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Home Builders Association

HBAMP attends CICP Awards Luncheon

CICP 10The Construction Industry Crime Prevention (CICP) Council held their annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, Feb. 25 at the MAC Club in Portland.  Over 100 attended, including dozens of law enforcement officers from around the Portland Metro region.

During the awards ceremony, Tigard Officer TJ Hahn was presented with the Law Enforcement Officer award.  HBAMP nominated Officer Hahn for his work leading to the arrest of the main suspect in a rash of appliance and equipment thefts from model and spec homes last year.  HBAMP was also presented with a Law Enforcement Partner award, along with four other police jurisdictions, for our support in helping Officer Hahn and the Tigard PD in their work.  Several HBAMP members and leaders attended the luncheon, including HBAMP President Nate Bond and VP Treasurer Brian Schmidt.  President Bond accepted the Partner award on behalf of HBAMP.

In addition to President Bond and Board Officer Schmidt, also attending and pictured are HBAMP Past Presidents Steve Brown and Mike Arnett, members Kelly Stelk, Jeff Fish, and Gary Phillips, HBA Staff Dave Nielsen and Mark Bisbing, and Officer TJ Hahn and Lt. Jamey MacDonald.

HBAMP advocacy provides building blocks to industry success

This article appears courtesy of Jon Bell in the November edition of the Home Building News

HBA LOGO PROUD MEMBERHBAMP membership comes with a lot of benefits. There’s the cellphone and insurance discounts, the networking and social opportunities, the building material rebate program and, of course, Steve Frazier’s annual turkey fry.

But one of the biggest benefits of being a member of the HBAMP may also be one of the least-hyped ones, even though it may very well have the most significant impact on members and the entire homebuilding and remodeling industry. That benefit? Advocacy.

“That’s often my biggest sales pitch,” said Justin Wood, associate director of government relations for the HBAMP. “That membership dues are providing the best industry advocacy and support so that members don’t have to.”

What that means is that HBAMP staff and members are stepping up to bat all over the place for the greater good of the industry, whether that’s helping curb construction site theft, communicating with local jurisdictions on permit issues, keeping SDCs in check or fighting for members who’ve been targeted by frivolous patent trolls.

This year has, as always, been a busy one for the HBAMP’s advocacy endeavors. As the year begins to draw to a close, it seemed like a good time to reflect on all the advocacy that’s gone on in 2014 to help set the stage for the future.

Housing affordability, balance and choice

The HBAMP has been busy this year building the case for homebuilding and homeownership in the metro region. One of the biggest victories along these lines was the release of the Residential Preference Study, an important look at the housing preferences of residents in the four-county metro region.

Conducted by Portland marketing research firm DHM Research for a range of partners, including the HBAMP, Metro and the cities of Portland and Hillsboro, the study found that 80 percent of respondents prefer detached, single-family housing. Sixty-five percent of the respondents — more than 7,300 people from two different survey tracks — currently live in such homes. The study also found that 56 percent of respondents live in a suburban neighborhood; just over half prefer that kind of a neighborhood. About a quarter live in urban centers, 11 percent live downtown and 8 percent live in rural settings.

“It will be very useful to help our industry understand market preferences and adapt where needed,” said Dave Nielsen, CEO of the HBAMP. “It should also be an important tool used by Metro and surrounding governments in their planning for growth.”

Alongside that study came Metro’s draft “2014 Urban Growth Report,” which sized up the region’s growth over the next 20 years and whether or not additional land needs to be added to the urban growth boundary. According to the study, the UGB in its current state will likely be able to accommodate future growth.

The HBAMP, however, said not so fast.

Nielsen said that Metro’s projections about population growth assume that much of the growth can be absorbed in high density, multifamily housing units and that a disproportionate number of new residents, particularly in Portland, are going to want to live in that kind of housing. That may be a faulty assumption, especially considering that the Residential Preference study that showed just the opposite.

Metro wont’ be adopting a final report until later this year or making decisions about adding lands until next year, so the HBAMP will continues to monitor the issue. It’s doing the same with comprehensive plans released by metro region municipalities like Portland.

“We want to make sure that what Metro is predicting for growth is what comprehensive plans are geared for,” Wood said.

