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NAIL The official magazine of Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee President John Zelenak Vice President Keith Porterfield Secretary/Treasurer Justin Hicks Executive Vice President John Sheley Editor and Designer Jim Argo Staff Connie Nicley Charlotte Fischer

THE NAIL is published monthly by the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee, a non-profit trade association dedicated to promoting the American dream of homeownership to all residents of Middle Tennessee. SUBMISSIONS: THE NAIL welcomes manuscripts and photos related to the Middle Tennessee housing industry for publication. Editor reserves the right to edit due to content and space limitations. POSTMASTER: Please send address changes to: HBAMT, 9007 Overlook Boulevard, Brentwood, TN 37027. Phone: (615) 377-1055.

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FEATURES 9 2017 James Hardie Golf Tournament registration

Sign up now to play in the annual tournament this August! Golfers registration includes one ticket to the annual summer party.

10 Keep your branding on message

Consistent branding can help boost your sales. Check out these four tips for keeping your branding on message!

13 Young pros reveal top three IBS takeaways

NAHB welcomed 22 scholarship recipients to IBS 2017. After the Show, they talked to NAHB about the most valuable takeaways.

DEPARTMENTS 6 News & Information 14 SPIKE Club Report 16 June Calendar 16 Chapters and Councils

ON THE COVER: Check out the tips on page 10 (ten) to keep your branding on message and improve your sales numbers. June, 2017


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New home sales slip in April after strong start to year


ales of newly built, single-family homes in April dropped for the first time in 2017, falling 11.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 569,000 units, according to newly released data by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales numbers for the first three months of the year were all upwardly revised, and the March sales pace was the highest since October 2007. “Despite some slowness this month, total new home sales in 2017 are up more than 11 percent from this time last year and builders are optimistic about future market conditions,”

Total new home sales in 2017 are up more than 11 percent from this time last year and builders are optimistic about future conditions.

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said Granger MacDonald, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and a home builder and developer from Kerrville, Texas. “We should see further gains in the months ahead as more prospective home buyers enter the market.” “New home sales were strong in the first three months of 2017, so some pullback in April is to be expected,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “However, our forecast calls for new home sales to increase throughout the year, buoyed by rising household formations, continued job growth and tight existing home inventory.” The inventory of new home sales for sale was 268,000 in April, which is a 5.7-month supply at the current sales pace. The median sales price of new houses sold was $309,200. Regionally, new home sales decreased 4.0 percent in the South, 7.5 percent in the Northeast, 13.1 percent in the Midwest and 26.3 percent in the West. n

Builder confidence continues upward trend


n a further sign that the housing market continues to strengthen, builder confidence in the market for newly-built single-family homes rose two points in May to a level of 70 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI). This is the second highest HMI reading since the downturn. “This report shows that builders’ optimism in the housing market is solidifying, even as they deal with higher building material costs and shortages of lots and labor,” said NAHB Chairman Granger MacDonald. “The HMI measure of future sales conditions reached its highest level since June 2005, a sign of growing consumer confidence in the new home market,” said NAHB Chief Economist

Robert Dietz. “Especially as existing home inventory remains tight, we can expect increased demand for new construction moving forward.” Derived from a monthly survey that NAHB has been conducting for 30 years, the NAHB/ Wells Fargo Housing Market Index gauges builder perceptions of current single-family home sales and sales expectations for the next six months as “good,” “fair” or “poor.” The survey also asks builders to rate traffic of prospective buyers as “high to very high,” “average” or “low to very low.” Scores for each component are then used to calculate a seasonally adjusted index where any number over 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as good than poor.

Housing affordability registers uptick in first quarter


ising wages and moderating home prices offset a rise in mortgage interest rates to give housing affordability a slight boost in the first quarter of 2017, according to the National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index (HOI). In all, 60.3 percent of new and existing homes sold between the beginning of January and end of March were affordable to families earning the U.S. median income of $68,000. This is up from the 59.9 percent of homes sold that were affordable to median-income earners in the fourth quarter. The national median home price fell to $245,000 in the first quarter from $250,000 in the final quarter of 2016. Meanwhile, average mortgage rates rose nearly half a point from 3.84 percent in the fourth quarter to 4.33 percent in the first quarter. For the second straight quarter, Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., was rated the nation’s most affordable major housing market. There, 92.7 percent of all new and existing homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $54,600. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Ind., was rated the nation’s most affordable smaller market, with 96.3 percent of homes sold in the first quarter being afford-

able to families earning the median income of $62,500. For the 18th consecutive quarter, San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco, Calif., was the nation’s least affordable major housing market. There, just 11.8 percent of

