December 1, 2016

It's Christmas Time

My favorite holiday is only 24 days away. It's this time of the year that Association Maximization closes up shop and settles in for a month of HBA installations, company Christmas parties and of course, family and friends.
We have a lot to think about as 2017 comes roaring in and we leave 2016 behind. An exciting year, to say the least but we move forward. Enjoy this time of the year, enjoy your loved ones and remember all those who no longer are with us physically but remain in our hearts spiritually.

I want to leave you all with a re-posting of a Christmas message I published a few years back; enjoy.


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.

November 17, 2016

Time to be Thankful

Thanksgiving is a week away and with it the Holiday Season begins. We all have our private thoughts on what brings each of us to being thankful after another year in our lives comes to an end. 
The important point to keep clear is that you are thankful. Never take for granted the things in your life that make up your life. Enjoy the air that you breath and the love of those that care about you. Fondly remember those that were here but now live in our memories and be thankful that you had them in your life, no matter the duration.

Be cognizant of the reality that life certainly is fleeting and that you should take moments within every day to say "thank you" and be as kind as possible to those around you. Hug your family, reach out to friends and embrace your world with enthusiasm and an appreciation for life. 


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, be safe, have fun and always keep in your mind...


 submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

November 10, 2016

Make Home Building Great Again

(Disclaimer: this is an opinion piece based solely on my opinion.)

A new president always brings a fresh start, a new beginning, but what we all had to go through to get to this fresh start was nothing short of miraculous. I hope our nation can fully heal but I realize that we are as divided a nation as we have ever been. So many bad actors in this national play.Trump with his shoot first personality (I can relate) and no filter persona on one side. On the other, Clinton with her sense of "above it all" and carelessness (yes, I am going there).

It is truly amazing that we fought with each other so hard over these two individuals. 
We did, however, and it's time to move forward and not dwell on the "woulda, shoulda, coulda" 20/20 hindsight but look clearly into what's important to me; home building's future. 

I would like to put the past several months behind me as it pertains to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as fast as humanly possible and get back to the business of our livelihoods; home building. We can clearly see what we need for home building to truly rebound and become great again and it's starts now. Our new beginning for home building starts with a president that will actually care about the building industry. President-elect Trump is a builder. Not in the traditional sense that we know. But make no mistake, he has home building in his blood. His dad was a member of NAHB at one time so I will make the claim that home building is in Donald Trump's blood.

Here's what Mr. Trump, in my opinion, needs to do to jump start the economy and with it, home building.
  1. Less government regulations. Regs are adding over 25% to the cost of home building; ridiculous. Listen to NAHB's Advocacy team about which regs choke any type of momentum.
  2. Reign in the EPA because this agency has harmed our members so many times over the past several years and their land grab terror has to end. House Speaker Ryan already fired the first salvo at Waters of the U.S.
  3. Eliminate the Affordable Healthcare Act so businesses can start growing their companies and hire! This also will give the vast majority of Americans more income just by their deductibles lowering. The geniuses behind this act should be ashamed of themselves.
  4. Take the noose off the necks of builders with lending institutions. Giving up first born children and three quarts of blood is not enough. Banks squeeze the breath out of builders and this has to come to an end. Projects that makes sense, in a marketable area, price point fits with the surrounding neighborhoods and a builder who does have substantial skin in the game? Lend.
  5. Re-energize our economy and help the millennials be able to own homes. Get them out of the basements of their parents homes, into a healthy job market and buying a home. Like we all did before them. We survived, they will too.
  6. Balance the mortgage lending system.  Who in their right mind did not think that no money down, no income verification, as well as multiple (as in more than one home) dwellings would end well for any of us? We paid the price. Common sense should prevail but no, we are faced with the pendulum swinging towards, and staying, on the other end of fairness.
  7. Encourage home ownership! Home ownership is at its lowest rate since World War Two and the past several years have been the main culprit. Why? See above 1-6

If you supported Clinton, I am truly sorry for your loss. But understand that Clinton would have kept our members treading water and I don't think they could have lasted another four years
Like I said, publicly, four years ago, President Obama is my president and I will support him until he stops helping my industry. One year in and we all knew we were SCREWED and my support ended. Now, our fresh start, our ne beginning, with an actual builder as president. I can feel the oppressiveness of government bureaucracy dissipating like a hot August day's humidity and the fresh cool breezes flowing. 

