Care Act that requires businesses employing more than 50 full-time workers to provide health care coverage or pay a fine. With this provision of the health-care law scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, NAHB fought for a delay to give businesses more time to adjust to the new rules. In a letter to the Treasury Department, NAHB said “the employer community needs additional time to properly analyze their workforce and negotiate their plan designs for 2014.” Employers with fewer than 50 full-time employees are not required to provide health care coverage to their employees. Since the health care law is so complex and many statutes have yet to be implemented, we are unable to estimate the monetary savings to members resulting from this action. However, NAHB has compiled an FAQ exclusively for members to provide information on what they need to know regarding the health care law.

Housing a congressional priority. More than 800 builders marched on Capitol Hill for NAHB’s annual Legislative Conference on June 5 to call on Congress to maintain essential housing tax incentives such as the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit that are vital for our businesses, industry and the economy and your businesses. We also educated lawmakers about our positions with regard to immigration legislation that’s on the move in Congress now, talked about the absolute need to maintain a federal backstop to the mortgage market and the need to advance legislation in both chambers that would ease the credit crunch for housing production loans. Further, we called on lawmakers to co-sponsor NAHB-supported bills pending in both chambers that would reform lead paint rules. Among other things, the legislation would restore the opt-out provision for homes in which no small children or pregnant women reside.

Here is what some members had to say about the Legislative Conference. “There is power in numbers to go to Capitol Hill as a group and present the concerns of our industry to federal lawmakers.” Another added that even though he lives three miles from his congressman, he doesn’t get the chance to sit down with him to discuss the issues that matter to his business. “The NAHB Legislative Conference gives me that opportunity,” he said.
We also had several prominent politicians speak to our members at our legislative briefing and Executive Board meeting. These included Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) as well as Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Andy Barry (R-Ky.). Those lawmakers didn’t just show up at our meetings because they had nothing better to do that week. There were there in recognition of the tremendous importance of home building to the national economy and of the significant clout that your national association commands in Washington.

In a June 8 address to the NAHB Board of Directors in Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed solidarity with NAHB and cited the need to reform the U.S. housing finance system, keep a lid on FHA mortgage insurance premiums and secure additional funding for multifamily lending.
We also had several prominent politicians speak to our members at our legislative briefing and Executive Board meeting. These included Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) as well as Reps. Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Andy Barry (R-Ky.). Those lawmakers didn’t just show up at our meetings because they had nothing better to do that week. There were there in recognition of the tremendous importance of home building to the national economy and of the significant clout that your national association commands in Washington.
In a June 8 address to the NAHB Board of Directors in Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed solidarity with NAHB and cited the need to reform the U.S. housing finance system, keep a lid on FHA mortgage insurance premiums and secure additional funding for multifamily lending.
In a June 8 address to the NAHB Board of Directors in Washington, D.C., U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan expressed solidarity with NAHB and cited the need to reform the U.S. housing finance system, keep a lid on FHA mortgage insurance premiums and secure additional funding for multifamily lending.

Builders and remodelers take center stage on Capitol Hill. The day before the Legislative Conference, Texas home builder Edward Martin, Texas remodeler William Shaw and I had the opportunity to testify before Congress at a hearing devoted exclusively to the importance of the housing industry. Together, we urged lawmakers to address onerous regulations, a shortage of skilled workers and uncertainty regarding tax reform, among other issues. Most organizations are rarely afforded the opportunity to testify on Capitol Hill, but this marked the eighth time this year that an NAHB member, Senior Officer or staff member was afforded that privilege.

NAHB introduces Advocacy App for smartphones. The free NAHB Advocacy App for iPhone, iPad and Android mobile devices brings the ability to participate in key lobbying activities straight to your fingertips, making it super-easy to add your powerful voice to those of your fellow home builders, remodelers and associates as we fight to improve the climate in which our members do business. The app offers talking points on various housing issues, a directory of congressional contacts, live Twitter updates and social media sharing, and much more. Over the next few months, it will be expanded and regularly updated to provide real-time news updates, legislative alerts and more.

Fighting to maintain a reliable supply of building materials at affordable prices. Working with Congress, encouraging lumber and OSB producers to increase output, and taking our case to the media, NAHB is fighting on all fronts to ensure our members can obtain critical building materials at a reasonable price. Testifying before Congress on behalf of our association, NAHB member Justin Wood on April 11 registered NAHB’s support for the Restoring Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act. This legislation would encourage increased production on federal timber lands and “will go a long way toward helping rebuild the supply chain and reviving local mills and timber companies, while ensuring the continued recovery of the housing industry,” he said. NAHB’s actions have helped to bring prices down in recent weeks. To protect our members against price volatility, NAHB’s legal team has developed an escalation clause for home contracts to help our members deal with price hikes.

