The Ecobee4 smart thermostat, Loxone smart home system and the QUADZilla door roller each received a 2017 NAHB Global Innovation Award and were honored at the NAHB International Builders Show in Orlando.
“These winners’ commitment to innovation really stood out,” said Roger Lyons, NAHB Global Opportunities Board chair. “It was a stiff competition, because all our entrants are pushing the home building industry forward in new and exciting ways. We are proud to provide this platform that recognizes their accomplishments.”
Anthony Innovations’ QUADzilla door rollers, made in Thomastown, Victoria, Australia, are designed around a standard rail profile that enables window and door fabricators to build larger sliding panels while delivering reduced rolling resistance and smoother and quieter operation, all within the same system extrusion.
The Ecobee4 smart thermostat, made by Ecobee of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, can be controlled through its touch screen, via a smart device or by voice — it’s the first thermostat with built-in Amazon Alexa voice service. It also delivers energy savings of up to 23% when home owners are away.
Loxone’s smart home system, made in Kollerschlag, Oberösterreich, Austria, connects the whole home: everything from the central mini-server to dimmers, multi-room audio, push buttons, video intercoms and sensors.
Global Award finalists included Hillside Software’s Digital Property Flyers, the Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt and Wellness Within Your Walls’ healthy kitchen design.
NAHB Global Membership connects each participant to thousands of the world’s top builders, manufacturers and suppliers. Members enjoy exclusive access to a wide range of opportunities and home building industry resources, including programs such as the Global Innovation Award.
NAHB’s Construction, Codes and Standards Committee is seeking NAHB members interested in applying to serve for 2018 on one of its three subcommittees: the Building Codes and Standards Subcommittee, the Construction Technology Research Subcommittee, and the Energy and Green Codes and Standards Subcommittee.
If you would like to apply to become a subcommittee member for 2018, please contact Gary Ehrlich and indicate which subcommittee you would like to participate on. Feel free to provide a few details about your interests and related experience.
Subcommittee members must be an NAHB Builder, Associate or Affiliate member in good standing.
Applications are due by Feb. 9. Subcommittee members will be informed of their appointments by the end of February.
When it comes to a website for your building or remodeling company, there’s only one measure of success: Whether that site makes you money.
Myers Barnes, president, and Chip Johnson, CEO, of Builder Designs talked about how to build a successful website at an NAHB International Builders’ Show “Techbytes” session last week.
“I don’t care about analytics, I care about sales. Does the website turn into cash for you? That’s the only thing that matters. If it’s not, you’re wasting your time,” Barnes said.
When studies show that a whopping 96% of buyers start shopping for their new home on the web, and that fully 75% of them start about a year before they make the actual purchase, by the time they walk through the door of your model home, “they aren’t ‘just looking,’ they are buying. They spend more time digitally than physically with your brand.”
That means that clever posts on Instagram and constant attention to your Facebook page will only go so far. “Without a website, digital marketing doesn’t exist.”
That website has three components — and each one is vital, Barnes said.
Mobility. Seventy percent of your buyers begin their searches on their cellphones. “Mobile trumps desktop,” Barnes said. Most buyers won’t sit down to peruse your site on their desktops or laptops unless they are “doing a super deep dive,” he said. That means that savvy home builders won’t bother with a desktop-based website design that’s developed to transition seamlessly to a smaller mobile version, or what’s known as responsive design in the trade. Instead, the website must be designed with the mobile user in mind, without complicated menu bars, sliding graphics or other distractions. “We prefer a mobile-first site. From the phone, we build it up” rather than the other way around, Barnes said.
Images. Today’s buyer is extremely visual. That means that home builders must invest in dynamic, well-lit and professional photography if they expect to attract and then capture potential buyers’ interest. “They don’t care about your “About” page,” he said. Buyers don’t want to waste time navigating your site to get an idea of what your homes look like. Pictures of homes on websites that have been taken by professional photographers have a 47% higher asking price, “and take you to the promised land of profitability,” Barnes said.
Attendees with a paid full registration to IBS also get a complimentary 1-year subscription to IBS Education on Demand and can download recording and handouts to Building Killer Websites that Actually Attract Buyers and other sessions. Visit BuildersShow.com/ondemand to learn more.
We are pleased to announce the State has hired additional contract workers to perform plumbing inspections.
Earlier we reported that we were conducting discussions with the State to head off a possible economic slowdown of plumbing inspections at new home projects. As we had reported, State inspections for residential plumbing in Kent and Sussex Counties has been feared to be slowing down due to various reasons including inspector retirements, looming medical outages, etc.