That's it, that's all I have to write on this matter. I am turning the page and forging ahead and I will regard the last eight years as my earthbound time in home building purgatory. 

On another note, that ties in nicely: you most likely saw Donald Trump's address to NAHB's Board of Directors this past August 2016. He spoke to our board and key HBA staff from across our country. What he said resonated with me. I leave it to you to see if his speech makes you, a building industry professional, feel just a little bit better about your future.




submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP


November 3, 2016

My Two Cents

In five days we will know the fate of the United States. Trump or Clinton? It's anyone's guess but I have to say I have never witnessed such an embarrassing (for our country) presidential campaign. Both candidates have historic percentages of the country disliking each. Both candidates have so many skeletons that this election should have been moved up to October 31st.
At the end of November 8th, 2016 one of them will win and with it a clear road map for the direction our country will take.
What will it mean for our building industry? How will teh NAHB members and their families and employees be affected? Supporters for each candidate in our NAHB federation of locals will have moral issues to guide them. Each will point to the perceived defects of either candidate and will angrily defend their choice. It's absolutely true; if you support Hillary, you hate Trump. And, if Donald is your choice Clinton needs to be locked up. 
Hatred has found a new level. Congratulations, America. 

I have my own thoughts on this election and, while I won't utilize this blog to support a particular candidate, I wanted to make my thoughts known to anyone who will listen and hopefully care. 

Here are my two cents; 
  • Our industry is ridiculously over regulated. 25% plus of the cost of an average newly constructed home is attributed to regulations. This is crystal clear and the candidate who will work to have less cumbersome regulations, that will help our nation's home builders build, has my vote. 
  • The Affordable Care Act (I'll leave names out of this), while helping a percentage of Americans with obtaining health care, is strangling middle class America and small to mid-sized business growth, which leads to less jobs. 2017 will see more people making less money because of the rising costs of premiums. Less money, means more expense, meaning less people eligible for a mortgage for the home of their dreams. Again, the home builder suffers as will associates vendors. Speaking of associates, rising premiums will affect them as well. They will have less money to work with which could affect HBA membership growth and non-dues revenue.
There is more to discuss but I am sincerely looking at two items that, if steps were taken to correct each, would help our home building  industry, tremendously. We, every NAHB member, would be in much better shape and poised for growth. I am supporting the candidate that is best suited to help our members have better and more profitable opportunities to make money. This includes me, and by extension, my family.

Remember to vote. It's your best chance to sail your own ship.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA CGP


October 27, 2016

A Reminder I Wanted to Share

Today started off like any other day. I was up early, went into my office and started my day filling out a sales report, emailing "thank yous" to potential customers for opportunities, contacting current customers to make sure their needs are met and game planning my next week.
I then spent time at my state association meeting on matters of concern for our state building industry. While there, I poured a cup of coffee and sat down but I looked at the message on the cup, one that I must have read dozens of times before, and I thought to myself "this is what I do. I help to provide homes for NJ residents."
I then realized that the groups who are out there trying to slow down home building are hypocrites. They say no to homes being built yet they go home at night to a home built by a builder. 
I look around my own home and I realize my place in the construction of the home is not just providing building materials. The windows I sell, for example, will have a young couple looking through the glass at their children playing in their backyard, much like my window view provided me with my own family. Families will hang pictures, with very special memories, on the materials that I supplied. Christmas decorations will be fastened to the exterior of the home on materials I again supplied and the room the Thanksgiving meal will take place will have been constructed with my products.

My role is selling building materials but it is more important for me to realize that I am helping a family or future family form some of the best memories they will have in life. That's very rewarding to me.
I wanted to share my thoughts with you on this because if your reading this you are also a part of helping with family memories. I just hope you realize that your service or product is all part of a bigger picture. When you go home tonight take a good look around then thank a builder and every part of the builders team that delivered your home to you.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP 

 


October 20, 2016

It's Your Voice; Use It or Lose It!




Today's blog is very short but gets right to the heart of the message; go vote!

November 8th, 2016 is election day and with it, a new president and possible changes in congress that can change the flow of our lives as it relates to the home building industry.
As members of our National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), through all of our local home builders associations (HBA), we have a responsibility to our family & co-workers to make sure we vote. We also need to make sure that others in our circle vote as well. The home building industry is very sensitive to any national turmoil or change; it's not knowing the unknown that can make all of us at least a bit apprehensive. I don't personally care whether you are a conservative, moderate or liberal but I do care that you are at least a Houser, someone who cares that the housing industry candidate gets elected. At the end of the day, housing is what puts food on my table, a roof over my head and the ability to have choices. Everything else is just personal satisfaction that someone or something will make approximately 50% of the people happy. 