Development and building certainty

That comp plans are aligned with regional and even neighborhood goals are especially important in Portland, where neighborhoods have rallied against high-density projects and, at the same time, demolition of older homes.

“We are actively monitoring this to ensure that anything done does not adversely affect our members,” Wood said.

Also in this area, the HBAMP has been very active in working with the city of Oregon City on its building moratorium. In August, the city commission enacted a moratorium on land development and building and sewer permit approvals in four areas of the city due to a lack of sanitary sewer capacity.

No surprise, that’s not a good thing for homebuilders.

“In our industry, a moratorium is something we like to avoid at all costs,” said Jon Kloor, government relations coordinator for the HBAMP.

He said the HBAMP has been keeping an eye on the situation and working with the city to find a resolution. Luckily, Kloor said, the four areas that fall under the moratorium are largely built out. so they’re not causing a huge problem for builders. Still, the HBAMP doesn’t want to see any kind of precedent set for other municipalities that may find themselves confronting a moratorium in the future. Kloor said Oregon City is working on a plan that will hopefully replace infrastructure over the next two or three years in the moratorium areas and lift the ban on each area once they’re ready to accommodate new development.

Under the same category, Kloor said many municipal building and planning departments

have found themselves short-staffed after they let people go during the recession. That downturn also led schools like Portland Community College and Chemeketa Community College to cut their building inspector education programs. As a result, departments are undermanned and builders are facing longer delays.

“We as an industry need those inspectors, and municipalities need to hire,” Kloor said, “but there’s nobody to hire.”

The HBAMP has been meeting with a work group comprised of building offices from around the region to figure out how to train more qualified building inspectors. One result: PCC is expected to launch a new training program in January 2015.

Industry challenges

Homebuilding is never short of its challenges, but the HBAMP has been hard at work addressing as many of them as possible to help make life easier on its member and the industry in general. One of the more recent concerns: construction site theft, which has been on the rise in recent years. See the story on page 13 for a look at how the HBAMP is helping thwart this growing problem.

Similarly, the HBAMP has played a very active role in an effort to squash a patent troll case that’s arisen for some members. According to Wood, a number of builders in the area have received letters from a company claiming that the builders, in using fans to dry out their newly-constructed homes to meet building codes, are infringing on a patent that the company secured. The patent, Wood said, is simply on the process of using regular fans to dry out a new home. The HBAMP, along with its state and national organizations, is fighting the patent as frivolous.

“So far, we have gotten them to go silent,” Wood said of the accusing company, “but we don’t know if they are going to come back or not.”

In addition, the HBAMP has been closely monitoring a Washington County case involving member builder Pahlisch Homes and Frontier Communications. According to Wood, the county has asked Pahlisch to do more improvements to a road near a new development than is usually expected of a builder. Pahlisch agreed to do the improvements. Because the builder, not the county, is making the improvements, Frontier has decided that it’s not responsible for moving its utilities, even though it’s the county that is requiring Pahlisch to make the improvements.

“Our monitoring of that is definitely ongoing,” Wood said.

Throw in the HBAMP’s constant monitoring of area tree codes, SDCs, fire marshall requirements and just about anything else that comes up related to homebuilding, and it’s clear that the association provides an incredibly valuable advocacy benefit to all of its members.

To keep up with the HBAMP’s advocacy efforts, visit their blog at www.hbapdx.org/government-relations

The 6 small business relationships you need to get right

Tom EngleThis Biz Tip is courtesy of HBAMP member, Tom Engel, a Business Partner for BBSI in Portland, OR – leading a Business Unit Team that supports a varied small business client base.

It’s that time when we contemplate the year behind us and consider what we want to accomplish in the one to come. For the small business owner, your business relationships are essential to helping your business thrive.