Two of the three HMI components registered gains in May. The index charting sales expectations in the next six months jumped four points to 79 while the index gauging current sales conditions increased two points to 76. Meanwhile, the component measuring buyer traffic edged one point down to 51. The three-month moving averages for HMI scores posted gains in three out of the four regions. The Northeast and South each registered three-point gains to 49 and 71, respectively, while the West rose one point to 78. The Midwest was unchanged at 68. Editor’s Note: The NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index is strictly the product of NAHB Economics, and is not seen or influenced by any outside party prior to being released to the public. HMI tables can be found at More information on housing statistics is also available at n

homes sold in the first quarter were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $108,400. All five least affordable small housing markets were also in California. At the very bottom of the affordability chart was Salinas, where 13.8 percent of all new and existing homes sold were affordable to families earning the area’s median income of $63,100. Visit for tables, historic data and details. n

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Desire for new amenities still the top reason to remodel


ccording to remodelers who answered special questions on NAHB’s Remodeling Market Index (RMI) survey for the 1st quarter of 2017, a simple “desire for better/newer amenities” once again ranked as the number one reason customers choose to remodel their homes. On a scale of 1 to 5 (where 1 indicates never or almost never, and 5 is very often), the average remodeler’s response was 4.4. Also once again, “need to repair/replace old components” finished in second place, edged out by “desire for better/newer amenities” by one tenth of a point. These traditional drivers were the only reasons to remodel that with an average rating above 4.0. Another fairly traditional reason, “desire/need for more space” came in third at 3.8. The same three reasons appeared at the top of the list, and in the same order, last year. In fact, the average ratings fell in the same order for all eleven reasons to remodel included on both this year’s and last year’s surveys.

Nevertheless, there were a few differences between the last two iterations of the questions. The average ratings for “desire for better/newer amenities,” “need to repair/replace old components,” “repairing a damaged property,” and “energy efficiency/environmental concerns” each increased by one-tenth of a point. The desire to “avoid moving/buying another home” increased by two tenths of a point. No motivation for remodeling showed a decline in the average rating since last year. It is sometimes easier to see historical

changes by looking at share of remodelers who checked the top options, 4 or 5, in response to the questions about how customers cite particular reasons for remodeling. Since the first time NAHB asked these questions (in 2012), the 4-5 shares are currently at a record high for “desire for better/newer amenities,” “need to repair/replace old components,” and “want to avoid moving/buying another home.“ “Desire for better/newer amenities” and “need to repair/replace old components,” however, set their respective record highs by very narrow margins. Only the share for “desire to avoid moving” was substantially higher than it had ever been before. The only new reason to remodel added to this year’s questionnaire was “to accommodate multi-generational living.” For awhile, NAHB has been hearing anecdotal stories about the emerging significance of multi-generational living, including as a factor that may lead to additional remodeling activity. “Multi-generational living” finished toward the bottom of the list of reasons to remodel in the first quarter 2017 RMI survey, however— ahead only of the two categories that deal with getting existing properties ready to sell. n

New book shows builders and remodelers how to boost profits


uilderBooks, the publishing arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) recently released a new publication, Finding Hidden Profits: A Guide for Custom Builders, Remodelers, and Architects. In this second edition of his popular book, Dennis A. Dixon takes readers step-by-step through a construction project, from choosing the right clients, to sales, negotiations and managing the project. With an emphasis on the importance of clear communication in all steps of the project, Dixon shows readers how to get orga-

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nized, stay organized and communicate with clients so that expectations are understood at the beginning of a project. These key steps will minimize issues during the process and increase customer satisfaction—and in turn, a business’ bottom line. According to Dixon, profits can be increased through five key elements: allowances, change orders, payment schedules, detailed specifications and a comprehensive contract. While plans and specs are never perfect, a well-written contract that includes figures, details and addresses other potential client questions, will save time and money in the long-run. Dennis A. Dixon is a licensed general contractor for both residential and commercial projects. Since 1984, Dixon Ventures, Inc. and Dixon Builders have completed more than 300 custom homes and remodel venues, as well as numerous commercial projects. Dixon has been an industry leader in construction and design continuing education since 1994, through magazine articles, consulting, seminars, tradeshows and even a call-in radio show.

