December 16, 2012

"Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year"

As December rolls to a close and the brand new year approaches with hope, let's take this moment to celebrate what we have in our lives and remember to enjoy our blessings. Most of our childhood holiday memories have taken place in our family homes growing up and continue today in our own homes building new memories with our families and friends.  
My thoughts also turn towards those that have helped our home building industry through volunteerism within our Federation during 2012. I am extremely grateful to all those people and hope to have even more members volunteer and contribute this upcoming new year. 

One of my favorite Christmas movies is called "It's a Wonderful Life" and I am always drawn to a line in the movie by George Bailey's father, Peter Bailey, who owns the fictional Bailey Brothers Building and Loan as he is describing to George his feelings about his chosen profession. The quote?  
 "You know, George, I feel that in a small way we are doing something important. Satisfying a fundamental urge. It's deep in the race for a man to want his own roof and walls and fireplace, and we're helping him get those things in our shabby little office."  
Satisfying a fundamental urge, providing homes for others, is what our industry has always done and will always do. Home building is a noble profession and, in my opinion, at this time of the year it is never more pronounced. Take the time to enjoy what you and your predecessors have helped to accomplish as a collateral benefit; helping to build memories.

I wish you all happiness, peace and prosperity and a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 
Association Maximization will return in January for an exciting New Year of articles.

December 9, 2012

NAHB's Value Proposition: "The Taste of Chocolate"

As most of you are aware The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has a resolution for a dues increase that will be discussed and voted upon at The 2013 International Builders Show, Las Vegas
As an active national volunteer for ten plus years, I see the great value of NAHB and my national dues, however the general members may not. Below is an article that I have written hoping to shine light on the national level of membership and help you, the grass roots member understand your total NAHB membership, from local though national.

NAHB's Value Proposition is in the eye of the beholder or, better yet, it's like....

"The Taste of Chocolate"

How would you describe chocolate to someone who has never tasted it before? How does the scent smell? How does it feel on your tongue? What does it taste like? Think about it; can you? I know I can't! I can't find the words that would deliver an accurate description.
Someone who has never tasted chocolate can never appreciate what it tastes like until the actual taste happens. This could be said for quite a few things or actions. How would you describe flying a plane? How would you describe the sensation of sky diving? The taste of scotch? Filet Mignon? Love? If someone has never experienced these items, how would you describe them? 

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is a lot like chocolate. How would an active national volunteer describe NAHB to a general member? Advocacy? Can't actually touch advocacy. Education; can you taste it? Legal and regulatory issues have no scent. 

The value of membership at the local HBA is a hands on experience, but if you never participated before, how would you know if it were beneficial. Locals struggle constantly with engaging the other 85-90% of membership to "taste" the local experience. The state HBAs? The same. In fact, when a general member, not actively engaged outside the local, is given a breakdown of dues they almost always state "I don't want to pay state OR national dues." I'm positive that if the general member were to be educated on their levels of membership they would understand IF a direct correlation were given to their personal income and growth.

"If 'it' affects builders, 'it' will affect associates" is not just a slogan or motto, it is reality. If associates need builders to be successful in order to generate profits, salaries and commissions then the HBA is a great investment and the money spent on your national dues is a great bargain. For builders, I would like you to figure out the amount of money it would take to aggressively protect your business. 

Below are the NAHB member actions performed by NAHB, your national dues in action. Click here for the full summary of each item and when you are done reading, truly absorbing how each point has helped you as a builder, think about how much money your national membership has saved you over the year.
  1. NAHB Advocacy Efforts Save Builders $7,250 per Housing Start in 2012. 
  2. Homeownership Campaign Reaches More than 30 Million Americans. 
  3. Taking the Lead to Ensure Appraisals Accurately Reflect Market Values.
  4. NAHB Saves Remodelers $412.6 Million.
  5. Fighting Onerous Regulations that Cost Builders Time and Money.
  6. Flood Insurance Win will Save Builders $2.42 Billion in 2013.
  7. Keeping Credit Flowing for Home Builders.
  8. Working with the Media to Boost Consumer Confidence in Housing.
  9. Making Sure Home Buyers Have Access to Affordable Mortgages.
  10. Work on Building Codes to Save Industry $2.36 Billion in 2013. 
  11. Supreme Court Win Could Save Money for those Seeking Wetlands Permits.
  12. NAHB Takes Fight for Property Owners to Highest Court in the Land.
  13. Top Notch Education at Below Market Values.
  14. GM Affinity Program Saves Members $2 Million.
  15. Networking Opportunities Boost the Bottom Line.
  16. Professional Designations Keep Builders a Step Ahead of the Competition.
  17. A Website That Meets the Needs of Members.
 These actions not only saved and/or made you money it helped to pay your local, state and national dues tenfold. Associates, remember this reality phrase "if 'it' affects builders, 'it' will affect associates?" Your opportunities to sell have vastly increased, whether you know it or not. Your local, state and national dues are your investment in your career. 

And, if the above wasn't enough of an incentive to appreciate your membership value click on this link for added Member Only Discounts that could certainly offset your yearly dues.

Like I wrote earlier, I can't describe chocolate to you if you have never tasted it. I can say, however, that to me it's delicious (as my waistline can attest). Most people know that delicious is all in the taste but if you don't try it for yourself you'll never know and you'll always wonder, if only slightly, what you may be missing. If you don't explore what NAHB has done for all its members, builder and associate, you'll never know the feeling of someone protecting you and helping you to grow, whether it's you personally or the company you own or work for. You'll always just assume that our industry is self protected. That is not reality and professionals work within reality. Are your membership dues worth paying? I don't know, I can't feel, taste and see what you're experiencing. I do know that what we are paying is an absolute fraction of what we would all be paying, or losing, if not for our COMPLETE NAHB membership, unless of course you plan not to be in the building industry.

The NAHB membership is in the wrapper; open it up and taste. What you are experiencing?

Submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP
Reality: it's something that never goes away.