Page 1

OCTOBER 2016

? ll e S o t y d a e Getting R

Top Remodeling Projects HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Completes its 6th Home Makeover

Engage More, Earn More


area rugs

awesome

Add Life to any Room with a Beautiful Area Rug in a Variety of Styles, Shapes, Fabrics, Colors and Sizes.

FLOORING • TILE • WINDOW TREATMENTS • AREA RUGS • CARPET CLEANING

RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL Fivepointville • Wyomissing Lancaster • Camp Hill

610-376-7799

PA005901

www.martinsflooring.com


Contents 2016 HBA Berks Board of Directors OFFICERS President James E. Gavin, Esquire

Masano Bradley, Attorneys At Law (Wyomissing)

Features: 5

Five Things Renters Should Know About Owning

6

A Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out: The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Completes its 6th Home Makeover

1st Vice President Cathy Sloan, CGR, CAPS, CGP

Hartman’s Home Improvements (Temple)

2nd Vice President Larry Kehres

L A Kehres Building & Remodeling (Leesport)

10 Getting Ready to Sell?

Here are some of the Top Remodeling Projects

22 The Housing Market Is Finally

24 Leave No Lending Stone

Immediate Past President Edward F. Anewalt IV, CLP Anewalt’s Landscape Contracting

12 The New Home

Buying/Building Process

30 When it’s an OSHA violation…

Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc. (Temple)

4

From the President HBA of Berks County President Jim Gavin.

31

Membership Pages New and returning members, member to member discount programs, and an overview of all Association-related events for August–December 2016.

Tom Watts

Empire Building Products (Leesport)

Bursich Associates, Inc. (Pottstown)

John Schmoyer

and when it’s not

Departments:

Diane Salks

Jason Jenkins

Building Relationships with Realtors 101

to Grow Your Business

David Hallowell

Tompkins VIST Bank (Wyomissing)

Unturned to Generate More Sales

28 Creating Meaningful Relationships

Heffleger Kitchen Center (Reading)

ASSOCIATE DIRECTORS Sherrie Hallowell

Starting to Look Healthy

26 Engage More, Earn More:

BB&T (Allentown)

Advanced Construction Solutions, LLC (Newmanstown)

Angles:

Secretary / Treasurer Evan L. Hand, III

BUILDER / REMODELER DIRECTORS Brian Bogert

OCTOBER 2016

16 PBA Right-to-Know Law

Fact Sheet

20 The 5 Pillars That Create

The Value of Membership

Fulton Mortgage Company (Wyomissing)

Jim McCarthy

McCarthy Engineering Associates, Inc. (Wyomissing)

HBA STAFF Janet Campis

Executive Officer & At Home in Berks Editor-in-Chief

Bethany Feinauer

Administrative Assistant

For Advertising Opportunities: call 610.685.0914 Ext. 1 Read At Home In Berks magazine Online at HBAberks.org The written and visual contents of this magazine are protected by copyright. Reproduction of print or digital articles without written permission from Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc., and/or the Home Builders Association of Berks County is forbidden. The placement of paid advertisements does not imply endorsement by HBA of Berks County.

Publisher: Hoffmann Publishing Group, Inc. 610.685.0914 2921 Windmill Road, Suite 4, Sinking Spring, PA 19608 Graphic Designer: Kim Lewis


FROM THE PRESIDENT

What can we do together?

O

n January 20, 1961, speaking for the first time as our newly sworn-in president, John F. Kennedy uttered the immortal words, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Regardless of whether you are democrat, republican, or independent, I think we can all agree those words convey a very profound message. They are a call for action. The message could not be more clear – is it is better to contribute than to seek entitlement. It is a message that should resonate with all of us and has far reaching implications. Imagine for a moment in what other situations these words have meaning. Maybe we could suggest to parents and children in our communities to ask not what your school can do for you, but what you can do for your school. Employees could ask not what your company can do for you, but what you can do for your company. And even, perchance, ask not what your professional association can do for you, but what can you do for your professional association. Professional associations, like the Home Builders Association of Berks County, are entirely voluntary organizations. We are completely self-defined and self-directed. We are what we want to be. Who we are and what we will be are completely determined by the contribution of our membership. As members of the association, we get out of it what we put into it. On occasion I am asked, “What’s in it for me?” or I might hear a question like, “What do I get for my membership?” In all of these cases I provide a similar answer. The HBA will give you everything you want and more, but you need to be an active participant to make it happen. 4

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

As we enter the last quarter of the year at the HBA, the process of planning for the upcoming year has begun. There are so many opportunities for members to increase their contribution to the association. There are many committees to join. If you like, you can be part of the planning of the Parade of Homes or Lobsterfest. You can become an active member of the government affairs committee and help influence legislation. Opportunities are also available on the education committee where you can influence the education of your peers, the public, and students looking to join the construction industry. Last, but by no means least, you can become actively involved in the Restoring Hope Foundation and improve the lives of others – one family at a time. Each and every opportunity requires members to contribute a little bit of their time, and a lot of their ideas. At the HBA, we need both because it is what we do together that will have the greatest impact on all of us. Although those words of President Kennedy are the most remembered and most quoted to this day, they were not the only thing he said on the day of his inauguration. In the very next sentence, President Kennedy said, “My fellow citizens of the world, ask not what America will do for you, but together what we can do for the freedom of man.” So current and future members of the Home Builders Association, let me ask you – what can we do together? James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley, Attorneys At Law, 2016 HBA of Berks County President


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

FEATURES

Five Things Renters Should

F

Know About Owning

or renters who aspire to be home owners, transitioning from an apartment to a house requires a shift in their thinking that they may not be prepared to make. The financial changes that come with owning, the need to consider planting longer-term roots in a neighborhood, and new neighborhood rules are things renters may not be thinking about enough. As their real estate agent, it’s important for you to be there for your clients when they’re embarking on a life-changing event such as buying a home. Moving can already be one of the most stressful times in a person’s life, but it may be doubly so for a new home owner. In order to be their most reliable resource, using your knowledge and experience to provide them with guidance, share these helpful nuggets of information with your clients so their transition from renter to owner can be as smooth as possible. 1. They need to understand how their financial investment is changing. Renters may see an increase in their monthly rent every lease term, but they don’t see exactly where it goes — toward property taxes and insurance, even “luxuries” such as trash pickup.

#1

They need to understand how their financial investment is changing.

#2

As home owners, they don’t have a landlord who handles all those details, so they need to be ready to juggle the financial responsibilities of home ownership. Have an open conversation with your clients about these changes and the importance of budgeting to make sure they make smart financial decisions during this process. 2. They need to be happy with their location for the long-term. As a renter, you can bounce around from home to home every year if you want. But when you own a home, you have to stay put — unless you plan on renting it out, which most home owners don’t. Impress upon your client that location is going to play a much more significant role in their future, so they should think about evaluating school districts, access to amenities, and commute time now as they search for their next home. 3. They may need to abide by new rules. Renters don’t think about possible homeowner association rules they may be governed by; such as trash pickup rules or any curfews or rules pertaining to animals. Make sure to get all the information on neighborhood rules and associations to help your client understand what their new obligations will be.

They need to be happy with their location for the long-term.

#3

They may need to abide by new rules.

