Wednesday, December 23, 2009

HBA of Greenville Holiday Hours

Your HBA of Greenville offices will be closed December 24 and 25 for the Christmas holiday, and December 31 and January 1 for the New Years holiday.

Happy Holidays!

New Greenville County Summary Plat Procedure

With the participation and input of your Home Builders Association of Greenville Legislative Committee, Greenville County has revised its Summary Plat Procedure effective November 12.
  • Subdivision plats creating only one new lot will be exempt from the summary plat review process, provided that the purpose of the new lot is not for immediate development.
  • All other subdivisions will continue to be submitted and reviewed as either a summary plat or preliminary plat subdivision.
Exemptions to the summary plat procedure include:
  • The combination or recombination of portions of previously platted lots where the total number of lots is not increased and the resultant lots are equal to the standards of the Land Development Regulations and/or Zoning Ordinance
  • The division of land into parcels of five acres or more where no new street is involved.
Plats under these exceptions must be submitted to the Planning Department and will be stamped as being received as information under the exemption.

Temporary Lead-In Signs

The Greenville County Code of Ordinances, as well as those of the various municipalities in the county, limit the location and time that temporary lead-in signs may be used to advertise real estate for sale.

Under the rules, directional signs may not:
  • be placed in the right-of-way or within 15 feet of the right-of-way
  • create a visual obstruction for motorists
  • be fastened to trees or utility poles in the right-of-way
  • be placed on private property without the property owner's permission
Signs may be set out after 7 p.m. on Friday and must be removed by 7 a.m. on Monday. Their size may not exceed 3 feet in height and 2 feet by 2 feet of surface area.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Energy Efficiency Certificate Now Available for Download

Your Home Builders Association of Greenville, in cooperation with the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, has developed a model certificate for members to download and use to comply with the new Energy Efficiency Conservation Code (IECC).

The IECC, which was effective July 1, 2009, requires that the home builder place a label in the electrical service panel of all new homes stating the efficiency details of the new home. The label can be downloaded in the Library area of the Members-Only section of The label is set up to use Avery Label 6876, which can be purchased from any office supply store.

This is an exclusive benefit of membership of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina and the Home Builders Association of Greenville.

Download the label by clicking here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Model New Construction Sales Contract Now Available

Your Home Builders Association of Greenville, in cooperation with the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, has made available exclusively to members a model sales contract for new homes.

The new contract addresses many deficiencies in the previous contract which has been in use for nearly 10 years. The contract was developed by a committee led by Attorney Ken Ormand. HBA of Greenville Director Brian Lazarus, CMB, of Lazarus-Shouse Communities was a member of the committee that developed the contract.

Members can download the contract at the Library Section of, a section viewable only in the the Member-Only area of the website.

To download the new contract, click here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Greenville County Sees Nearly 50 Percent Drop in Foreclosures

Greenville County saw foreclosures decline 45 percent from October to November, and 50 percent from November 2008 to November 2009. Read More.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NAHB To Assist Members With Borrowing Needs

NAHB has announced a new service that will be available at the International Builders Show in Las Vegas, NV, in January. NAHB will offer a Partnership Pavilion where association members can discuss their funding needs with representatives from a variety of capital sources and financing advisors. Read more.

More than 2,400 proposed building code changes

More than 2,400 proposals for building code changes were debated over the course of 16 grueling days of International Code Committee (ICC) hearings in Baltimore last month.

NAHB's codes experts were on the job fighting for the best possible outcomes for our members. In all, NAHB took a position on more than 900 of the proposed code changes, including 54 proposals submitted by NAHB. In addition, NAHB was represented on 10 of the 14 ICC Code Committees during the hearings, and thanks to this representation, as well as the hard work of our staff and member volunteers, the association was fairly successful in this round of decisions.

Key issues included energy conservation, structural requirements, carbon monoxide detectors, accessibility and visitability, whole-house ventilation.

Unfortunately NAHB did not prevail on all of our issues. The "Home Builders 30% Solution" for energy efficiency was disapproved for inclusion in the International Energy Conservation Code in this round, along with five similar proposals by other groups. Also disapproved were two NAHB proposals that would have removed the mandatory requirements for sprinkler systems in one- and two-family homes.

NAHB staff is assessing the outcome of the hearings and preparing comments that are due in early February for the next round of codes hearings.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Forbes Ranks Greenville 20th in Best Bang for the Buck Cities

Forbes magazine ranked Greenville in the top 20 cities in the country of best places to live. Forbes cited a stable housing, low taxes, stable employment, and short commutes. Read more

Monday, December 7, 2009

SIF Announces New Program to Improve Contractor Cash Flow

The S.C. Home Builders Self Insurers Fund announced that is can now accept a surety bond in lieu of the 25% cash deposit currently required. This new program is available to both new and current members of the Fund.

Bond approval is subject to applicant’s credit score and/or financial position. For example: assuming you qualify for the bond, and your 25 percent deposit is $5000, your annual bond premium will be $250. As a result, the cash demanded of the contractor for his or her workers comp insurance will be reduced by $4750.

Contact your SCHBSIF insurance agent for more detail on your specific situation. Search for member insurance agents at

Friday, November 20, 2009

HBASC Legislative Conference Recap

Your Home Builders Association of South Carolina held its annual Legislative Conference this week in Columbia. The meeting kicked off with a candidate forum with the various announced candidates for Governor of the State of South Carolina.

Pictured from left to right are HBASC Vice President Steven Mungo, Congressman Gresham Barrett, Lt. Governor André Bauer, Dwight Drake, Rep. Nikki Haley, Sen. Robert Ford, Sen. Larry Grooms, Attorney General Henry McMaster, Superintendent of Education Jim Rex, Sen. Vince Sheheen, and HBASC President Jim Gregory.