Finding Hidden Profits is available for purchase ($29.95 Retail/$$27.95 NAHB Member, ISBN 978-0-86718-754-0) at BuilderBooks. com or by calling 800-223-2665. The ebook is available at ($20.99 Retail/$17.99 for NAHB Members). n

Please return your completed registration form (provided below) to the HBAMT to enter. ALL COMPANIES & SINGLE PLAYERS ENTERING MUST BE A MEMBER OF THE HBAMT.

CONTACT ________________________________ COMPANY _____________________________________ EMAIL ___________________________________ PHONE ________________________________________ Print names of players. Four (4) players per team ($210.00 per player). Players reserving for ONE only ($225.00) will be assigned a foursome. 1.) _________________________________________ 2.) _____________________________________________ 3.) _________________________________________ 4.) _____________________________________________ Check your preference (to accommodate all golfers we are hosting two rounds): r Morning Round | r Afternoon Round _______ No. of players x $210.00 or One (1) player for $225.00 | Make checks payable to HBAMT; call 377-1055 to pay by cc Return: HBAMT - 9007 Overlook Blvd, Brentwood, TN 37027 | Fax: 615-377-1077 |

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Keep your branding on message

Check out these four tips to keep your branding consistent.


hen Josh Berghuis started his company, he had one mission: Be the go-to modern contemporary builder in his area. “There are a lot of great builders and a lot of competition where we are,” says Berghuis, owner of Berghuis Construction in Walker, Michigan. “We had to find a way to distinguish ourselves with our branding in order to show that we were unique and a little bit edgy.” Berghuis, a member of the HBA of Michigan, has since built a name for himself and his company in his area as a custom home builder whose specialty is unique, modern projects. “When people see contemporary houses in our area they ask if we’ve done them,” he says. “It starts with branding. We always go back to our goal of being the go-to modern contemporary builder for our area and we make sure all of our branding represents that well. We always keep that mission in mind and that makes our branding consistent.” Here are four areas to stay consistent in your branding: Photography The images you showcase in your projects are the best representation of the work you can do. Consistency in your photos can help home owners associate certain styles or looks with your company. “Photographs are the most important thing for our branding because that’s what people see first, even before they read any text,” says Cass McNinch of Aberdeen Building Group and a member of the Greater Houston Builders Association in Texas. “I have one photographer and I use her every time so the images we get are consistent.” Once you receive the images from the shoot, choose the ones that are the most representative of your brand. “Once I get the photographs, I won’t put every one online, just the ones that I think showcase our work the best,” McNinch says. “It’s not necessarily always about having the same style of work because the work we do for our clients is fairly broad, but I want all of the photographs we post to have a consistent style in terms of good composition and lighting.” Storytelling How you describe yourself and your company on your website and Houzz profile is a great opportunity to define your brand for potential clients. The words you use and the story you tell contribute to a home owner’s overall perception of your business. Berghuis’ mission to stand out as a unique, modern builder lead him to create a website that deviated from the websites of other traditional builders. “We don’t have the typical ‘About

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Us’ page with the typical fonts and wording,” says Berghuis, whose website is a stark modern gray with block lettering and alternating bright yellow fonts. “Everything is done with purpose. We want to think outside the box and do something different so people view us differently.” Reviews Reviews are the No.1 thing home owners look at when deciding whether to hire a professional. The more reviews you have, the more potential customers can read and learn about the way you work with clients and complete projects. They’re an essential part of your brand. “Reviews are incredibly important to our business since more people are finding us online and clients seem to be relying on those reviews more than word of mouth these days,” says Colin Flavin of Flavin Architects in Boston, a member of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont. “We always ask for a review as the project is approaching completion and we ask if they could talk specifically about our design work and what it was like to work with our team. Those are two of our strengths and we want our reviews to reflect our brand.” The home improvement and interior design website Houzz allows you to respond to your reviews with a short thank you message and ‘Like’. Community The way you work with home owners online is indicative of the way you interact with potential clients offline. Spending time answering questions and sharing your expertise on forums and discussions shows homeowners you’re a business that likes to help, both online and in person. “We’ve found that answering a few quick questions shows that we’re generous with our knowledge and willing to help people in general,” says Jenny Sneller of Sneller Custom Homes in Spring, Texas, who is also a member of the Houston HBA. “It’s not always easy to see the immediate business benefit when we’re helping people out of our area, but we really are just in it to help people. That’s part of our brand and now people know us as a business that genuinely wants to help.” In addition, any comments you leave on discussions or photos on Houzz appear on your Houzz profile, so prospective clients visiting your profile get a sense for what it’s like to work with you. Interested in learning more about building your brand online? Download the free ebook from Houzz here. Additionally, Houzz provides special benefits for NAHB/HBAMT members - check it out here. n