The two new contract workers began making inspections early last week. Hopefully this will provide immediate relief and help alleviate any potential inspection slowdown.
HBADE early on saw this coming as a problem for our industry and initiated meetings with the State officials that oversee the inspection process in Kent and Sussex Counties. Fortunately the State has been quite responsive and will be providing immediate relief by contracting several positions, with an eye to meet with us next month to explore long term solutions.
As you can imagine, a slowdown in plumbing inspections would have significant harm to the housing industry. Work on new homes would come to a halt until the inspections are made, causing a domino effect to other trades, new home settlements, inconvenience to new home buyers, the buyer’s buyers if applicable, moving companies, etc.
In addition, HBADE has a meeting next week with State officials to further discuss this issue. We will keep our members updated; but if any plumbers or home builders with projects in Kent County or Sussex County are finding inspection slowdowns, please notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are attending the International Builders’ Show in Orlando this week and want to learn about — and take better advantage of — the many benefits of NAHB membership, you’ll definitely want to stop by Booth W4842.
Bonus: NAHB members can pick up a free souvenir and enjoy the members-only happy hour from 3:30-4:30 p.m. daily.
And all attendees can rest those aching feet, charge their phones and enjoy a coffee. What’s not to like in the middle of a long, productive day on the Show floor or in education sessions?
What’s Next?The NAHB Next Lounge at NAHB HQ is targeted to home building industry professionals interested in the next step in their careers — because their NAHB membership can give them a professional boost.
At the lounge, you’ll visit with like-minded colleagues and learn from the experiences of industry veterans. In other words, it’s pretty much the definition of specialized networking, one of the invaluable member benefits enjoyed by successful professionals throughout our great Federation.
See you at W4842.
On December 20, Congress finally sent H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, to the President’s desk for signature.
After significant improvements made during the legislative process, and due to the robust engagement efforts of NAHB and its membership, NAHB issued our support for the final tax bill.
Changes to the tax code will take effect for the tax year starting January 1, 2018, and include the following provisions of note to NAHB’s membership:
· Mortgage interest deduction. Retains the mortgage interest deduction and the deduction for second homes, but reduces the mortgage interest cap from $1 million to $750,000.
· State and local property taxes. Allows taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 of state and local taxes, including property taxes and the choice of income or sales taxes.
· Capital gains exclusion. Maintains existing law that allows home owners to exclude up to $250,000 (or $500,000 for married couples) in capital gains on the profit from the sale of a home if they have lived in the house for two of the last five years.
· HELOC. Eliminates the deduction for interest on home equity loans.
· Private activity bonds. Retains private activity bonds (PABs), which will enable the Low Income Housing Tax Credit to maintain its effectiveness as the most indispensable tool for the production of affordable housing. Without PABs, we would face the loss of more than 788,000 affordable rental units over the next decade.
· Alternative Minimum Tax. Eliminates the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for corporations and increases the AMT exemption amounts and phase-out thresholds for individuals.
· Individual tax brackets. Retains seven tax brackets, with rates ranging from 10% to 37%. This will provide tax relief for individuals and small businesses and represents a tax cut for most taxpayers.
· Estate tax. Doubles the estate tax exemption.
· Carried interest. Retains existing carried interest rules, but assets must be held for three years.
· Pass-through deduction. Allows most taxpayers with pass-through income to deduct 20% of that income based on wages or on wages plus a capital element.
· Business interest deduction. Provides the taxpayer a choice of making a one-time election for a deduction limited to 30% of adjusted gross income; or for real estate, a 100% deduction for business interest, but with certain tradeoffs.
· Like-kind exchanges. Preserves the benefit for real estate investors to make tax-free exchanges of property, commonly referred to as “like-kind” exchanges.
· Multifamily depreciation. Gives the taxpayer the choice of taking 27.5- or 30-year depreciation, depending on how they elect to treat their business interest.
· Individual tax provision sunsets. Almost all individual tax elements – mortgage interest, state and local property taxes, individual brackets, etc. – expire at the end of 2025. Unless Congress acts, starting in 2026 these modifications will revert back to the tax code as it exists today in 2017.
Wishing you good times, good cheer, and a memorable new year.
All of us at Home Buliders Association of Delaware want to thank you for your business, loyalty, and
support in 2017. We hope to see you again in 2018!
Our office will be closed Tuesday, January 2nd for New Years, we will reopen Wednesday January 3rd. Look out for the return of our Weekly Spotlight Tuesday, January 9th at 6:00 am!