March 26, 2017

Contested Elections and Other Thoughts

Random Thought #1
I have always been told that contested elections are good and I would agree. I believe when a person is running for office their passion is tested by a competitor. 
The same could be said for contested elections at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) level. Desire, commitment, an understanding of issues that NAHB members hold important and a working knowledge of the home building industry overall.

I get it; NAHB contested elections are good for the membership. What's not good about a contested election is that the contestants are pitted against each other and choices have to be made and friends have to take sides. How is member against member ever a good thing?
We have another contested election for 3rd vice chairman this year and once again two candidates, both friends, are looking to take one position. 
I know both candidates very well and both have unique qualities that would ensure continued, productive leadership. I just hope that friendships can persevere and hard feelings are soften as time goes on.

Random Thought #2
Having gone from three NAHB board meetings a year to now two I personally am starting to feel a disconnect from NAHB. I get emailed newsletters and updates, take part in sub committee webinars and social media outreach, etc. but it's really not the same feeling of camaraderie. 
I would support going back to a third board meeting but have it in Washington, DC. Traveling to exciting destinations was great but I'm there for the work of the association and I don't have a lot of free time for sight seeing.

Random Thought #3
A few years ago an amendment to the NAHB bylaws, allowing for an associate senior officer (ASO) was defeated. It wasn't the first time this was attempted and who knows if it will ever happen. But I will say this; not too long ago NAHB's board of directors, the very board that defeated the ASO, voted to approve associates being elected to their local's presidency. 

Let me get this straight, NAHB Board; an ASO, as part of a collective, is bad for national because associates are not builders but an associate leading the very foundation of our association is good? 
Ever single builder leader at NAHB's national level came from a local home builders association. What do you think will happen at the national level, of course over time, if you lose builders as presidents?

Random Thought #4
The future structure of NAHB's leadership team is something that has been going through my mind, a lot. Dramatically shrinking the size of the executive board and changing the very nature of the board of directors to a potential advisory board are two of many items on the plate of NAHB these days. 
I haven't taken a firm position on these two particular items but I'm sure I will have a better understanding as we arrive in Washington, DC for mid-year board meetings in June. I will hear the pros and cons and will vote accordingly if it does come to a vote. 

I will say this; there are a lot of members who are on the board of directors and there is only a fraction, of those eligible to vote, that actually attend. If the locals who nominate their members to serve on NAHB's board can't have better attendance, or any attendance, maybe that is where we should start to down size. I'm quite sure after one year, the board's size would be cut in half IF we held those in violation to firm attendance standards.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP

Note: Association Maximization will not be published next week due to my attending the Atlantic Builders Convention in Atlantic City, NJ.
I look forward to NAHB leadership, as well as leadership from surrounding states, all attending. 



 

March 18, 2017

115th Congress; It’s Time to Get Housing Back to Work

(continued from last week's blog article "The 115th and You Can Make Housing Great, Again")

During President Donald Trump's visit with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the president expressed that he knows how much we, as a home building industry, have been suffering. The president's own father was a member of NAHB so the president knows the value of what an engaged NAHB can do for builders and, by extension, associates. 
The beginning stages of reworking Waters of the US and the beginnings of the end of Dodd-Frank are very encouraging for our members across the federation. NAHB understands that they have a window of great opportunity in having a White House that has true business common sense and realizes that we are an industry that fuels our economy. 
NAHB, volunteer leaders and staff, has other issues that they are working on with the 115th Congress and I'd like to share them with you.

NAHB Policy on Key Federal Issues

Tax Reform
NAHB supports housing incentives in the tax code, including the deductions for mortgage interest and state and local property taxes. These incentives largely benefit the middle-class in particular younger households and larger families, by making home-ownership more affordable. NAHB also
supports the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), the primary tool for financing construction of new, affordable rental housing. The LIHTC is currently producing approximately 95,000 new apartment homes annually and serves households earning 60%or less of the area median income.


Housing Finance Reform
NAHB is a strong proponent of comprehensive housing finance reform that would increase the role of private capital in the U.S. housing finance system but maintain a limited federal backstop to the nation’s housing finance system. Federal support is particularly important for the availability
of the affordable 30-year fixed-rate mortgage,which has been a staple of the U.S. housing finance system. NAHB also backs efforts to update and modernize the Federal Housing Administration and establish a strong framework for preserving rural housing.


Labor Shortage and Immigration Reform
NAHB supports comprehensive immigration reform that will safeguard our borders, establish a fair employment verification system and create a market-based visa system that will allow more immigrants to legally enter the construction workforce as the housing industry gains
momentum and the demand for workers increases.


Environment
NAHB supports a common sense, scientific approach to safeguarding the environment that reasonably balances protection of endangered species, clean air and clean water, with the need to allow local communities to grow and thrive. NAHB is concerned with the Waters of the United States rule from EPA and Army Corps that would expand federal jurisdiction under the Clean Water Act. This rule increases the federal government’s role in local land use and increases the costs of residential construction.