As this is the season of “Resolution” articles, I thought I’d add in my recommendations for the Six Business Relationships that you should establish or elevate – for your business success in 2015 – and a simple standard by which you can judge their quality:

  • Independent Insurance Agent – A good agent can help you not only identify the basics but will have the presence of mind to ask you detailed questions about your business, its specific and industry challenges and where you want it to go. If your agent interaction is nothing more than “quote and go” then you deserve better. There are agents out there who will educate you on the best comprehensive and competitive products to protect what you’ve worked for.
  • P.A. – The proverbial “bean counter” of the business world often occupies a less than exalted position and a once a year engagement around tax time. But for some firms, they can offer you much more to alleviate those business headaches such as: process setup, accounting system assistance, budgeting, audit prep and so forth. An outside set of eyes periodically on your financials can add significant value and identify business opportunities that might not be readily apparent.
  • Small Business Attorney – a good attorney can do much more than help you when things go awry. They are essential counselors to help align your business structure to achieve your goals during: startup and key expansions, establishing partnerships, drafting contracts and so much more. As my attorney friend Katie in Portland once said: “Google is not a good lawyer” and shouldn’t be your primary source of legal advice. While cost will likely prohibit you from putting them on speed dial, an ongoing business engagement, at key times will likely save you significant costs and heartache down the road.
  • IT/Technology Partner – You rely on your internet connections, computers, phones and mobile devices to efficiently run your business and then one day, something goes wrong. If any one of these is interrupted, or the upgrade isn’t working – you are losing time, money and the disruption could be potentially devastating. While you could troubleshoot many issues yourself, most people don’t have the skills. Having a qualified and local technology shop relationship established beforehand – who can maintain and service your tools is a Godsend during these times – and well worth it. You maintain your car and other tools, so why not be proactive with your technology as well?
  • Marketing Partner – You might have the skills, experience and competence to be the best in your field. But unless you’re able to support your business exclusively via word of mouth, you likely need help telling your story. An outside set of eyes and ears that can understand, translate and plan how you connect with the outside world, can mean the difference between modest business and a great year. The added advantage is that a good Marketing relationship serves as a litmus test for how clearly you’re presenting yourself in the marketplace. If they can’t understand you and what you represent – then you had a problem. Where do you want to spend your time, doing what you love or working on your social media and advertising outreach?
  • Banker – When I check in with my current customers I’ve started asking them a simple question: “Do you like your bank?” For ~80% of them the answer is a combination of a resounding “no” or a shoulder shrug and “meh.” For the remaining 20%, they typically cite a handful of local banks with enthusiasm. Much like the previous relationships mentioned, if your bank knows nothing about you or simply provides basic checking savings and credit card services – you can do better. The time will come when you might want a line of credit, capital expansion loan or some other financial engagement. The more established your relationship with a banker that knows you, and is empowered to make decisions, then the better your terms, success and quality of counsel are likely to be when it matters.

In closing, with any of these, there’s a standard by which you should judge the quality of your existing relationship and any you want to upgrade: “Is this someone I’d want to have a beer with.”

As quirky as that might sound, this is borrowed wisdom from my friend Jay, a local brewer and business owner in Portland – and he’s absolutely right. Do any of your partners or prospects demonstrate knowledge, curiosity and genuine interest in you and your work? Do they really get you, your business and motivations? Do you want to spend your precious time with someone who doesn’t?

It’s almost 2015 and if you’re not satisfied with where you’re at in these areas, you can do better. Make it a great one!

Portland featured in Best of American Living Magazine

Winter_Cover_BIALBest In American Living, an e-magazine published by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), recently featured Portland’s Residential Preference Study as an example of regional cooperation done well.

For those unfamiliar with the report, the Residential Preference Study was a joint project between Metro, the HBA of Metro Portland, the Portland Metropolitan Association of Realtors (PMAR), and Portland State University, that examined what housing choices people would make if they had to weigh options, such as a longer commute or higher costs. The result of the survey was an overwhelming preference for single family housing and for mixed-use neighborhoods.

The Residential Preference Survey, along with a few other surveys that found similar results, were discussed in the article, as well as examples of communities that balance housing choice with walkability, such as Orenco Station in Hillsboro. Click here (http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/nahb/bal_2015winter_v2/) to read the full article (page 11).

Free Seminar: Remodeling 101

Register today! Email Jenn B at jennb@hbapdx.org or call (503) 684-1880

Remodel101postcardThinking about Remodeling? Join us May 9

Remodeling 101 is a FREE, in-depth seminar to help educate home owners about the process of remodeling. Industry professionals will discuss all aspects of home remodeling including financing, bidding, and what to expect before, during and after the construction.