NAHB helps minimize construction liability costs. Structural claims cost an average of $42,000 to investigate and repair and 25 percent of all U.S. homes will experience some structural distress over their lifetime. NAHB works on behalf of its members to minimize construction-related builder liability issues by providing resources on the latest technical, legal and business issues affecting the industry. For example, the Common Code Violations Survey, a free new resource offered exclusively to NAHB members, spotlights common issues that are flagged by code officials during construction. This helps builders and remodelers to minimize the risk and cost of liability from potential errors and to improve the quality of construction and the overall satisfaction of their customers.

NAHB, NKBA sign agreement expanding members’ educational opportunities. Earlier this year, NAHB and the National Kitchen and Bath Association announced an agreement that will make it easier for individuals who hold builder and remodeler professional designations to take advantage of continuing education opportunities from both groups. This will encourage even more home builders, professional remodelers and kitchen designers to take advantage of the excellent training and education offered by both associations. This news comes on the heels of January’s announcement that the NAHB International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) will join forces for a mega-exhibit in Las Vegas Feb 4-6, 2014. So far, exhibit sales are up 16 percent over last year, and more than 60 companies that had left the show during the downturn have returned, as we noted in a recent press release reporting the expanding exhibitor base.
To stay informed about the latest actions that NAHB is taking on your behalf, I urge everyone to take a moment and look at theMonday Morning Briefing and Washington Update when they are delivered to your inbox. The two reports provide an excellent summary of the key issues and news affecting our industry, our membership and your livelihood.

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Spotlight on Associates: 2012 CGA of the Year Michael LeCorgne

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Michael LeCorgne, a risk management specialist with 2-10 Home Buyers’ Warranty, is a 30-year veteran of home building industry who holds the Certified Graduate Associate (CGA), Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Certified Green Professional™ (CGP) and Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) designations.

Previously honored by two local associations and the Louisiana Home Builders Association as the Associate of the Year, LeCorgne received national recognition as NAHB’s 2012 CGA of the Year at the 2013 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.

In other words, LeCorgne is a true believer in the value of NAHB designations from a business and marketing standpoint. “I wouldn’t have four designations if I didn’t think so,” LeCorgne said.

But LeCorgne would like to see thousands more building industry professionals who see the value in designations. He challenges local associations to provide their members opportunities to earn NAHB designations.

“I think HBAs have the opportunity to lead the way by offering education,” LeCorgne said. “As the home building industry is changing, we must demonstrate that we are professionals. Consumers are smarter; there’s a lot more information out there among today’s home buyers. It’s our responsibility as building professionals to be more knowledgeable and up-to-date on where the industry is today as well as emerging trends.”

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The Advantages of Purchasing A New Home

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Buying a new home is one of the smartest purchases you can ever make.

1. Tax Implications: One of the main reasons is that homeownership has many positive tax implications. Because of changes to the tax code passed in 1997, these tax implications are much more favorable for most homeowners today than in the past. Additionally, first time buyers also benefit from a special provision which allow them to withdraw up to $10,000.00 from their IRA accounts if the money is used for a down payment on a home – penalty free.
2. Warranties: New homes usually come with a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials. Under the Louisiana Home Owners Warranty Law, new homes are also warranted for two years for mechanical (heating/cooling, electrical, etc.) and five years for structural/foundation. New homes also include manufacturers’ warranties on appliances, heating/cooling units and many others.

3. Low Maintenance Costs: New homes come with everything new, including appliances, carpeting and other features. People who buy older homes could find themselves paying for maintenance, repair and replacement from the day they move in. And most new homes come with siding, windows and trim that require little maintenance, saving their owners much hassle and expense.

4. Energy Efficient: New homes consume half as much energy as homes built prior to 1980. New homes have better windows, better heating and cooling equipment, better air filtration systems and better insulation. Energy efficiency benefits the environment, your health and your wallet.

5. Safety Features: Better heating systems, built-in smoke detectors, better equipped electrical power systems and better wiring systems all decrease the risk of fire in a new home. And new homes come with features such as safety glass, that reduces the risk of injury.

6. Low and Simplified Financing Opportunities: There is a broad range of affordable financing options.

7. Low Interest Rates: In 2002, interest rates are lower than ever. There was never a better chance than now to get the best “bang for your buck”. Affording your dream home is now easier than ever before.

8. Value: New homes have a long life expectancy; therefore, they have higher appraisal and more favorable resale values than older homes.

9. Health: Much has been learned about the health risks of certain home building products in recent years. For example,
asbestos and lead have been eliminated in building materials. New systems for controlling radon gas where it is a problem can now be installed.

10. Others: Home Site Selection, Light-enhancing and spacious floor plan options, a choice of interior and exterior finishing, amenities galore and size are just a few other pluses to add to this list.  But more than anything, the pride of new home ownership should really be at the top of this list. Purchasing a new home is the single largest investment most people will make in their entire life. Take your time to look at all of the selections, consider all of your financing options, decide on your location preference and then make your move into your new home and enjoy!