4. They’ll need to get into the mindset of an owner. Life as your client knows it is about to change. Once your client purchases a new home, they will no longer have a landlord to tend to their many needs, including lawn care and plumbing. The best way you can help them as their real estate agent is to provide them with contact information for local industry experts. They will eventually need certified specialists ranging from HVAC companies to carpenters to electricians. Let them know they don’t have to do everything themselves. 5. They should know their neighbors can affect their value. Renters don’t care who their neighbors are as long as they’re quiet (enough). But your client is now going to want to know whether their new neighbors are renters or home owners. This knowledge can help your clients gauge current and future home value in the neighborhood. If the neighborhood consists mostly of rental properties, it is likely a home owner will lose money on his or her house in the future. Renters do not always feel responsible for maintaining their properties the way home owners do. Property value comes down to curb appeal. Lessappealing neighborhoods often have more-appealing prices, which is not always good for buyers and home owners.

#4

They’ll need to get into the mindset of an owner.

#5

They should know their neighbors can affect their value. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

5


FEATURES

A Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out:

The HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Completes its 6th Home Makeover By Dawn Wivell

T

he HBA Restoring Hope Foundation (RHF) completed its biggest and most expansive remodel by far (about twice the size of previous builds) in just eight days. From Friday, September 9 through Friday, September 16, nearly a hundred volunteers took on the task of remodeling the Yarosz family home in Shillington. And on Saturday, September 17, friends, family, neighbors, and volunteers welcomed the family home for the “Big Reveal.�

6

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

About the Yarosz Family Christian Yarosz of Shillington and his eight children – Emily (22), Aric (20), Hannah (17), Zoe (14), Olivia (12), Mia (10), Juliet (8), and Claire (6) were this year’s recipients of the HBA Restoring Hope Foundation Build. Emily is in Michigan working on her doctorate, Aric is attending Millersville University, Hannah is in her first year at Penn State, and the other children attend Governor Mifflin School District. The family had been living with a hole in their kitchen ceiling (the result of a leak in the shower/bathroom above), broken windows, and other issues with their home for years because Christian admitted that he had to put the needs of his family before home repairs.

This Year’s Build The remodel included updates to almost every room in the house (including repairs to the hole in the kitchen ceiling). Eric Keller, this year’s project Co-Chair, says, “This was the biggest build that we have ever done. The biggest challenge was completing everything we had planned in the allotted time. But we did it!” Diane Salks, Chair of the RHF, adds, “We were only able to do this build through the generous donation of funds, products, services, labor and our wonderful volunteers.”

The Value of the Remodel The value of the remodel is estimated to be between $110,000 and $130,000. Here is a list of some of the improvements on this year’s project: • New wiring • New roof • Eight new windows • New flooring throughout first and third floor and some of the second floor • Brand new bathroom (also expanded) • Brand new kitchen (including demolition of wall between kitchen and dining room) • Aging wallpaper stripped from several walls and new paint throughout entire house • New High Efficient HVAC system • New landscaping • New railing on front porch • All new dry-wall on the third floor • New closet added to one bedroom • New furniture where needed • New ceiling in one bedroom • Drywall repairs and patching throughout • Refinished fireplace surround and new mantle and screen • New blinds and windows throughout most of the home • Refinished dining room table • New toilet in powder room • A new security system

Continued on page 8

OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

7


FEATURES Beyond the sheer size of this year’s project, Larry Kehres, this year’s project Co-Chair, shared these other challenges: • Attempting to work on all three floors at the same time with just one stairway and narrow hallways • Framing issues due to an all-masonry exterior structure • Having to remove the cement wet-bed in the existing bathroom before repairing the floor • Electrical service panel being labeled incorrectly • Re-routing existing electric and running new electric for the kitchen and bathroom to meet new code standards • Plumbing waste lines leaking due to outdated and faulty piping and finding alternate areas to run new plumbing waste and water lines • … and finally bees. Yes, lots of bees. A few volunteers got stung. A bee keeper removed them (the bees, not the volunteers) from the wall, but some time was lost until they were sure it was safe to continue.

Was it Worth All the Sweat and Tears?

A day after the 6th annual Big Reveal, Deb Martzall, the lead designer on this year’s build, received this text from Christian:

“Ok… so I got up early to go watch the water thingy turn on and start watering the plants. Then, I went and made a cup of coffee in my incredible kitchen and sat in my chair in what can’t possibly be my living room and stared at the great artwork and sweet family portrait hanging on the walls. Now, I’m debating taking my first shower in the greatest bathroom of all time. All this before the sun is even up, and I owe it all to every last one of you guys. This place is more beautiful than we could have dreamed and I’d be blowing up everyone’s phone at 6:34 am if I had all their numbers. Thank you, Deb, from the bottom of my heart for everything you put into this.” Yeah, it’s worth it!

The Process of Finding a Recipient

First, the request for applications goes out the beginning of the year. Those applicants are evaluated (including criminal and credit checks, a review of the family’s bank statements, and confirmation that they own the house and that their property taxes are paid) and the finalists visited (often multiple times) before the final decision is made. Then, the board has the daunting task of choosing just one family to receive this amazing gift – one hard-working family that, due to unforeseen circumstances, could use a hand. Plus, the work needs to be within the scope of what the Foundation can provide – in both time and money.

8

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Once the family is chosen and the announcement made, the builders and designers begin planning the actual remodel – what projects will be done, what materials are needed, and what skill-sets are required to complete the work? A plan for each room of the house is created. Then, the Foundation begins acquiring the materials; finding organizations willing to donate equipment, such as a mini-pod, porta-potties, dumpsters, etc.; soliciting monetary donations for items not donated; enlisting and scheduling volunteers for the build; locating a place for the family to stay during the build and a limo to take them to the Big Reveal; marketing and spreading the word about the build; and finding an organization willing to feed the volunteers during the build. All this before the actual “work” begins. Then, for eight days a plethora of volunteers help transform the home. Some come for a few hours, and some are there every day. Some are professionals, and some are complete novices. Usually, a few previous recipients also offer a hand. They all came to give one family a hand-up.

Then, on the day of the “Big Reveal,” family, friends, neighbors, and volunteers get to tour the home to see everything that’s been done to the home, and, finally, the family arrives in style in a huge black limo. Amid applause and tears of joy, the family sees their new home for the first time.

About HBA Restoring Hope Foundation

HBA Restoring Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established after the popular television show, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, came to Berks County in 2010. Many Berks County businesses and individuals who were involved with the Extreme Makeover project wanted to continue giving back to the community. The Foundation’s mission is “to construct solutions to address unique challenges of deserving people in Berks County,” its goal is “to help restore the lives of middle-income working families who have fallen on tough times”, and its focus is on giving a “hand-up, not a handout.”

You Can Also Make a Difference

Restoring Hope has already begun the process of accepting applications for the 2017 build. If you know anyone who could use a hand-up, please let them know about this great opportunity. If you are interested in helping next year, you will find an application on the RHF website at www.HBArestoringhope.org.

OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

9


FEATURES

? ll e S o t y d a e Getting R Here are some of the

Top Remodeling Projects

A

s the fall home selling season approaches, home owners considering planning to place their properties on the market should know about remodeling projects that return the most value and increase selling likelihood with better curb appeal or popular features. Housing market data reveals that small, smart remodels reward home owners with better return on investment and can help update a home for a better sale. The following are some of the top remodeling projects; use these to begin planning your conversion during National Remodeling Month.

What can a HELOC do for YOU? A home equity line of credit is the cushion you need when you’re faced with anything life throws at you. Apply once for revolving funds and have years of spending possibilities! Visit your local office or give us a call at 800.242.2120 to apply! Exeter • Reading • Shillington • West Lawn

visionsfcu.org Federally insured by NCUA.

