The Washington Post is reporting this morning that President Obama's jobs program will include amongst its many proposals more relief for struggling homeowners. The president will lay out the particulars of the proposals after Labor Day. Details are lacking at this point on housing, but I'm not getting my hopes up.
Photo: Ply Gem Windows’ Builder Series Pocket Door can span up to 12 feet and is just $400 for the base model.             If you missed the results of our annual 101 Best New Products report, I encourage you to check out our landing page for the 2011 winners,
In case you missed it in the news section of HousingZone, Fiserv and Moody's Analytics are predicting home prices will increase in 365 out of 384 metro areas by 2013. Here are what they're saying will be the top-five and bottom-five performers over the next two years. The best:
There's not much doubt where new construction sits these days -- bouncing along the bottom. The remodeling market, on the other hand, is a lot more difficult to get a read on.
I recently conducted several searches in both residential and commercial businesses in multiple states. The positions ranged from superintendents to heads of Pre-Construction and Construction roles.I started with each candidate by spending an average of 1.5 hours on the phone discussing experiences, backgrounds, personalities, likes and dislikes and strengths and developmental areas……No rocket science stuff, just give me the facts….After talking to a huge group of potential candidates, I narrowed down the pool to a critical few.
I am finishing up my September column for Professional Builder based on a list of the 10 biggest myths of Lean Building, and I just wrote about one of the most aggravating — the idea that Lean process savings don’t count like saving in sticks and bricks.
So, they said we needed change. They said it would get worse before it got better. They said unemployment is decreasing. They said the rate of foreclosures was decreasing. They said there were signs we were in recovery from the recession. Now they say we are heading for ANOTHER recession. Well, we got change. They were right. It certainly got worse and hasn’t gotten better.
A hotspot is a recurring problem, by focusing on the top ranking hotspot with corrective and preventive action they can be reduced or eliminated allowing you to move to addressing the next ranking issue. These might be the top issues of customer complaints or top construction defects for example. The only way to know where your problems lie is to establish metrics to monitor your key processes. When you have a problem don’t just put a band aid on it, it will come back!
Here are some interesting results from a 2011 survey by the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program. 
  Over my 30 years of working with senior leaders, I have seen the good the bad and the very ugly. It seems that any “C’ level person who has the privilege to put a “E” as their second letter in their title through a promotion automatically is hit with a cosmic ray from deep space that creates behavior that many times creates a lack of optimization in their workforce.   
Growing up near Detroit, I know that old plans are like old cars —sooner or later they start costing you more money than they are worth. It is tempting to hold onto a previous best seller and keep it in the system for no other reason than that you have the bugs worked out. The contracts are set, the variances are low, and the trades know what to do.
As I write this week’s blog on a plane from Detroit to Vegas, I happened upon an article in the Delta in-flight magazine about healthy eating and guess what? All the things we know about eating eggs and egg yolks, common knowledge learned during the 80’s and 90’s that persists to this day – are flat out wrong. Eggs do NOT raise your cholesterol. They are, in fact, a virtually perfect food, full of protein and raising HDL (good cholesterol) reducing LDL (bad cholesterol) and helping keep a steady blood glucose level.
When we talk about sustainable home building we focus on energy efficiency and green. But another level of sustainable building is ensuring that every component of the home was locally or at least Made in the USA!  A local builder in Bozeman MT did just that. Follow this link to the story.  
The SMART acronym is an excellent way to evaluate your goals and objectives. Are they Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely Specific  means that the goal is clear and unambiguous. You will need to consider the following.
For a little less than two years, I led the 15th largest real estate brokerage firm in the US. It was an interesting departure from the day to day of home building consulting and it provided a real eye opener on the true relationship that exists between the builder and its broker sales arm. I also had the opportunity to look deeply into other large and small broker organizations through MLS boards and close networking affiliations. Here’s what I discovered.
I’ll get right to the point. Today’s business owners have lost a huge amount of loyalty, commitment and productivity from their employees. Leaders in the construction industry since 2007 have seen hundreds of experienced personnel either leave our industry or desperately hold tight onto their jobs while having to assume a 25% to 50% increase in scope of work with a reduced amount of compensation. As I talk to many professionals in our industry daily, I hear this common theme.  “I am stressed, burned out and my boss only cares about himself”
During the housing boom, new products were being introduced into the home building market at a staggering rate.According to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (and oft-repeated by our columnist Mark Richardson), in a recent three-year period there were more products introduced than in the previous 100 years for the home building industry.
If you knew that were losing at least $5K per unit due to one single item of waste in your houses, would you do anything about it? How about $10K? The money is there, inarguable and undeniable, and we have the proof, yet a tiny percentage of builders understand it, let alone try to correct it. Even worse than that, most are afraid to confront it.
Disorganized and untidy job sites are covered with destroyed or damaged materials, reflect chaos between trades, reduce productivity and send the message to those homeowners beside and near your homes under construction just how their homes were built, not to mention are safety violation and injuries just waiting to happen. From another perspective, how much do you spend on marketing?


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