Changes, they are a comin'

Posted on February 8, 2018 by Jorie Helms


This is a loose translation from Bob Dylan’s song, but it seemed appropriate. Our industry is in the midst of changes from economic to social to political spheres

of influence. We see the reports, releases and yes, tweets, and know that change is coming.

Will we see tax reform on the national level? If we do, will the mortgage interest deduction be a thing of the past?

On the state level, will the budget compromise actually help the industry or just maintain a status quo? Will it include some services that are no longer sales tax exempt? Will we see a teacher pay raise? October was workforce development month and there was much talk about the need for more emphasis on construction trades. Will we see that change in our schools or technology centers?

Socially, we hear about millennials finally entering the housing market. One report says that once they become

homeowners they begin to act like the generations before them. Turns out they like homes in suburbs with good schools. So what does that mean for our industry?

As one writer put it, “the only thing constant in this world is change.” If change affects our industry, you know it will affect our association.

Membership models are being examined and test cases are taking place. Governance is also being examined as to what works the best. Dues and how they are paid and collected are also being examined. This last area is one we are particularly excited about.

If you haven’t already, you will soon hear about Dues Hub powered by Billhighway. This promises to be a new tool that will help with dues payments, recruitment and retention. It is a tool that will provide for online applications, payment flexibility, automated funds routing plus useful and practical data integration.

Yes, changes are coming. But this is one we can be excited about.

Until next time...

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OU Student Chapter volunteers in HOUSTON

Posted on February 7, 2018 by Jorie Helms



A team of University of Oklahoma Construction Science students traveled to Houston in September to aid in the relief effort in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Twenty-two students and Ben F. Bigelow, Ph. D., Associate Professor and Director of OU’s Construction Science Division, made the trip to assist families impacted by devastating flooding.

While in Houston, the OU students assisted 10 different families with tasks from removing drywall all the way to demolishing a collapsed sunroom. The people they met and helped in Houston were ones who simply couldn’t help

Jadyn Watson-Fisher she’s thankful for the opportunity to do something meaningful for others..

“For me, it (was) about going and serving wherever needed,” Carter said. “It wasn’t the most glamorous job. It wasn’t super exciting, but it was so necessary and practical to hands-on help these people start over.”

Bigelow reached out to the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association to assist in the relief efforts.

“This was a perfect opportunity for our association to help our Texas neighbors,” said Dan Reeves, OSHBA president. “So many give to worthwhile charities like the Salvation Army themselves, Bigelow said. One was a woman bound to a wheelchair and another with severe cerebral palsy.

“While the students got a good experience using tools and seeing a bit of how a house goes together, perhaps the greatest education came from them seeing the need and poverty of so many,” Dr. Bigelow said. “For most of them, they have never been outside of the relatively prosperous suburbs they grew up in, and we worked primarily in some very poor neighborhoods.”

Architecture freshman Chanae Carter told OU journalist

and the Red Cross, but a challenge for an association is how to help in a way the touches our industry. Helping our student chapter provide relief in a learning environment was a great fit.”

Donors who made the trips possible were: Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, The Builders Association of South Central Oklahoma, Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association, Windstone Construction, Accent Glass, McClain Bank, Haworth Homes, CA McCarty Construction, Da Vinci Homes, Custom Builders of Oklahoma, Trinity Hearth & Homes, Patrick O’Dooley and Westpoint Homes.

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What Millennial Home Buyers Want

Posted on January 30, 2018 by Jorie Helms


keysIt’s all about location, location, location – with a dash or two of compromise – as millennials, the nation’s largest demographic group at 90 million strong, is poised to dominate the home buying market.

Two market researchers – who happen to be millennials themselves – offered insight into their generation in Two Millennials Tell All, an education session offered Jan. 10 during the NAHB International Builders’ Show in Orlando.

While generalities about this group may ring true: This generation prefers experiences over things and likes to “collect moments” rather than sets of good china place settings, there’s actually much more diversity than many people realize, said Ali Wolf, manager of housing economics for California-based Meyers Research LLC.

For one thing, 43% of millennials aren’t white, don’t solidly identify as either “traditionals” or “trailblazers” and, because they now range in age from 17 to 37, have incomes across the economic spectrum.

And as NAHB Economics own research has indicated, a surprising majority of millennials aren’t necessarily interested in urban spaces, but still want a single-family home with a yard. The challenge for home builders is to create a product that this generation wants but that can still afford as first-time buyers, the presenters said. In fact, 21 percent of millennials surveyed said they haven’t bought a home yet because they can’t afford one, period.

One solution: Understand that millennials are willing to compromise. They’ll sacrifice some space in exchange for more luxurious finishes, like quartz countertops. Good design is important to this generation.

Flexible spaces are important as well. Make sure that the dining area is large enough for a large gathering of friends and family for Thanksgiving and other special dinners, but easily converted into a workspace or studio for the rest of the year.

Three/two still rules. A home with three bedrooms and two bathrooms is the most preferred, and 1,000 square feet is the minimum. That third bedroom can be a loft area or study nook if space is at a premium, however.

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 Two Millennials Tell All: Deconstructing Today’s First-Time Buyers & Their Design Preferences and other sessions. Visit to learn more.