Property Rights
NAHB believes in allowing property owners direct access to federal district court review of property takings cases. Unfortunately, under the current legal system, the government can bounce the property owner between federal and state court, exhausting the property owner’s resources on legal fees, and avoiding court review entirely.


Federal Regulatory Reform
NAHB firmly believes that Congress must reassert its oversight authority over rule making agencies and that efforts to further regulate the housing industry must be subject to greater public scrutiny, based on sound data, and undertaken only after a careful consideration of potential effects on small businesses. On average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for nearly 25%
of the final price of a home.


Energy
NAHB supports voluntary,market-driven and cost-effectiveness measures that promote energy efficiency in the home and the use of sustainable green building materials and construction techniques. Policies, such as enhanced financing and green appraisals, can help make energy
efficiency more affordable to the average home buyer. NAHB does not support mandates that neglect cost impacts, as they diminish housing affordability. 


Association Health Plans
NAHB supports a market-based approach to health care reform. Action is needed to lower costs and provide better plan options fo f r small businesses, such as association health plans (AHPs). Small firms pay more for a given benefit package than do larger organizations because of higher administrative expenses and less purchasing power. AHPs will ensure a level playing field for smaller employers who want to help their workers and their families with rising health care costs.


National Flood Insurance Program
NAHB supports a strong government-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that is available, predictable, affordable and financially solvent. To continue the stability and growth of the housing market, homeowners in the 100-year floodplain must have access to affordable and reliable
flood insurance and home builders must have access to accurate floodplain maps. NAHB urges Congress to swiftly pass long-term flood insurance legislation before the program’s expiration on Sept. 30, 2017.


submitted by Michael Kurpiel CGA, CGP

March 11, 2017

The 115th and You Can Make Housing Great, Again



The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and its over 700 chartered home builders associations (HBA) across the country, helps shape all of our future in the home building industry. Builders across the country, from single-family to multi-family as well as remodelers to mixed-use, benefit from NAHB and its efforts to help our legislators in Washington and the various state capitols understand housing's impact.

Each state will have its own statistics to make their discussions with state legislators relevant and successful. In regards to Washington, D.C. we mus focus on the 115th Congress and the wave of pro-business that has made our economy start to show signs of substantial growth which will have a positive and prolonged effect on housing.

For those of you who want to engage in the reality of protecting your careers let's talk about what NAHB truly is;

About NAHB
  • Federation of more than 700 state and local builder associations.

  • NAHB’s 140,000 members employ more than 7 million workers nationwide.

  • The residential construction industry directly employs more than 2.6 million workers, with millions more engaged in businesses directly relating to home building.

  • NAHB’s builder members will construct about 80 percent of the 1.2 million new housing units projected for 2017.




If we want to go further let's discuss;

Housing’s Impact on the Nation

Housing construction and the value of housing–related services account for about 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product, making housing a major component of the economy. The construction of 1,000 single-family homes generates 2,970 jobs across all U.S. industries (including construction, manufacturing, trade and professional services. Also, approximately $162million in wages and more than $110million in federal, state and local tax revenues and fees.

The construction of 1,000 rental apartments generates 1,130 jobs across all U.S. industries and approximately $61million in wages and more than $42million in federal, state and local tax revenues and fees. 

  •  For every $1,000 increase in the price of a home, about 152,903 households are priced out of the market for a median-priced new home.
  • About 64 out of 100 households own their own home.
  • Home equity accounts for a total of more than $13 trillion in wealth for American households.
  • Americans spend about $158 billion annually on home remodeling projects.
  • There are more than 134.7million housing units in the U.S. 

Next week I will bring to you NAHB policy on key issues that will help our industry. In the meantime...

Leaders in Congress Urged to Adopt Strong Housing Agenda



submitted by Michael Kurpiel, CGA, CGP




March 2, 2017

Resources for National Designation Month

 In March, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) celebrates the thousands of home builders, remodelers and associates across the country who have taken the time to earn an NAHB designation — showing their commitment to improving their craft and the value they place on professionalism in the industry.
This is a great opportunity for HBAs to spread the word about the value of designations to both your members and consumers. NAHB has created tools you can use to encourage your members to start or complete courses to earn their designation. And, let consumers know the benefits of working with your members who hold designations with sample newsletter articles and customizable articles. Access tips and sample materials at nahb.org/NDM

In addition, NAHB has resources to help members with designations promote themselves and their businesses, and to educate consumers on the importance of using a professional who has taken the time and effort to earn a professional designation. 
Your members can access these resources, including sample press releases, customizable marketing materials and more at nahb.org/promoteyourdesignation.
Throughout the month, NAHBNow will post weekly stories spotlighting a member who has improved his business because of the designation he has earned. We also encourage you to let your members know about the power of a designation, and the resources available to them to promote their achievement to potential customers.
To learn more about NAHB's designation program, go to nahb.org/designations.

submitted by Michael Kurpiel, a proud CGA and CGP