Professional remodelers and industry partners will be on hand to exhibit their work or products and answer your questions regarding today’s construction climate and emerging trends.

 

Saturday, May 9, 2015
9:00am – 12:00pm
JMG Conference Center
at the Home Builders Association
15555 SW Bangy Road
Lake Oswego, 97035

 

2015 Tour of Remodeled Homes inspires with latest trends

TRHlogoInnovative remodeling techniques in 10 homes address changing lifestyles

The 16th annual Tour of Remodeled Homes™ presented by Standard TV & Appliance, runs Saturday, March 14, and Sunday, March 15 and is scattered throughout the Portland Metro area. The event showcases the latest trends in home remodeling from the area’s top remodelers and professional designers to provide inspiration to show visitors.

“One of the major trends we are seeing is people deciding to make their ‘old’ home new. It is hard to move when one has been so immersed in a neighborhood for a long period of time,” said Rachel Trice, VP, membership services and events, Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland. “With the new and creative ways to remodel homes, homeowners are able to have the best of both worlds.”

The homes

Of the 10 remodeling projects included in the Tour of Remodeled Homes, five are in Portland, three are in Lake Oswego, one is in Tigard, and one is in Wilsonville. The participating remodelers for this year’s show are Portland Remodel, SLS Custom Homes and Remodeling Inc, Metke Remodeling & Luxury Homes, Mountainwood Homes, Cascade Restoration & Remodeling, Petrina Construction Inc., Arciform, Beisa’s Legacy Construction, and JB Construction Services Inc. paired with Deb Seeley Designs. Descriptions of each of the 10 projects with before and after photos can be found here.

Top trends

This year the designers have worked with homeowners to address needs from empty nesters converting their kids’ former rooms into usable spaces, to “aging in place” remodeling to avoid having to move into a retirement home. Many of the homes also portray the retention of character and design from previous generations.

Some of the remodeling trends visitors will see at the Tour of Remodeled Homes include:

Organization

  • Kitchen islands that offer abundant storage
  • Charging stations for all mobile electronics
  • Pull-out storage for beauty tools
  • Bicycle storage in basement
  • Built-in ironing boards

Bathrooms

  • Free standing soaking tubs
  • Natural light for vanities
  • Built-in makeup vanities
  • Custom built-in niches to hold soap and shampoos

Sustainability

  • Lead paint remediation
  • LED lighting, and added natural light
  • Reclaimed building materials such as tin ceiling panels fir tree floors
  • Energy updates such as newer insulation, energy efficient roofs, windows, and doors, high-efficiency water heaters, and natural gas furnaces
  • Seven out of the 10 homes received Energy Performance Scores (EPS).

Indoor play areas

  • Sport court complete with a basketball hoop and sport floor
  • Exercise rooms

Pet-friendly Features

  • Pull out drawers for dogs
  • Dog-washing stations in mudrooms

Tickets are available now online and include both days Saturday, March 14 and March 15.

Thank you to our 2015 Tour of Remodeled Homes sponsors!

Standard TV logoEnergy Trust of Oregon

Stainmaster

 

cfm-new logo

 

The Fixture GalleryParr Lumber Logo

 

 

 

Eagle Home Mortgage

Pamplin

 

Performance Insulation

 

California Closets

 

 

 

 

 

About HBA PROPROlogo

The Professional Remodelers Organization (PRO) of the Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland consists of the area’s top remodelers, subcontractors and suppliers who work together to promote quality and professionalism in the home remodeling industry. In the past 10 years, the council has grown to over 220 members and currently is the third largest in the United States. For more information, please visit Home Builders Association of Metropolitan Portland or Professional Remodelers Organization

The case against Inclusionary Zoning

By Justin Wood – HBA Staff

august-13-2013-affordability-balance-and-choice-workgroup-5-638Inclusionary Zoning is a practice by which a local jurisdiction can require that a given share of new construction be affordable by people of low to moderate incomes. Currently Oregon and Texas are the only two states in the United States which by law forbid mandatory Inclusionary Zoning. Several times over recent years there have been attempts in our State Legislature to repeal this ban and allow statewide jurisdictions to mandate Inclusionary Zoning in new developments. While our industry has strongly fought the attempted repeal of this ban, many outside of our industry have questioned why the Home Builders Association are so opposed to mandatory Inclusionary Zoning (IZ).