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Incorporating Drone Technology into Your Construction Business

Posted on January 29, 2018 by Jorie Helms


The construction industry is changing, and a lot of the changes construction workers and their employers are seeing today are based around advances in technology. There are a number of technological advances, with one of the biggest being the use and incorporation of drones into various aspects of the business. Since there are so many ways to use drones in construction, it's not surprising that they are starting to be used more frequently. While not all companies see the value in drone technology, more and more construction companies are bringing them on board to get more done faster and easier than ever before.

Drones Have a Number of Significant Benefits

For construction companies and their workers, there are many benefits to using drones. These small, flying, and highly maneuverable little machines can move quickly, hover in place, and get into spaces where people may not fit. They can also go into places where people may not be allowed to go, or where it may not be safe for workers to venture. Drones are not terribly expensive, and they can do some jobs that people simply cannot complete. They are also lightweight and easy to move around, so they can travel fast and help workers get more accomplished throughout their workday.

With Drones, Construction Companies Can See the Big Picture

One of the largest impacts that drones have on the construction industry is that they help companies and workers see the bigger picture. Drones can be flown right up close to a construction project, but they can also be flown high above the job site to see a larger view of what needs to be done and the issues that might arise. Watching video from a drone gives construction companies a lot of information. It's also possible to offer plenty of still pictures that the company can study in order to make a plan of action for the future of any construction project.

Cost Effectiveness Matters With Drone Technology

Drones are inexpensive for personal use, but they can be more costly when larger ones for commercial uses are bought. Still, they are often cost effective because their upfront price can be justified with how they pay for themselves over time—it's an investment like any new piece of equipment. Since they can go where people cannot, and they can also explore from high above and bring back pictures and information, they are very valuable when it comes to how they can be used by construction workers and their employers. Consider the increased safety in a workplace in which drones can scout areas before

someone needs to physically be there.

What Construction Companies Should Know About Drones

Construction companies that are considering buying and using drones should know enough about them to feel comfortable with their choices. Price is one important consideration, but it's not the only thing people in the construction industry need to know. Of course it matters, but the cost of the drones should be examined in light of what they can offer, so the actual value can be better understood. It's more than just price, when considering how much construction companies get back from the money they spend. Other things to consider with drones in the construction industry are how many drones are needed for any company, where they should be used, and how best to use them wisely. Companies also need to focus on where the drones come from, how they will be maintained, and what happens if one or more of them become damaged. Taking care of the drones and keeping them moving matters, just as much as getting and using them in the first place. Construction companies that are prepared for changes in their industry, technological advances, and the value drones can bring to their work can use these drones to their fullest advantage.

Dylan Snyder is a team leader and real estate consultant at The Snyder Group - Keller Williams Realty Luxury Homes. His business is augmented by his high-caliber team of seasoned buyer specialists and a dedicated marketing department. 


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Nation’s Home Builders Elect Leadership for 2018

Posted on January 11, 2018 by Jorie Helms

OSHBA Note: NAHB Chairman Randy Noel will be a special guest at the 2018 Installation Banquet

Randy Noel

Randy Noel

NAHB members elected four senior officers to the Federation’s top leadership positions during the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Fla.

With more than 700 affiliated state and local home builders associations and more than 140,000 members across the country, NAHB represents the interests of the nation’s housing professionals through advocacy, education and research.

Taking the helm as NAHB Chair is Randy Noel, a Louisiana-based custom home builder with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. Noel is president of Reve Inc., a custom home building firm that has developed more than 1,000 custom homes in the greater New Orleans area.

“We will work this year to keep the housing recovery on track and to reduce burdensome regulations that harm housing affordability and inhibit job creation,” said Noel. “We will also urge Congress and the White House to ensure that housing remains a national priority and to promote policies that will provide affordable rental housing and homeownership opportunities for hard-working American families.”

Also moving up on the association’s leadership ladder was Greg Ugalde, a Connecticut builder and developer with more than 25 years of experience in the home building industry. He was elected First Vice Chairman of the Board. Ugalde is president and chief legal officer of Torrington-based T&M Building Co., Inc., one of the largest home builders in the state. Since its founding in 1962, T&M has built more than 3,500 new homes in over 40 Connecticut communities.

Dean Mon, a New Jersey-based builder and developer with more than 30 years of experience in the industry, was elected as Second Vice Chairman of the Board. He is president of the D.R. Mon Group Inc., which specializes in the development and construction of classic urban living projects throughout New Jersey. Since 1985, the company has created communities throughout Morris, Hunterdon, Union, Hudson and Monmouth counties.

John “Chuck” Fowke joined the NAHB leadership ladder with his election as Third Vice Chairman of the Board. A Tampa, Fla.-based custom home builder with 40 years of experience, Fowke is owner and president of Homes by John C. Fowke Inc. His company has created hundreds of homes in many neighborhoods in and around the Tampa Bay area.

2017 NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald, from Kerrville, Texas, remains on the leadership ladder as Immediate Past Chairman. MacDonald is chairman and CEO of the MacDonald Companies, a diverse development, construction, and property management enterprise with nearly 50 neighborhoods completed and managed throughout Texas.

Rounding out the association’s leadership is NAHB CEO Jerry Howard, from Washington, D.C. Howard heads up a professional staff of more than 240 working out of the National Housing Center in Washington. He has served as the association’s CEO/EVP since February 2001. Previously, Howard was NAHB’s chief tax counsel.

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2017 OSHBA President Dan Reeves says farewell

Posted on January 10, 2018 by Jorie Helms



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