10

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

1. 1. Install a new steel door. It may not sound like the most exciting addition, but it’s one of the financially savviest decisions you could make in your remodeling adventure. Exterior work in general seems to offer the biggest bang for your buck in terms of resale, simply because the exterior appearance of the home could make (or break) a potential home sale. While the appearance of a steel door isn’t the main concern, it’s the security and savings it offers that attract homebuyers. By providing better insulation than alternative front doors, this can be an attractive pro in the eyes of the potential buyer. Houselogic


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

4. Replace the garage door(s). Home owners usually see about an 84% return on garage door replacement. While it improves your curb appeal, it’s an easy, inexpensive way to bump up savings in heating/cooling energy and security. It’s likely that a new door will be well-insulated and sealed, making the garage a more comfortable and enjoyable space to spend time in, whether it’s used for a studio, workshop, or even a playroom for the kids.

2. 2. Remodel the bathroom. Payback on remodeling a bathroom can reach 75% with new fixtures, tile, toilet, vanity, and lighting. Low flow toilets consume less water and can decrease the monthly water bill. A new attraction that’s beginning to be seen in American homes is a centered bathtub. According to the 2015 Home Design Trends, large, well-designed tubs are becoming the center of attention. They are pulled away from the wall and are treated almost like pieces of art. This continues the “bathroom as a spa” trend that is becoming big in both new homes and remodeling projects. Realtor.com

4. 5. Attic bedroom conversion. Converting your dusty attic into a functional bedroom can add huge value to your home; adding a bathroom can add the same value to your home that a complete two-story addition would. It may not add to the square footage of the overall home, but it adds another bedroom; this may put the home in a new category and allow you to charge more as a seller. CBS News Smart remodeling projects for improving the home can attract buyers and make the home more comfortable.

3. 3. Remodel the basement. Today, buyers are looking for as much usable, move-in ready space as possible. Having a finished basement could sway potential homebuyers into becoming the new home owners. Regardless of whether you turn your basement into a living space, a rec room, or a bar/lounge area, it’s sure to attract potential buyers that may not have been interested before.

5. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

11


FEATURES

The New Home

Buying/Building Process

B

uying a brand new home is a big decision and an important investment, and there is a lot to think about. You want to buy with confidence, enjoy the experience and know that you have made the best decision for you and your family. If you are building a new home, the more you know about the process, the more enjoyable your experience is likely to be.

Typically, the process of buying a brand new home takes place over time and in several stages. To start, you want to take some time determining your priorities, define what you want in a home, where you want to live, how much you want to spend, and then explore what’s available. Once you have narrowed your choices down to one community, one builder, and one home, you are ready to work out the details and sign a contract with your builder. Then it’s time to step back and let the builder do the work. Phases and the overall process will vary – based on area, builder, weather, etc. This guide is meant to give you a general understanding of how the process works. Talk to your builder when it’s time to discuss a process specific to your build.

12

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

Phase 1: Research

Get off to a great start by doing some pre-planning before you go house hunting. Discuss with everyone in your household what they want in a new home and surroundings. Make lists of what’s important and divide them into must-haves and would-be-nice-to-haves. Also think about what you absolutely don’t want to live with. Here are some of the things you should consider: • The community – traffic, distance to work, schools, shopping, parks, etc. • Your home – size, layout, energy efficiency, outdoor spaces, etc. Will you want a completely custom-built home or a more standardized home? • Financing – down payment you can afford, monthly payments you can afford, and other financial obligations. Start by checking in with your local builders’ association. Know which lenders and builders are members. Check ads in newspapers to get a sense of what is being offered in the current market. Talk with friends, neighbors and co-workers who may have recently gone through the same process.


Explore your options:

Visit home shows, research online, and visit builders’ model homes and sales offices; the key to successful home hunting is to take your time. Don’t rush. Take a thorough look at everything and ask questions – lots of them. The builder or salesperson should be ready and pleased to answer each question. Sales offices will often have a complete information package on the homes, the development and the community, including schools and other facilities. And keep in mind that a builder’s model home is usually just one of several designs offered.

The Builder:

You should shop around for your builder as carefully as you do for your home. • Is the company a member of the local Home Builders Association? Membership is an important indication of their professionalism. • Is the company associated with a particular new home warranty program? • How long has the company been in business, and on average, how many homes do they build annually? • Where else have they built and/or are they building now? (It’s worth a quick tour to see if you like the finished results.) • Notice the quality of any current job sites. • Will they give you the names of past customers for references? (Do check with a few to find out if they are satisfied and would recommend the builder.) • Ask about after-sales service. A professional builder has an established follow-up system. • Find out, in detail, what the warranty on your home covers. • What is the recommended deposit? Can you make a refundable deposit to hold the home/lot for a few days or a week while you make a final decision? • Are you expected to make milestone payments throughout construction or pay the full price of the home, less deposit, on the day you take possession? • When can construction begin, and when can you expect to move in? • Who will your contact person be, before and during construction of your home? • What is the policy on change orders? • Would you be able to visit your home during construction? Continued on page 14 OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

13


FEATURES

Voted Best Berks Landscaper Again!

Design Create Maintain Woman Owned

Phase 2: Pre-Construction VISIT BERKS COUNTY’S

PREMIER

GARDEN CENTER Where you can preview your prints and plants!

ER NN

WI

ER NN

WI

2 01 5

Schedule Your Installation Today!

CUSTOM DESIGNS & INSTALLATION Commercial & Residential Services Landscaping | Hardscaping Ponds, Water Features & Waterfalls Property Maintenance Services 3049 Pricetown Rd. (Rt. 12) Temple, PA riverviewtree.com (610) 929-5049

PA #005859

14

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

Finally, it’s time to make some important decisions. When you know enough to move forward, you’ll want to get pre-approved by your lender. When you have found the home you want, and you are confident that you are dealing with a professional builder, you will be able to begin developing plans for your new home. The contract, or purchase agreement, is your opportunity to verify your purchase. It should include a detailed description of your home, including features and finishes, and spell out whether they are standard or upgrades, and any additional costs. Before you sign, you and your builder will review the contract together. This ensures that both parties agree to exactly the same thing. Finalized plans will be submitted for necessary permits, which may be required for all or some of the following work: building, electrical, plumbing, septic system and sewer connection. A number of site tests may also be necessary that can result in final engineering adjustments to your plans.

Phase 3: Foundation The foundation is the structure on which the rest of your house is built. Whether it is stone, concrete, steel or wood; a basement, crawl space, pilings, or slab on grade, it needs to be strong, square and dry. You may want to seriously consider a waterproofing system that will protect areas below grade. An initial inspection of the foundation may be required before the outside perimeter is back-filled. At this time, the builder may ask you to begin making your selections on flooring, tiles, cabinets and so on. While it will be weeks before these items are installed, they must be ordered early to prevent delays later.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Phase 4: Framing

Phase 6: Interior Finishes

Many people consider the framing stage to be the most exciting because you can watch the basic structure take shape pretty quickly. When the crew finishes the first floor deck, you will finally be able to take your first walk around your new home.

When everything has been roughed-in properly, it’s time to finish the walls, install the doors & trim, hang cabinets, put down flooring, etc.

Exterior walls, interior partitions and the roof are assembled during framing. Windows and doors are installed. The builder will want to get “under roof ” as quickly as possible to protect the structure from the elements. Electrical and plumbing services are roughed in and ducting for heating, cooling and ventilation is put in place. During this time, there may be a structural inspection required to ensure the home is being built according to code requirements. Electrical and plumbing inspections will likely be conducted as well.