Mandate vs Incentivize

Currently there are no provisions in state law that prohibit a city from doing incentive based IZ or other incentive based ideas to encourage development of affordable new construction. There are a variety of tools available to local jurisdictions by where they can encourage a new development to include some types of affordable new units but as of yet many of these jurisdictions have been unable to provide the right mix of incentives to encourage this type of development. One exception however is the City of Portland. In Portland the City has been able to encourage a number of projects over recent years, which have been built by for-profit and non-profit developers alike, by using incentives. The city of Portland has utilized programs such as SDC waivers, where the city waives SDC fees on homes or projects which are sold or rented to qualified buyers, Tax abatement, where the property gets a break on its taxes for a period of time (10 years) if it is sold or rented to qualified buyers, and urban renewal, where the city is able to subsidize the costs of construction with tax incentives which are made up by the increased value of the new construction over the life of the project. All of these are examples where Portland has been able to promote the kind of development it is looking for, without having to mandate it. It has been the position of the HBAMP that more jurisdictions could look to Portland and for ways to partner with the development community, rather than planning by mandating new rules.

Location, Location, Location

Another issue with IZ in itself is that it supposes that all developments are created equal and that all new developments must have mandated affordable housing. In reality all developments are not created equal and more importantly all developments don’t provide the same level of services to new residents. Usually cost burdened households who benefit from some type of subsidized housing are best served by being in a location that is near jobs, services and has regular transit service. Placing a cost burdened family in an outer suburban location where they do not have access to services and transit, place an additional burden to their budget as they have to rely on a car for all of their employment and service needs. Rather than treating all new developments the same, jurisdictions are better suited to evaluate where affordable housing is needed, where it is best suited, and then work with the development community to best determine the right mix of incentives to encourage its development.

Another part of the location argument is that some have advocated that new Urban Growth Boundary (UGB) Expansion areas should include some type of affordable housing mandate. The problem with this aside from the services and transit argument above is that the sheer number of units in the grand picture is small compared to the types of development our region is expected to see over the next generation. If for example a new UGB area was to add 1,000 new units, a 5 percent affordability mandate would net 50 new units. Whereas the City of Portland is projected to receive well over 100,000 new units over the next 20 years with a large percentage of these units being high density multifamily. If the same 5 percent affordability requirement was placed on growth within the City of Portland, this would net 5,000 new units as opposed to 50. Additionally, the projected growth in the City of Portland within the central core of the city is exactly where the jobs, services and transit are provided so as to not further cost burden these households.

Rent vs Own

Another issue with IZ is that it typically focuses on mandating a certain number of units in a new development for ownership. However a large percentage of our growth being projected in the Portland Metro area is multifamily. Typically multifamily projects are not owned by the residents (unless it is a condo situation) yet they are rented by the tenants and owned by a landlord. If a developer builds a project with affordability requirements on the project and the developer does not plan to be the long term landlord of the project, then the affordability requirements placed upon the project will make the project more difficult to sell to prospective buyers. In addition, when you are talking about projects that are to be rented, IZ is truly not the guiding principle behind providing affordability to tenants. That discussion would focus around rent control. While there is a discussion to be had at the state to examine the idea of rent control and how it related to affordability goals, it is a separate issue than IZ.

Moving Forward

Given our land use system and the constrained land supply within our current cities and counties, the effects of these land use policies will continue to provide for increasing land prices and housing prices across the state. It is important that as an industry we continue to engage with area jurisdictions, elected leaders and the State Legislature to explore ways to create affordable housing options throughout our state. There are tools in the tool box for cities to try and ways to encourage the type of development needed to ensure housing options for people of all incomes, the goal for all of us should be how to best use these tools and what are the barriers faced which must be overcome.

The NEW Ultimate New Home Showcase

UltimateNewHomeShowcsLogoBWThis article appears courtesy of Jon Bell in the February edition of the Home Building News

When the HBAMP first launched the Ultimate Open House a few years ago, it was meant to be a way to help builders sell homes during a time when, quite frankly, homes just weren’t selling.