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Young pros reveal top three IBS takeaways A

pplications are now being accepted for the IBS 2018 Scholarship Program, allowing select NAHB members under 35 years of age to enjoy all the benefits of attending the NAHB International Builders’ Show® — practically for free. NAHB welcomed 22 scholarship recipients to IBS 2017. After the Show, they talked to NAHB about the most valuable takeaways. PRODUCTS AND MORE PRODUCTS With over 569,000 square feet and more than 1,500 exhibitors, IBS is often where manufacturers unveil new products. It is also the place to find out what’s hot and what’s not in fixtures, finishes and building applications. “It was absurd — in a positive way,” said Laila Reilly, a client relations manager at MaGrann Associates in Mount Laurel, N.J. “It was bigger than any other conference I’ve attended, and I’ve never seen such sophisticated demonstrations before.” “I learned about the new products that are coming out and got new ideas—both of which are critical in my profession, the high-end custom home building market,” said Nicole Chappie of Magleby Construction, LLC in Lindon, Utah. Additionally, with more than 75 exhibitors and over 20,000 square feet of display space, the giant nextBUILD area at IBS was where attendees explored state-of-the-art business software solutions, design and personal technology tools. “I signed up with a project management software vendor that was there,” said Nathan Cooper, owner and president of River Valley Builders, Inc. in Little Rock, Ark. Because technology companies were conveniently grouped together on the show floor, “I was able to get all of my questions answered and make a decision right there.”

ovations LLC in Atlanta. A full registration is the way to go, said Chris Corder, owner of Coastal Restoration in Gearhart, Oregon. “Rather than fussing around with education throughout the year, why not go to something like IBS where you get it all in one spot?”

NETWORKING WITH PROS Building industry professionals of all ages attend the Builders’ Show to network with folks from all across the country. Whether it’s walking the show, listening to a seminar or attending an event, there are always opportunities to make connections. “We all come from such varied backgrounds, so it was interesting getting to learn their history, where they are from and what they do,” said Jordan Okimura, a financial analyst for Brookfield Residential Hawaii. “I enjoyed the whole aspect of the IBS scholarship program,” said Jonathan Janacek, of Janacek Remodeling in Northwest Arkansas. “I made some good connections with many in the [scholarship] group. I enjoyed finding out what some of their struggles are and learning how we are similar in some respects and different in others.” Applications to the 2018 program must be received by June 21. Get the details now. n

EDUCATIONAL OFFERINGS IBS 2017 featured more than 160 education sessions on 55+ housing, building performance, design, sales, remodeling, high-performance building, business management and multifamily. “Education was my primary reason for going. I learned a lot of great tips, techniques and trade secrets—things that I’ve been able to apply to my business already,” said Dan Souther, owner of Round Here RenJune, 2017


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SPIKE REPORT Tim Ferguson Jim McLean Louise Stark Harry Johnson Steve Cates C.W. Bartlett

Thirteen SPIKES (in bold) increased their recruitment numbers last month. What is a SPIKE? SPIKES recruit new members and help the association retain members. Here is the latest SPIKE report as of April 30, 2017. Top 20 Big Spikes Mitzi Spann Terry Cobb Jim Fischer John Whitaker James Carbine Jennifer Earnest Trey Lewis David Crane Kevin Hale Reese Smith III Steve Moody James Franks Davis Lamb Jackson Downey

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748 569 566 510 371 356 348 295 294 261 219 218 200 182

177 164 163 146 142 138

Life Spikes Sam Carbine 131 Tonya Esquibel 127 Steve Hewlett 119 B.J. Hanson 115 Carmen Ryan 114 Jordan Clark 113 Dave McGowan 106 Duane Vanhook 95 Wiggs Thompson 94 John Zelenak 89 Jeff Zeitlin 87 Helmut Mundt 83 Michael Dillon 80 Erin Richardson 76 Randall Smith 75 Christina Cunningham 72 Lori Fisk-Conners 65 Don Bruce 62 Beth Sturm 61 Justin Hicks 60 David Hughes 56 Joe Morgan 54 John Broderick 54