After interior painting is complete, the next things to be installed are the light fixtures, counter tops, appliances, plumbing fixtures, mirrors, shower doors, security systems, door knobs, towel bars and toilet paper holders.

Phase 7: Exterior Finishes

While work is progressing inside, there is much to be done outside as well. Siding is applied, along with gutters, porches, decks, etc. Final lot grading is done and the driveway and walkways are put in. Several additional inspections may occur.

Phase 8: From near-completion to hand-over

At this point, your builder and crew are busy completing the final touches and cleaning up. You will be asked to do a walk-through of your home with the builder. Any last minute touch-ups will be done.

Phase 5: Rough-Ins As the individual trades converge on your new home, things will appear to slow down a bit. In reality, a lot more work is being done, it just doesn’t appear to be as dramatic as the framing process. Dozens of people will be installing the inner workings of your house. Plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, lighting, security systems, central vacuum lines, cable, computer networking, exhaust fans, fireplaces, and lots of prepping for things yet to be installed. During this phase, your builder should stay in regular contact with you, to update you on progress, and to meet deadlines for selecting finishes and other interior/exterior details. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

15


FEATURES

PBA Right- toKnow Law Fact Sheet

T

he Right-to-Know Law serves as a powerful tool for citizens of the Commonwealth to access and obtain copies of public records held by government agencies.

Builders and contractors working within the state should familiarize themselves with the Right-to-Know Law should the need arise to file a request for the production of certain documents.

What is the Pennsylvania Office of Open Records? The Office of Open Records (OOR) was created in 2008 when then-Governor Ed Rendell signed Act 3 of 2008 into law. Act 3 (the Right-to-Know Law (RTKL) created the OOR, an independent quasi-judicial agency, to enforce and coordinate Pennsylvania Right-to-Know (RTK) requests. The OOR is tasked with holding hearings and making determinations on RTK denials. All appeals of RTK requests must be heard by the OOR.

Who is subject to the RTKL? • Commonwealth agencies, including state-affiliated and independent agencies, the Governor, the Attorney General and the Treasury Department • Local agencies, including political subdivisions, charters, public trade or vocational schools, local, regional or municipal agencies, councils, boards or commissions • Legislative agencies, including the Senate, the House of Representatives and related committees • Judicial agencies at all levels of the Commonwealth’s unified judicial system

16

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


How do I submit an RTK request? An applicant may submit an RTK Request Form to an agency in order to have the agency release specific information, records or documents. Many agencies have their own variations on the RTK request form – check their respective websites for more information. An RTK request may be submitted via fax, e-mail, U.S. mail, or in person. If requesting in person, it is important to note that the RTK request must still be in writing in order to be eligible for appeal. The RTKL recommends that agencies appoint an employee as a designated Open Records Officer. Contact this officer if you have any questions about specific agency RTK procedures.

What should I include in an RTK request? Be concise and specific! RTK requests should be utilized for the production of specific records, so you should have a general idea of what records you need prior to filing the request. Agencies are not required to answer questions, even if they are both targeted and unambiguous. You may file as many subsequent RTK requests as you wish, and there is no general limitation on how many records may be requested on each form.

How much does an RTK request cost? There is no fee for submitting an RTK request. A requester may also inspect agency records in person, if possible, for no fee. An agency may charge a standard fee of 25 cents per copied page, though higher fees for color copies and electronic access to records may be assessed if approved by the OOR. If a separate statute authorizes an agency to charge a set amount for specific types of records, the agency must charge no more than that statutory amount. Agencies may require pre-payment if fees are expected to exceed $100.

What is subject to the RTKL? When submitting an RTK request, the request must seek the production of specific records. Requests containing questions will not be answered by the agency or municipality. The RTKL defines “records” as “any information regardless of its physical form or character that documents a transaction or activity of an agency and is created, received, or retained pursuant to law or in connection with a transaction,

business or activity of an agency.” There are exemptions – records containing certain types of highly personal information may be withheld or redacted prior to production. An agency has both the burden to show why it should not produce a record, as well as the burden to show why it is withholding or failing to provide a record. If an agency cannot produce a record, they must submit a formal attestation to the OOR. Continued on page 18

OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

17


How must an agency comply with an RTK request?

How do I file an appeal?

Within five (5) business days, which begin to run the day after the request is received, an agency may: • Grant the request and send back the information

A requester must file an appeal with the OOR within fifteen (15) business days of the denial. Appeals may be sent via fax to (717) 425-5343, e-mail to openrecords@pa.gov, or mailed to: Office of Open Records Commonwealth Keystone Building 400 North Street, 4th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17120-0225

• Deny the request • Invoke a thirty (30) day extension if more time is needed to produce the requested records If the agency does not respond at all within 5 days, the request is deemed denied and an appeal may be taken.

All appeals must use the proper form, and include: • A copy of the original RTK request • A copy of the agency denial (unless deemed denied by the agency through lack of a response) • Specific grounds as to why the requested record is a public record • Make sure to specifically address and counter all reasons set forth in the agency denial Upon receipt of the appeal, the OOR will then have thirty (30) days within which to issue a Final Determination. The OOR has the authority to request a hearing, though most Final Determinations are made based solely on a review of the appeal documents. Legal representation is not required for the OOR appellate process.

18

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Can I appeal a Final Determination issued by the OOR? Yes. Depending on which agency the RTK request was filed with, appeals from the OOR may be heard by a Court of Common Pleas or the Commonwealth Court. Contact PBA’s Government Affairs Team if you have any questions about the appellate process for the Commonwealth’s unified judicial system.

In what situations would I need to file an RTK request? Builders and contractors work both directly and indirectly with numerous state and local agencies that fall within the scope of the RTKL. The following issues are indicative of situations where an RTK request may be appropriate: • Municipal fees for construction permits and inspections. PBA has seen several recent RTK requests that involve potentially excessive municipal fees for both obtaining a permit and acquiring building inspections. Remember that many municipalities have their fee schedules and ordinances posted on their websites, so it may not be necessary to seek certain records through an RTK request. In these instances, a proper RTK request should ask for all contracts and/or records between the building code official/ inspector and the municipality or agency in question, for the years in question. Further, the RTK request should include all revenue and expense reports, including but not limited to revenue and costs of building code enforcement, for the years in question. Of course, depending on specifics, RTK requests can vary. Court cases have stated that building permit and inspection fees must not exceed the reasonable cost of providing the permits and inspections, and such fees must not be levied as specific taxes for unrelated revenue purposes. Generally, a municipality may charge an extra 10% above and beyond the actual cost of administering their code enforcement program, whether such enforcement is handled by a municipal employee or a third-party agency. • Meeting minutes. Under Pennsylvania’s Sunshine Act, agencies must keep written minutes of all open meetings, though there exists no time frame within which an agency must publish and make available the meeting minutes. Municipal agencies regularly discuss local construction projects and zoning proposals during their meetings, memorializing all discussions in the form of minutes. Under the RTKL, draft meeting minutes, or minutes that have not yet been specifically approved, are exempt from production. However, the language of the exemption makes it clear that such draft minutes are exempt only until a subsequent meeting of an agency is held:

“Draft minutes of any meeting of an agency [are exempt] until the next regularly scheduled meeting of the agency.” Therefore, while an RTK request for minutes cannot be made immediately after an agency holds a meeting, such a request may be made immediately after the next agency meeting. It is important to note that minutes from agencies while in executive sessions are never considered records under the RTKL. • Ordinances and resolutions. Local agencies may adopt ordinances which require a builder or contractor to construct certain aspects of homes to a higher degree than mandated by the Pennsylvania Uniform Construction Code. They may also adopt resolutions affecting zoning, code enforcement, or a variety of other areas that touch upon the construction industry. PBA has observed instances where ordinances and resolutions were described in meeting minutes but were not accessible via the agency’s website. • State agency regulatory information. Commonwealth agencies, such as the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Department of Labor and Industry (L&I), and the Department of Transportation (PennDOT), promulgate regulations and enforce standards both directly and indirectly related to the construction industry. As a result, there are numerous instances where filing an RTK request with one of these agencies may be appropriate. However, you may experience more difficulty when seeking records from a state agency when compared to a smaller, local agency. This is because state agencies tend to have a greater understanding of the RTKL – as well as a sizeable legal staff (through the Office of General Counsel) that will not hesitate to challenge an RTK request should an agency feel that the records are not required for production. • Other issues. There are plenty of other situations that may call for a PBA member to file an RTK request. Contact the PBA Government Affairs Team if you are unsure whether an RTK request is proper.