Originally launched in 2007, the scattered home site show came just at the front end of the economic and housing crash. Over the ensuing years, the annual show featured scores of homes across the metro region that ran the price spectrum from $180,000 to more than $1 million. There have been 1,800-square-foot abodes in Vancouver, a “Made in America” home in Lake Oswego, a 4,500-square-foot Colonial in southwest Portland and many others.

What all the homes had in common — they were all for sale. The Ultimate Open House was aimed to help builders get more people into their homes and, hopefully, buy them.

But times have changed — and so has the home buying market. As a result, the Ultimate Open House is changing this year, too.

“The Ultimate Open House was great when houses were on the market forever and builders were having a harder time selling them,” said Rachel Loveday, the HBAMP’s event and membership coordinator. “Things have changed and now homes are flying off the market the second they’re listed. We’ve adjusted the show because builders might not necessarily need that extra help that we were able to offer.”

Instead, the Ultimate Open House is transforming into more of a builder showcase than an open house tour. Rechristened the Ultimate New Home Showcase, the new show will still feature a wide range of homes across the metro region open to prospective buyers over two weekends. But instead of being an event geared toward selling homes, it will instead be a chance for builders to spotlight their specialties and skills.

“We still want to help the members and give them the resources to help them sell their homes,” said Tom Liesy, owner of TA Liesy Homes Northwest, “but we want the focus to be on the builders and we want to help them showcase their skills and what they can do.”

One of the biggest changes to the show along those lines is the fact that homes entered do not need to be for sale, which was a requirement for homes in the Ultimate Open House. Now, instead, they can be either for sale, already sold or even just a model home that prospects can tour.

“One of the challenges before was that if you didn’t have any homes for sale, you couldn’t be in the show,” said Liesy, who has been a regular participant in the Ultimate Open House over the years. He’ll have two homes in Happy Valley in this year’s show, neither of which will be for sale.

“It’s really just an opportunity to show people what we do,” he said.

Main-ScreenAn app for that

Also new this year is a much more intuitive and comprehensive app that will help tour attendees and builders alike navigate the show. Though the show has had different versions of an app in the past with varying features, this year’s app is on a different level entirely. Called Parade Craze, the app is a national one used for home shows all across the country.

“This one encompasses all the different features that we’ve had in the past,” Loveday said.

Free to download at the App store or elsewhere on the web, the Parade Craze app will list all the properties in the show, along with photos and all the pertinent information. The app features a built-in ticketing option, a rating and comment feature and turn-by-turn directions for each property. It also includes options for expanded listings and social media links. Loveday said Parade Craze itself is very good about sharing through Instagram and other sites; the company’s Instagram page has more than 60,000 followers.

In addition, professional photographers from Parade Craze come and take 15 high-definition photographs of the homes that builders enter into the Ultimate New Home Showcase. App users can then size up the homes virtually from their computer or mobile devices. Builders get to keep the photos after the tour, as well.

“It’s really going to be a great resource for the show,” Liesy said.

Nuts and bolts

The Ultimate New Home Showcase will be held this year over two weekends, April 25-26 and May 2-3. It will run from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. all four days. There will also be a day for Realtors, and there will likely be a chef event in conjunction with some of the homes on the tour. As with last year’s Ultimate Open House, there will be bulk pricing options available for this year’s tour for builders interested in entering more than one home. Builders will also have the option to be a host home or to add additional pictures for their entries, along with other upgrades.

“It will be a very customizable package,” Loveday said.

The Ultimate New Home Showcase is expected to generate approximately $100,000 in media coverage. Marketing efforts will include TV, radio, newspaper and digital advertising strategies as well as an extensive public relations campaign. Each entry in the show also receives a half-page listing in the official event publication and one house sign and four directional signs.

Sponsors for the rebranded showcase include NW Natural and Standard TV & Appliance. The natural gas company will likely offer some incentives, as will Energy Trust of Oregon.

At press time, Loveday said information packets were being finished up and would be available shortly.

Any builders or HBAMP members interested in being part of the show or looking for more information should contact Rachel Loveday at (503) 603-4517 or rachell@hbapdx.org.

Contact Us: Call Us at: 503-684-1880 // Email Us at: info@hbapdx.org