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