Is there anything else I should know about RTKL? While an RTK request is a very powerful tool intended to both help constituents obtain information and maintain a transparent government, there are other ways to acquire access to records. As builders, we need to work closely and often with the Commonwealth, various local agencies, municipalities, boroughs, and similar government entities. Before filing an RTK request, which may be seen as adversarial, try searching agency websites or contacting the agency’s designated Open Records Officer for information on desired records. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

19


The 5 Pillars That Create The

Value of Membership

Advocacy –

The Home Builders Association of Berks County represents the home building industry on the local level in Berks County. With over 200 members, we are the voice of the community when it comes to addressing issues within the Building Industry.

Expertise

The Pennsylvania Builders Association represents the home building industry at the state level, and often works with individual locals at the municipal level. PBA has staff that is knowledgeable on statewide issues concerning your industry & government affairs. The battles won have resulted in members saving thousands of dollars per home. As a member you have access to PBA staff. Visit: www. pabuilders.org for more informatio. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) represents our industry at the federal level. Why It Matters: Building codes can have a profound impact on the comfort and safety of residents as well as the cost of construction and the cost of operating the home. NAHB can help its members work toward cost-effective and safe codes. There is staff liaison available to assist you. NAHB also offers members FREE legal research, sample contracts and more! Visit: www.nahb.org for more information. 20

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

Savings

Save money and earn your membership dollars back by taking advantage of various discount programs! The PA One Call fee of $125.00 is waived. Fax or email us your invoice, and we’ll take care of the rest. Take advantage of the Member Rebate Program, get discounted rates on Workman’s Compensation, take advantage of the $500/ $1,000 GM Discount offer, Verizon discounts and more!

Networking

Get involved, get to know fellow members on both the local and the state level. HBA Members are welcome at all state meetings & events. Attending events is a great way to network. Sponsorship opportunities are available and will allow you to promote your business too other HBA members. Participate or volunteer in local events. On a local level, the HBA of Berks gives everyone an opportunity to participate in the Annual Home Show, Lobsterfest, Parade of Homes, Builders & Remodelers Awards ceremony and free or low cost networking events.

Knowledge

Free or low cost seminars are offered by the HBA of Berks County. On occasion we will partner up with local likeminded organizations and hold joint seminars. Get Certified! NAHB has a variety of Certification programs for both Builders & Remodelers, at discounted prices. You can access these courses conveniently online from your office or from home. When in need, members have access to professionals on all three levels, who are knowledgeable industry experts! Some battles being fought on behalf of the building industry are much bigger than others. At some point, the battles being fought in other states may end up being the same battles we will have to fight here in Berks County in the near future. If it affects one, it may affect us all.

Join Today!

If your business is within the Berks County area, please consider joining the Home Builders Association of Berks County. Your membership dollars will help fight issues on all three levels: Local, State and Federal. Our members vary from Engineers to Lawyers, Accountants, Builders, Remodelers, Insurance Agencies, Bankers and more. For more info: www.HBAberks.org or 610-777-8889.


Advertise in At Home in Berks, a Home Builders Association of Berks County Publication. Published bi-monthly, At Home in Berks is mailed directly to over 750 members and advocates of the HBA within the Greater Reading area, into nearly 1000 reception areas, and to more than 1000 new home owners throughout the Greater Reading, Pennsylvania area.

REACH 35,000+ Homeowners, Business Owners & HBA Members Working & Living in Berks County

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Alicia Lee Alicia@HoffPubs.com 610.685.0914 ext 210 Brad Hess Brad@HoffPubs.com 610.685.0914 ext 204


ANGLES

The Housing Market Is Finally Starting to Look Healthy

I

t has been an excruciatingly long time coming, but the housing sector in the United States is finally getting healthy. Thank millennials and thank homebuilders who are starting to produce more of the starter houses young people demand.

That’s the conclusion to be drawn from a new report Tuesday, August 20, 2016, that shows that more new homes were sold in July than in nearly a decade. Buyers purchased single-family houses at the annual rate of 654,000, the highest rate since October 2007, the government said. That is 31 percent higher than a year earlier.

Those numbers are volatile and include a wide margin of error, but combined with other evidence, the United States housing market seems to be solidly on the mend in 2016. Builders have started work on new housing units at a pace of more than 1 million homes a year every month since April 2015, more than doubling from a low of 478,000 in the spring of 2009. Residential investment has made a positive contribution to overall gross domestic product for eight of the last nine quarters (and economists think that a drop in the second quarter was an aberration). And in home price trends, there are some good signs, too, though not in the obvious way. In the new Census Bureau report Tuesday, the median sale price for new homes actually fell, to $294,600 from $310,500 in June. That is a strong hint that there is more supply being built at the lower end of the housing market. In other words, exactly the kind of smaller houses that young adults can afford. “For years, the market has been practically begging builders to both ramp up their efforts over all and to put more focus on serving the less expensive end of the market,” said Svenja Gudell, the chief economist of Zillow, in an email. “Today’s data confirms both are happening in earnest.”

22

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


Switching to Fleetwood Bank is EASY! Stop in one of our branch locations and switch today! “The dip in price will be welcome relief to buyers struggling to find affordable inventory in this incredibly tight market.”

New Home Sales Are Rising Here’s a narrative of the housing market over the last decade. As the housing bubble popped in 2007 and a global financial crisis and recession developed in 2008, home prices plummeted. Builders slashed their production of houses to below the level that long-term demographics would suggest is necessary to house an ever-growing population. There was a combination of oversupply from the boom years and tight credit because of the financial freeze-up. At the same time, people who had lost jobs and income because of the recession were in no position to buy. But that was nearly a decade ago, and now we’ve had years when young adults have entered their prime home-buying time. Yet relatively few new houses to fulfill eventual demand were built. Mortgage rates have stayed near record lows, and job creation has been relatively strong. All that has been missing is homes in the right places and at the right prices for those young people to buy. The biggest apparent weak spot in the housing data now tends to confirm this way of looking at it. The homeownership rate has been falling pretty steadily from a record peak at the end of 2004, when it was 69.2 percent, to 62.9 percent in the second quarter of this year.

Local People. Local Decisions.

Berks County’s Only Locally-Owned Community Bank www.fleetwoodbank.com 610-944-7666 The current level of homeownership looks less disappointing if you consider the period of the mid-2000s to be an aberration born of the loose credit of the housing boom. The current 62.9 percent homeownership rate is the same as it was in the first half of 1965 and is only a bit below its level in the mid-1980s, when it hovered at 63 to 64 percent. The question now is how far this housing expansion has to run, given the pent-up demand. Residential investment is currently 3.8 percent of G.D.P., compared with a 4.6 percent average since 1947. That implies there is further room for gains, even assuming that there is no repeat of the bubble experience from the last decade. It’s a rosy picture — and there’s reason to think it could last.

