December 2006 Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Change Order

CONVENTIONAL WISDOM HOLDS THAT BUILDERS ARE slow to change their ways of doing things—“glacial” is a word often heard when the pace of change in the housing industry is described. Read more

Early Birds Early Birds

Sometimes being fashionably late is cool—especially when you're an A-list celebrity—but there is something to be said for being early: Birds catch more worms; Black Friday shoppers get the best deals; and, because you are a BUILDER reader, you get the scoop on the cool stuff being introduced at next February's International Builders' Show. Read more

The Latino Market As Seen On TV

ROMANCE, JEALOUSY, GREED, BETRAYAL ... AND an explanation of prime versus sub-prime mortgages? These are the necessary ingredients for a killer made-for-TV drama about Hispanic life in the U.S. At least mortgage giant Freddie Mac is banking on it with the launch of Nuestro Barrio, a 13-episode Spanish-language mini-series that debuted this fall in select cable markets. Read more

Effluent Sales Spillover Sale

RECYCLED WATER, KNOWN AS effluent, has joined oil, gas, lumber, and real estate as commodities to be auctioned to the highest bidder. Read more

Improved Materials Carbon Copies

HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HAS STUMBLED on a system that could help build better homes: a carbon fiber–reinforced precast concrete panel. Read more

In Memoriam James Pugash 1951–2006

REAL ESTATE FINANCE PIONEER and philanthropist James Z. Pugash died on Sept. 20 at his Sonoma Valley, Calif., estate, following a battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 55. Read more

Sales Incentives Go the Extra Mile

FACED WITH HIGH LEVELS OF INVENTORY and contingency buyers and a sluggish resale market, builders are becoming increasingly creative in helping customers sell their existing homes. Read more

New Mortgage Rules

THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER OF the Currency has issued new guidelines to lenders regarding non-traditional mortgages, requiring them to fully explain the loans and ensure that borrowers qualify for the life of the loan and not just for the initial rate. Read more

The Straight Dope The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth Bum Rap

The rap on builders in Larimer County, Colo., is that development is a drain on community services and that new homeowners don't pay their fair share. Read more

Forced Retirement KB Probe Forced Retirement

KB HOME, THE INDUSTRY'S FIFTH-largest builder, accepted the retirement of its CEO and chairman, Bruce Karatz, after an investigation conducted by members of KB's board of directors concluded that he and two other senior-level officials were involved in a scheme to backdate stock option grants to increase Karatz's compensation. Read more

Top Shelf: December 2006

This month's top shelf products include Lutron wireless dimmers, Desa forced-air propane heaters, and the latest in furniture pulls from MNG Hardware. Read more

Team Effort

GREG NUTT, PRESIDENT OF SOUTHAMPTON Homes, is very clear about the demographic he's targeting with the AMX system that will come standard at Regency Estates, his new, 61-unit townhome project in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles, Ill., which is also where the builder is based. Read more

Raising the Bar

Buildtopia has finally delivered the sophisticated cost control, purchasing, and management features that builders have been looking for in its Web-based system. Read more

Easy View

SAGE SOFTWARE IS SHIPPING MASTER Builder Version 12, a new release of the popular software that offers builders an easy-to-view snapshot of their business. Jim Kinnier, product line general manager for Master Builder, says that now when builders click on the Master Builder icon on their desktops, the lead page shows updated business information. The specific parameters can be pre-set by the builder. Read more

Tech Tools: December 2006

- Nemetschek North America has releases version 12.5 of its VectorWorks CAD software. - BUILDER's 2006 IT Survey finds home builders poised to take advantage of information technology. Read more

Just Right Part Two Of A Two-part Series Just Right

House size is a tricky thing. Some folks want a feeling of space that's expressed in volume—soaring foyers, three-car garages, and cavernous master suites come to mind. Others, to quote Goldilocks, want spaces that are “just right,” with rooms that work for their particular lifestyle. Read more

Power On 50 Power On 50

What a difference two years makes. The industry has officially cooled since 2004, when BUILDER debuted its list of the 50 most influential people in home building. Builders who couldn't keep up with the demand for their product then are now scrambling to sell aging inventory. In 2004, home builders were a shining light in the economy. Read more

Direct Link Marketing With Technology Direct Link

In the spring of 2005, Taylor Woodrow's Irvine, Calif.–based Western region found itself “in a tighter box,” where it was being squeezed by competitors that are “smart and great at what they do,” and where buyers were having trouble telling the difference between Taylor Woodrow's product and everyone else's, says Mike Forsum, the region's president. Read more

Better Living Customer Service Better Living

About two years ago, Vienna, Va.–based Kettler (formerly known as KSI Services), one of greater Washington's largest developers, was looking for ways to enhance the buying and living experiences for residents of its rental and owner-occupied properties and communities. Read more

The X Factor Supply-Chain Management In New Markets The X Factor

It took C.P. Morgan Communities 18 months of research before it chose Charlotte, N.C., as its second home building market. But once it arrived in Charlotte, in January 2005, Morgan was ready to start cranking out houses almost immediately. Read more

Under Control Construction Efficiency Under Control

Walk a jobsite at Woodland Village—Lifestyle Homes' community 18 miles outside of Reno, Nev.—with Jon Delaurentis, the builder's former president, and he inevitably brings up how “clean” the site is: no wasted materials or equipment lying around, no mud being traipsed into houses under construction by contractors. Delaurentis notes in passing that subcontractors police the desert surrounding the construction area for loose debris. Read more

Friendly Persuasion Measuring Quality Friendly Persuasion

On a sunny afternoon in late August, Kent Olsen, an assistant supervisor for MBK Homes, warmly greets Felecia Ash at Briar Rose, the builder's neighborhood at Ladera Ranch in Mission Viejo, Calif. As MBK's quality assurance auditor, Ash is there to check out whether imperfections she spotted during a previous visit inside some homes near completion have been fixed. Read more

Change Agents

Innovation has altered the business models of four builders and one developer by raising their expectations about their performance and reconnecting them with their customers. Read more

The NAHB Research Center Corner Earthy Excellence

Rising energy costs and an increased focus on conservation have inspired more of today's home builders to incorporate technologies and features in their new homes that not only make the houses more comfortable, but also more energy efficient with less impact on the surrounding environment. Read more

Seiders Economy Holding the Reins

Home buyer demand fell dramatically after mid-2005 as deteriorating affordability conditions moved many prospective homeowners to the sidelines (or into rental housing) and declining prospects for price appreciation sent many investors/speculators scurrying away from the housing sector. Read more

From The President Now's the Time

Suppose you had exactly one minute to turn a “looker” into a “buyer.” What would you say? Would you talk about the quality of the homes you build, the upscale amenities you offer, or the community's great location, location, location? Under normal market conditions, any of those might close the sale. Read more

NAHB Briefs: December 2006

- Millions of homeowners could face higher taxes in 2011, unless Congress acts to repeal or reform the estate tax. - The Building Systems Councils of the NAHB releases a free publication as a resource for builders and buyers of panelized homes. - The president of Magleby Cos., is named the NAHB's first-ever Custom Home Builder of the Year. Read more

Cleveland Park, Washington Cleveland Park, Washington

CLEVELAND PARK WAS JUST FARMLAND WHEN GEORGE Washington decided to take a piece of Maryland for his new capital city. Construction on the new metropolis began almost immediately after the announcement, however, and Cleveland Park, located on the hills that skirted the city, suddenly became the ideal place for summer or country homes for those moving into town. Read more

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