Marty Maitland Andrew Neuman Ron Schroeder John Ganschow Bryan Edwards Derenda Sircy Keith Porterfield Ashley Crews Ricky Scott Don Mahone Phillip Smith

50 50 48 47 44 43 38 32 32 26 26

Spikes Frank Tyree 24 Rick Olszewski 22 Jody Derrick 20 Jay Elisar 19 Frank Jones 17 John Burns 15 Gina Hewlett 10 Kenny Burd 10 Pam Smith 10 Will Montgomery 9 Perry Pratt 8 Bob Bellenfant 7 Stacy DeSoto 7 Rob Pease 7 McClain Franks 6

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JUNE Calendar Sunday










MTSMC meeting






















Metro/Nashville Chapter meeting

Dickson County Chapter meeting

HBAMT Remodelers Council meeting















Chapters & Councils CHAPTERS CHEATHAM COUNTY CHAPTER Chapter President - Roy Miles: 615/646-3303 Cheatham County Chapter details are being planned. Next meeting: to be announced. Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 310 DICKSON COUNTY CHAPTER Chapter President - Mark Denney: 615/446-2873. The Dickson County Chapter meets on the third Monday of the month, 12:00 p.m. at the Ponderosa Restaurant in Dickson. Next meeting: Monday, May 19. Topic: to be announced. Price: FREE, lunch dutch treat. Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 307 MAURY COUNTY CHAPTER Maury County Chapter details are currently being planned. Next meeting: to be announced. Chapter RSVP line: 615-377-9651, ext. 312; for callers outside the 615 area code, 1-800-571-9995, ext. 312 METRO/NASHVILLE CHAPTER Chapter President - John Whitaker: 615/843-3300. The Metro/Nashville Chapter meets on the fourth Monday of the month, 11:30 a.m. at the HBAMT offices. Next meeting: Monday, June 20. Topic: to be announced. Builders Free pending sponsorship. Price: $10 per person with RSVP ($20 w/o RSVP). Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 304 ROBERTSON COUNTY CHAPTER

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Next meeting: to be announced. Robertson County RSVP line: 615-377-9651, ext. 313.

sponsorship; $20 for non-members with RSVP ($25 w/o). Council RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 308

SUMNER COUNTY CHAPTER The Sumner County Chapter meets on the fourth Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. at the new Hendersonville Library. Next meeting: to be announced. Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 306

HBAMT REMODELERS COUNCIL Council President - Ricky Scott. The HBAMT Remodelers Council meets on the third Wednesday of the month at varying locations. Next meeting: Wednesday, June 21. Location: to be announced. Topic: to be announced. Price: free for RMC members with RSVP; $15 for non-members with RSVP ($20 w/o). Council RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 301

WILLIAMSON COUNTY CHAPTER Chapter President - BJ Hanson: 615/884-4935. The Williamson County Chapter meets on the third Tuesday of the month, 11:30 a.m. at the HBAMT offices. Next meeting: to be announced. Builders Free pending sponsorship. Price: $10 per person with RSVP ($20 w/o RSVP). Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 305 WILSON COUNTY CHAPTER The Wilson County Chapter meets on the second Thursday of the month, 11:30 a.m. at the Five Oaks Golf & Country Club in Lebanon. Next meeting: to be announced. Chapter RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 309 COUNCILS GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL Council President - Erin Richardson: 615/883-8526. The Green Building Council meets on the fourth Wednesday of the month, 11:00 a.m. Next meeting: to be announced. Topic: to be announced. Price: free for Green Building Council members pending

INFILL BUILDERS COUNCIL The Infill Builders meets on the third Thursday of the month, 11:30 a.m. at the HBAMT offices until further notice. Next meeting: to be announced. Council RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 311 MIDDLE TENN SALES & MARKETING COUNCIL Council President - Ashley Crews. The SMC meets on the first Thursday of the month, 9:00 a.m. at the HBAMT offices. Next meeting: Thursday, June 1, 9:00 a.m. at the HBAMT. Topic: to be announced. SMC members free pending sponsorship; non-SMC members $25 w/RSVP, $35 w/o RSVP Council RSVP Line: 615/377-9651, ext. 302.

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The Nail, June, 2017  

The June, 2017 issue of The Nail, the official monthly publication of the Home Builders Association of Middle Tennessee (HBAMT).