Today’s young adults have not become homeowners at the same rate that earlier generations did. That probably reflects a mix of a weak economy — and thus poor job prospects during the initial aftermath of the recession — and the lack of affordable housing supply in many of the hottest markets combined with perhaps some cultural shift toward buying homes later or even not buying at all.

OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

23


ANGLES

Leave No Lending Stone Unturned to Generate More Sales

B

uilders leave few stones unturned in their efforts to generate sales, yet many of them overlook one resource that plays a major role in housing sales – lending.

In the past, when lender programs were more abundant, builders were quick to establish joint ventures with particular lenders, providing a nice cash flow to the builder and allowing them to focus more on building. But all that has changed as programs and criteria have tightened. Now, many who haven’t kept up with lending changes since the downturn simply hand their deals to an available lender in the hopes that it will be approved. This is not a good way to

24

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

generate home sales in today’s market, especially if the lender is constrained by limited resources, less experienced loan officers and inadequate programs. Builders should seek out and collaborate with seasoned salespeople who are well acquainted with the various programs that are available. They should also lean less on in-house loan officers and instead work with several experienced, established lenders who are more likely to have enough programs available to make the deals happen. The following are some examples of deals that fell through, others that were successful, and reasons why.


Time Lapses On An in-house lender turned down a potential buyer because the buyer had applied for a loan a year after a VA short sale. The lender’s program required a two-year waiting period, so the buyer bought from another builder using a major lender that was able to close the deal because it had a program that required only one year following a short sale to qualify. The builder with the in-house lender missed the sale.

Let our family

SECURE your family

…with all the latest technology to keep you safe!

It’s All in the Ratios

A builder’s in-house lender was putting together a deal that required the buyer to reduce his debt by $20,000 so the lending ratios would work. The agent initially determined the deal wouldn’t go through because the buyer thought he couldn’t sufficiently reduce his debt. But a more thorough review of the buyer’s credit with another, more experienced loan officer revealed that if the buyer reduced his debt by just $5,000, the resulting debt ratio would, in fact, enable him to achieve the lender’s requirements.

Great Credit, Money in the Bank – But Self-employed

Locally owned for over 26 years!

610.372.8872 • SAHinc.com

50 South Museum Rd., Reading, PA 19607 Introducing InTouch – our personal and medical alert systems division. For more information, visit www.inTouchbySAH.com

A buyer with great credit and a healthy savings account could not get a loan from her builder’s lender because she was self-employed. She was referred to two small investor banks, each requiring a downpayment of 30% to 40%. As the economy recovers, many smaller banks are starting to come out with programs for self-employed buyers, but for builders to take advantage of these opportunities, they must be willing and able to build relationships with these lenders or be able to broker to them.

Education, Education, Education

Some local HBAs have started hosting lender forums. These usually feature various lenders who discuss their products and help educate sales agents on what’s available in their market. A sales agent’s knowledge should not be limited to one lender’s programs. Agents need to know what programs are available so they have a healthy variety of options to choose from to make the sale. AUGUST 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

25


ANGLES

interact join CONNECT

SEARCH

participate attend plan

INVOLVE

Engage More, Earn More:

Building Relationships with Realtors 101 “Given that most buyers use a Realtor when purchasing a home, it is absolutely critical for builders to foster and maintain positive relationships with Realtors”

26

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

I

Unfortunately, persistent negative perceptions about doing business with builders continues to drive a wedge of disconnect between realtors and builders.

That figure contrasts somewhat with the number of real estate agents who sell new homes — about 67%— according to NAR. The shortfall can be attributed, in part, to the divide between showing and selling.

Topping the list is a general lack of sales training for agents and brokers. Often real estate agents don’t understand the building process or financing options for new home construction. Builders can overcome this disconnect by hosting new home sales training sessions at their communities on a regular basis.

Sales and marketing expert Tammie Smoot, who recently spoke at the International Builders’ Show, said that most Realtors prefer to show used homes, and quite a few are unlikely to even recommend new homes to their clients.

Second is the difficulty faced by real estate agents in learning about builders’ inventory and new properties that are on the market. Most real estate agents, about 80%, rely on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in their area to learn about new properties on the

t should not come as a surprise that most home buyers, especially first timers, prefer to work with a real estate agent when shopping for a home. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 88% of home buyers use a real estate agent to purchase a home.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

market. So it is absolutely critical to have photos and detailed property information on MLS. Builders can also communicate inventory information directly by emailing inventory reports, sending out text messages whenever a new property is ready for sale, making phone calls and scheduling office visits. Linda Hebert, president of Diversified Marketing & Communications and consultant to Signature Homes in California, said she has used an envelope full of money as an incentive to get real estate agents to drop by her communities. On a set day each week she hands out a number of envelopes from a basket, of which only one has a large amount of cash in it. “It’s a fun way to get agents to stop by and keep them engaged,” she said. “Another idea is to hold a pancake breakfast for brokers and their families. Either way, you want to be known as the builder that is fun. It helps them to remember you.” Frequent changes in commission structure – or simply not knowing how and when they will be paid – can also be a deterrent. Builders need to keep the commission structure consistent and not base the percentage on how the market is faring. Offering bonuses and contests, as the budget allows, will also build confidence and instill trust.

Some agents believe that it requires more effort to show new homes, when in reality model homes and lockboxes can make the process agent-friendly. Many builders also have move-in ready homes in their inventory that can be shown as well. Because most agents have not been trained to read blueprints and it can be challenging to sell a home that a buyer cannot see in person, builders should make sure to provide access to model and inventory homes, in addition to a host of sales and marketing materials, such as good-quality photographs and videos, online virtual tours and takeaway brochures. The way the neighborhood looks is also a critical selling point for many buyers, and some real estate agents will avoid showing new homes in a community that appears less than desirable. Clean up trash littering the lots or streets in the community, and make sure your vendor and trade partners have a clear understanding of your cleanup policies and the consequences for non-compliance. Given that most buyers use a Realtor when purchasing a home, it is absolutely critical for builders to foster and maintain positive relationships with Realtors, Smoot said.

OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

27


ANGLES

Creating Meaningful Relationships to Grow Your Business

W

hen people choose to build or renovate their home, they are making a huge investment that affects their daily life. They want to see your work for themselves, read reviews or hear the quality of your work before they trust you with their savings and their home.

28

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

The best way to gain referrals from clients and subcontractors is to do quality work and build real, meaningful relationships that don’t end when the project is over. Here are some tips to keep your relationships going strong with clients and subcontractors.

Building & Maintaining Rapport with Your Clients to Grow Your Business Build genuine relationships with your clients. Building a rapport with your clients will lead them to talk about you to their friends and family and may lead to future referrals. Let your clients know how they can help and make it as easy as possible for them to refer you.

Tips to Keep in Mind While You’re Building Stay in constant contact with your clients. Be easily accessible via phone or email and set up a time to meet in person and walk through their home with them at least once a week. Upon permission, let potential clients come into one of your current client’s home for a walk-through. Your current client can tell them about their experience building with you and answer any questions they may have. This is most effective closer to the end of a project, when clients can see the quality work you have done. Ask about your client’s friends and family members. Are any of them thinking about renovating? Is your client’s project inspiring them to work on their own home? Let your client know you are interested in working with their friends and family members in their projects as well.