Voting in the United States is an honor and a privilege. Get to the voting booths November 8th and vote as if your career depends on it because it just may.




Let's listen to a message from 
NAHB Chairman of the Board, Ed Brady;


submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

October 13, 2016

The 2017 International Builders Show Update


Today's blog is from our International Builders (IBS) Chair, Ann Garvey. Ann would like to give us an update with less than 90 days to go. She leads a great team of volunteer members and extremely professional NAHB staff all with this goal in mind; your best convention experience to date!

 The 2017 International Builders Show Update

Ann Garvey, 2017 IBS Chair
 BuildersShow.com continues to be the place for the most up-to-date details but I wanted to give you some insight, firsthand!
 BuildersShow.com is, as always, where you register, make your hotel reservations and find the most current information!
 Halfway down you will see a very important, actionable item that you'll need to attend to ASAP.

 Let's start our update with...

2017 NAHB Annual Board & IBS Basics
·         NAHB Annual Board Meeting: Sunday, January 8 – Thursday, January 12
·         IBS: Tuesday, January 10 – Thursday, January 12
·         Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), Orlando, FL, with meetings also taking place in the Hyatt Regency Orlando (formerly the Peabody Hotel)
·         NAHB Headquarters Hotel is the Hyatt Regency Orlando



IBS Housing
The cutoff date for NAHB members to register and reserve a room in their state/local assigned hotel block is tomorrow, Friday, October 14.  
If you have not yet registered and secured your hotel room and would like to stay in your state/local association’s reserved block please do so by tomorrow.  If your preferred hotel is not available when you go online and you would like to be placed on a wait-list for that property or another property that is currently unavailable please give Barbara Rapp the hotel name(s) in order of preference along with your arrival and departure dates as soon as possible at brapp@nahb.org.   

IBS Exhibit Space
With 13 weeks to go, we’ve almost hit 545,000 net square feet (NSF) with 2016 IBS total sold space was just over 500K.

Opening Ceremonies (OC)
Day/Time:  Tuesday, January 10, 8:00 – 9:15 am, doors open at 7:00 am
Location:  OCCC, West Concourse, Level IV, Valencia Ballroom
Theme:  75 Years of Housing in America
Keynote speaker:  Peyton Manning, Quarterback of the 2016 Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos

IBS House Party (We are almost sold out!)
Day/Time: Tuesday, January 10, 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Location:  Mango’s Tropical CafĂ©, International Drive, mangos.com/orlando
Highlights:  Open bar, complimentary appetizers (definitely hearty enough to make it dinner), music (DJ) and entertainment
Notes:  Tickets are $45 and may be purchased while registering for IBS or if you missed it the first time through you can easily log back into your IBS registration record (using your registration ID and last name) to purchase tickets.  If you plan to go, please buy your tickets ASAP.  You don’t want to miss this great networking event!

VERY IMPORTANT!!
NAHB Meeting of the Members
Day/Time: Wednesday, January 11, 8:00 – 9:30 am
Location: OCCC, West Concourse, Level IV, Valencia Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: Barbara Corcoran, Real Estate Mogul and “Shark” Investor on ABC’s Shark Tank
Highlights: All NAHB members attending IBS will be invited to this new event where they can grab coffee and receive updates on NAHB activities, the economy, etc.  NAHB members are asked to RSVP for this complimentary event while registering for IBS.  If you have already registered but haven’t yet RSVP’d for the Meeting of the Members and you plan to attend please log back into your registration record and do so. If you need assistance email Allie Seale at aseale@nahb.org.


IBS Closing Spike Concert
Day/Time:  Thursday, January 12, 5:00 – 7:30 pm, doors open at 5:00 pm and concert begins at 6:00 pm
Location:  OCCC, West Concourse, Level IV, Valencia Ballroom
Featuring: The hugely popular country music quartet, Little Big Town (littlebigtown.com)
Notes:  Tickets are $40 and may be purchased while registering for IBS.  Qualified Spikes and NAHB Directors will receive two complimentary concert tickets.  After the concert, shuttle transportation will be provided from the OCCC to all Official Show Hotels that are not walkable.