Tips to Keep in Mind When the Project is Complete Ask your clients to write reviews about their experience. Email them a list of links to your profile on the top 5 or top 10 websites where your business is or should be reviewed, such as Facebook, Houzz, Guild Quality, etc. If you built a new construction home, consider catering an open house party for your client’s friends and family after your client is settled in. This will give you a chance to reconnect, have fun and build connections. Upon your client’s permission, you can casually place brochures or photo albums of your work throughout their home during the event that their guests can look at. Touch base with your clients every now and then to ask how things are going (email, phone call, text, etc.). Send out holiday cards to your clients.

Building & Maintaining Rapport with Your Subcontractors to Grow Your Business Working with subcontractors should not be a one-way street. Builders frequently provide subcontractors with jobs in larger-scale projects, but these subcontractors can refer clients to you as well. For example, a client looking to replace their countertops may also be thinking about renovating their entire kitchen or home, and you want your subcontractor to refer your company name when this happens.

Tips to Gain More Referrals with Your Subcontractors Talk to your subcontractors and build genuine relationships. Find out what their hobbies are and do something outside of working hours, such as going out to dinner or playing golf. Refer subcontractors who you know do quality work for jobs. Make it publicly known that you’re collaborating with them by staying active on social media. Tag them in posts on Facebook or add them to Pinterest boards so their friends and followers will see your company name and have easy access to your profile and vice versa. Let subcontractors know you are giving them referrals and that you are interested in gaining referrals from them. Make it as easy as possible for them to refer clients to you by regularly providing them with business cards and/or brochures to hand their clients. About the Author

Leah Williams is a senior at Albright College majoring in communications, English, and Spanish. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

29


ANGLES

When it’s an OSHA violation… and when it’s not PICTURE THIS: There’s a man in the trench – look closely, because you can barely see him. Then, there are the eight men surrounding the newly excavated hole, putting pressure on the excavation face. There’s no sloping, shielding or shoring – nothing to hold the soil back if it ever started to move.

There’s also no OSHA violation. Because these workers are employed by a city, not a private contractor, they don’t come under OSHA, an exemption dating back to the original 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act. Instead, the safety of governmental workers is covered by a hodge¬podge of state laws.

FOR LEASE

25 Stevens Ave., West Lawn

According to safety consulting firm J. J. Keller, 21 states, plus Puerto Rico, have adopted state plans for both public and private entities. These programs, which have received the blessing of OSHA, are state run, but jointly funded by the federal and state government. Another five states, plus the Virgin Islands, have state plans that cover just the public sector. It gets more complicated. While they do not run state plans, six states (Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, West Virginia and Wisconsin) have what safety consultant BLR calls “comprehensive protections” for public sector workers that are at least as strict as OSHA regs. The level of adherence to OSHA regs for public workers then starts to dwindle, with six states – Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania – adopting some, but not all, of the OSHA rules. Georgia and Texas have adopted only the federal agency’s hazmat communication rules. The remaining 10 states – Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota – do not regulate workplace safety for the public sector.

BACK TO THE SCENARIO ABOVE:

Each suite is separately metered for electric and heat. Flexible leasing periods. Conveniently located. $10.00/SF - CAM + Utilities Spaces Available Suite 2, Building A - 867 SF - $10/SF/Year Suite 9, Building A - 706 SF - $10/SF/Year Suite 1, Building B - 1200 SF - $13/SF/Year

Kent E. Wrobel Realtor® Direct: 610-685-3143 kwrobel@remax.net www.KentWrobel.com 30

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016

610-670-2770

The visual description provided to you, took place in Alabama, one of the states with no OSHA¬-related public worker safety laws, only the laws of common sense were violated. My hope is that this crew’s supervisor took one look at the scenario and immediately initiated trench safety training. While I hear plenty of gripes from contractors on how OSHA interprets its regs, I don’t hear much carping about the regs themselves, especially those pertaining to trench safety. Do a quick internet search on trench accidents, and you’ll see the reason why; there’s been a litany of deadly events in the past two years alone. Regulations, of course, are only one part of the safety picture; they do not address the awareness needed when situations are dangerous, or the assertiveness required to call out a bad plan of action. Meanwhile, the physics of a cave in, remain constant. A cubic foot of soil weighs an average of 100 pounds – no matter who employs the person in the trench.


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2016 Lobsterfest A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO our donors The HBA’s Annual Lobsterfest was a huge success with over 130 guests! Thanks to two anonymous donors, ten students from the local National Association of Home Builders Student Chapter were able to attend and mingle with owners of businesses within the Building Industry.

SAVE THE DATE:

The 2017 Lobsterfest is scheduled for Wednesday,July 19, 2016 at 5:00 PM, over at Fish Pond West. Hope you can join us.

FIRE SPRINKLER UPDATE Beginning with the 2009 edition, the International Residential Code (IRC) has required fire sprinkler systems in all new one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses. Since then, a vast majority of states has removed the requirement from their residential building codes as they have adopted newer editions. In Pennsylvania the Fire Sprinkler Mandate for one- and two-family dwellings have been defeated Through Legislation. This would not have been possible without the cooperation of the Pennsylvania Home Builders Association. Did you know that in Pennsylvania Townhomes are required to be sprinklered? And, that Builders of new, one- and two- family homes are required by legislation (mandatory option) to give buyers the option of installing a fire sprinkler system.

HBA BERKS BUYERS’ GUIDE The Home Builders Association of Berks County has announced that the exclusive HBA Berks Buyers’ Guide (the “Guide”) — the premier resource of relevant products and services for building professionals — is now available at the HBA Berks website at www.hbaberks.org. HBA Berks partnered with Overland Park, Kan.-based Strategic Value Media, a leading nationwide provider of print and digital media solutions for national, state and local trade and membership associations, to produce the Guide. HBA Berks is proud to provide its members with this useful and easily accessible year-round resource. “This comprehensive Guide offers access to a vast network of industry suppliers,” said Janet Campis, Executive Officer of HBA Berks. “We are very pleased with the fine work SVM has done with this Guide, which we anticipate will now greatly assist industry professionals in making educated purchasing decisions throughout the year. The response to this Guide by the industry has been nothing short of outstanding.” The 2016 version of the Guide features updated and expanded company and product listings, in addition to other valuable information relating to the building industry. The Guide provides HBA Berks members and other industry professionals with an efficient way to browse for goods and services. The Guide also offers building suppliers and companies exceptional visibility by showcasing their products and services to a targeted, industry-specific buyer group. If your company or business has not yet taken advantage of this exceptional opportunity to highlight your products and services in the Guide, it is not too late! To learn more about advertising your products or services in this exclusive Guide, please email hbabc-advertise@svmmedia.com. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

31


Membership happenings 2016 Upcoming Events…

OCT 6

OCT 6

OCT 13

OCT 20

NOV 16

NOV 19

DEC 8

welcome new members Empire Building Products (Assoc)

Carriage House at Bern Farm, Leesport, Pa.

Contact: Tom Watts 2741 Bernville Rd., Leesport, PA 19533 Tel: 610-926-0500 Cell: 484-256-9167 Email: TomWatts@empiresurplus.com

EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR

Lynx Computer Technologies (Assoc)

MEMBERSHIP DRIVE

All interested business are welcome!

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM

FREE TO HBA/RBAR MEMBERS

Reading Berks Association of Realtors Guest Speaker: Brian Wolfgang Pennsylvania Housing Research Center Topic: Fundamentals of Exterior Plaster & Thin Stone Veneer Assemblies 3:00 PM

FREE NETWORKING EVENT Free to HBA members & *guest (*perspective members)

Sponsored by Maidencreek Appliances & TV, Kutztown, PA 5:00 PM – 8:30 PM

EDUCATIONAL SEMINAR Free to HBA members

TOPIC: GETTING PAID More information to follow.

GENERAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING & ELECTIONS SAVE THE DATE!! RMCTC, Reading, PA 5:30PM $25.00 per person

FAMILY HOLIDAY EVENT

HOLIDAY SHOW: Winter Wonderland American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA

Contact: Mark Diefenderfer 7 Bristol Court, Wyomissing, PA 19610 Tel: 610-678-8131 Fax: 610-678-8744 Email: markdief@lynxnet.com

SAH, Inc. (Affil)

Contact: Pete Bonargo 50 S. Musuem Rd., Reading, PA 19607 Tel: 610-413-9199 Email: peterbonargo@sahinc.com

THANK YOU! The HBA of Berks County would like to thank the Reading Berks Association of Realtors for hosting an Appraisal Panel in September, 2016. The panel which consisted of four local appraisers included: Bruce Faust, Faust Appraisals; Laura Feick, Associated Realty & Appraisals; Diane Longacre: Realty Wise; and John Rothermel, Countrywide Appraisal Services. The panel was well received and both Associations are looking forward to hosting more joint seminars such as this one in the near future.

Member SPOTLIGHT Located in Reading, Pa., L2i is an experienced full-service construction management firm skilled in providing single-source construction solutions in Pennsylvania & New Jersey.

Adults: $32.00 Children: $21.00

Our clients hire us because we are client- and quality-focused, and because we bring projects in on time and within budget.

FREE NETWORKING EVENT

In addition to complete, turnkey construction services, L2i offers a range of construction management services, including constructability reviews, craft supervision and owner’s representative services.

Free to HBA members & *guest (perspective members)

Sponsored by Riverview Tree & Landscaping, Inc., Temple, PA

Whatever the scope of work or project type, L2i has earned a reputation for outstanding quality and extraordinary attention to detail. The result: happy clients and projects that have real long-term value. Contact L2i at 610-743-3122 or email: info@L2iConstruction.com.

32

AT HOME IN BERKs OCTOBER 2016


HBAberks.org I 610.777.8889

Membership happenings 2016 Foundation Club Members:

Thank you for the continued support of the HBA of Berks County legislative efforts!

Thank You to these Renewing Members of the HBA of Berks County! 31+ Years:  Schlouch, Inc.

 M&M Mechanical, LLC.  LA Kehres Building &

Remodeling  Diebolt Landscape Co., Inc.  Mast Roofing & Construction  Hartmans Home Improvement  Fishers Rental Center  Hollands Electric, Inc.  Harron’s Insulation & Ceilings, Inc. 16 – 20 Years  Zee Medical Service, Co.  Martins Flooring, Inc.  Berkshire Systems Group, Inc.  Dick Wessner, Inc.  Breyer Construction &  Heffleger Kitchen Center Landscape, Inc.  Baker Tilly  24 – 7 Electric, LLC.  Bodden Contracting Group, Inc.  Bogia Engineering, Inc.  Welbilt Homes, Inc.  Masano Architiects Group, Inc.  Santilli Oil Company 2 – 5 Years 11 – 15 Years  Tompkins VIST, Sherri Hallowell  Geoff Penske Buick GMC Trucks  Emil Washko Jr. & Company  Blatt & Zaffary Electric, Inc.  B & G Glass  Solenskys Spouting 6 – 10 Years & Garage Doors, Inc.  Anewalt’s Landscape  Hampson Mowrer Kreitz & Contracting Insurance  Wise Signs 26 – 30 Years  Applied Geo Science & Engineering, Inc.  SAH, Inc.  Straub Roofing & Concrete, Inc.  JM Fence & Deck Company

Member 2 Member Discount Program As one of the many benefits of membership in the Home Builders Association of Berks County (HBA), the following members are offering the discounts listed to HBA Members only.

Geoff Penske Buick GMC Contact: Victor Popescu

610.777.1300

Bruce Radar Berks Surveying & Engineering

Joseph J. Witkowski, Jr. Herbein & Company

James E. Gavin, Esquire Masano Bradley

Walter Greth Greth Homes

Larry Kehres L A Kehres Building & Remodeling

Steve Bright EJB Paving & Materials Co.

Brad Kehres L A Kehres Building & Remodeling

Gregory R. Eshbach Malsnee Tile & Stone

Kert Sloan Aluminum Associates/Sloan Corp.

Patrick J. Dolan Dolan Construction, Inc.

Cathy Sloan Hartman’s Home Improvement

John Newton Greth Homes

Deborah Kearse Kohl Building Products

Kevin Kozo Turnberry Custom Homes

Tom Kearse Kohl Building Products

John & Julie Schmoyer Fulton Mortgage Company

Bryan Moll B&G Glass

Call the HBA office at 610.777.8889 to learn how to become a member of the FOUNDATION CLUB.

Bob Holt Holt’s Remodeling

These members understand the important role legislation plays in their businesses and the importance of electing and supporting legislators who are sensitive to the issues affecting the building industry.

GM AFFINITY PROGRAM & PARTNERSHIP WITH HBA (Call Victor for more details on how you can save)

Berks Transfer

Contact: Joan Campbell

610.926.7626 x 305

$50 OFF 1ST CAN ORDER TO NEW CUSTOMERS

Aluminum Associates / Sloan Corporation Contact: Kert E. Sloan 610.921.2201

5% DISCOUNT ON ALL SERVICES Martin’s Flooring, Inc.

Contact: Richie Zook 877.445.7799

FREE INTERIOR DESIGN & SPECIAL HBA CONTRACTOR PRICING (Ask about our contractor referral program)

If you would like to join the HBA or offer a Member 2 Member Discount, contact the HBA office: 610.777.8889. OCTOBER 2016 AT HOME IN BERKs

33


REBATE PROGRAM Member Rebate Program

A Free Member Benefit of your State and Local HBA

Associate Members

Builders & Remodelers Earn Money for Products You’re Already Buying! The Member Rebate Program is a free member benefit available to all active Builder and Remodeler members. With 50+ industry leading manufacturers in the program, members are rewarded for their loyalty, the same as a “Top 5” Builder.

It Takes Only 3 Easy Steps to Participate 1) Register

Tells us where to send your check

2) Submit a Rebate Claim Claim using our Excel, Online, or Paper Claim Form

3)

Receive a Rebate Check

After a brief verification process by the manufacturers, lump-sum rebate checks are sent

Call us Toll Free:

866-849-8400 Visit your State Website:

www.PBArebates.com

Introducing the new Associate Member Directory Associate Members who supply or install any of the 50+ Manufacturer brands can register for this free member benefit.  All Associate Member Directory listings are hyperlinked to their business website.  The goal is to reinforce the phrase: “It’s good business to do business with an Associate Member” by showing the Builder and Remodeler members where they can shop to negate their annual dues.

Participating Manufacturers


REBATE PROGRAM Member Rebate Program

Associate Member Directory Registration Associate Members can register below to be listed in our Associate Member Directory which indicates who supplies or installs any of the 50+ Manufacturer brands in the Member Rebate Program. The Manufacturers are offering the same rebates to HBA Builder and Remodeler members as the "Top-5 Builders" receive. www.HBArebates.com

Company:_____________________________________________

Contact:____________________________________________

Website:______________________________________________

State:______________ Please circle the Manufacturers you currently supply or install :


At Home In Berks October 2016  
At Home In Berks October 2016