The candidates discussed their points of view on various policy issues and answered questions from the audience.

The forum was followed by a Legislative Planning meeting in which members participated in the development of the association's legislative agenda for 2010. Mandatory fire sprinklers, point-of-sale property assessments, reform of the Building Codes Council, and public school infrastructure funding were discussed as well as numerous other issues.

The day wound up with an oyster roast at the HBASC office near the State House in Columbia.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

HBA of Greenville Annual Meeting

Your Home Builders Association of Greenville held its Annual Meeting and Spike Appreciation Luncheon today at the Greenville Hilton. The agenda included recognition of Spike Members, election of the 2010 Board of Directors, and approval of amendments to the association's bylaws.

Barry Rutenberg, Third Vice Chairman of the National Association of Home Builders, addressed the membership. He provided a report on the national housing industry and the steps NAHB is taking to address AD&C lending conditions and appraisal rules. He also reported on the new Home Buyer Tax Credit and the new rules on Net Operating Loss Carryback.

Spike members recognized included:

· Todd Lanxton, 6 Penny Spike
· Seabrook Marchant, 16 Penny Spike
· Tom Dillard, 25 Penny Spike
· Coleman Shouse, 25 Penny Spike
· Todd Usher, 25 Penny Spike
· Tom Ward, 25 Penny Spike
· Lou Hutchings, 50 Penny Spike
· Bruce Pasquarella, 50 Penny Spike
· Keith Rodgers, 50 Penny Spike
· Hal Dillard, 75 Penny Spike
· Wayne Moore, 100 Penny Spike
· Rob Murphy, 100 Penny Spike
· Dan Rawls, 150 Penny Spike

Speaker Barry Rutenberg also was recognized for 750 Spikes.

Members also visited the table top displays of our three meeting sponsors:

· HBS Foam Insulation
· Palmetto Pro Tint
· Superior Walls by Weaver PreCast of South Carolina

Our next meeting will be the association's 50th Anniversary Celebration on January 16, 2010.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Greenville County Council Gives Second Reading to Comprehensive Plan

Last night Greenville County Council voted unanimously to approve the 10-year Comprehensive Land Use Plan at second reading. The plan is required by state law and is not an ordinance, but instead it is a road map for future development.

Before second reading council amended the plan to clarify that the plan is not binding like law, and that unzoned areas are unaffected by the plan.

Council will take up the plan again for third and final reading on December 1, and could amend the plan further.

Many members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville participated in the development of the plan through citizen groups that met to consult on the plan's contents. In addition the County Planning Commission, which developed the plan, met last Spring with the Board of Directors and the Legislative Committee of the association to receive the association's input.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Are You A Part of the New Economy?

By Michael Dey
Executive Vice President

There is a lot of talk about shifting ways of doing business. A book titled “The Tipping Point” gives a good perspective on the changing nature of life and how, one day, suddenly there is a recognized shift in a new direction regarding whatever the subject may be.

For example, do you know exactly when it became taboo to smoke in most public buildings? Probably not. But if you are over 50 or just watch movies made before 1960, you know that every nook and cranny of every office and restaurant was filled with cigarette or cigar smoke because smoking in public places was an accepted practice. Today, it is almost hard to imagine that was true. But back then, it was hard to imagine that there would ever be such things as smoke-free workplaces or buildings. One day, the issue reached its “tipping point.”

Our industry needs to be cognizant of tipping points which impact housing. We’ve been moving toward a tipping point on green construction over the past decade. We hear more and more HBA members showing interest in green building as they recognize that more and more buyers are asking about it. We also hear that there will be a greater demand for higher density lifestyles in the years to come—both from necessity and personal preference.

There are thousands of foreclosed properties on the market. One person’s problem becomes another person’s opportunity. As prices adjust, we will reach a tipping point when a surge in demand for new housing will again occur.

America currently has about 110 million occupied housing units. About 75 million are owner occupied. Demographers say our population will rise by about 35 million over the next 10 years. We should be building about 1.5 million new homes per year to meet the growing demand. We are currently building at an annualized rate of only about 500,000. Very old homes deteriorate and a few burn down. Many people opt for newly built homes over their used ones for the excitement, the modern features and design as well as perceived long term financial benefits.

Children are still growing up and forming households and we have a large immigrant population adding growth as well. When we get through the foreclosure bubble, we should start to see this mix create a tipping point of strong demand for new homes. How soon will that come? Our industry built more than 2 million homes nationally in 2006 and 2007, a surplus of roughly 1 million homes. Add to that nearly 1 million foreclosures, and you will understand why it will take at least another year for that inventory to be absorbed.

Where will financing come from? New and creative sources are emerging as new players who made their money outside of housing look at home building opportunities. They will be alongside the traditional banking sources.

The very best way for you to keep up with the rapid changes is to stay in touch with your Home Builders Association—its website, its publications and its meetings. Add to that the same items from the National Association of Home Builders and you have at your fingertips the expert knowledge that you need to draw upon as we reach new “tipping points” in the home building industry.

Our HBA will remain on the cutting edge—just like our expansion this year into social networking—with our Twitter followers, our bloggers, and our Facebook page and friends. A site on LinkedIn is coming soon. We also are nearing an exciting announcement of a new website feature to connect builders with those who are searching the Internet for a new home.

Recent survey data shows that builders are largely still advertising and marketing the “old” way and not spending sufficient time connecting with buyers who are overwhelmingly starting their new home search on the internet. To operate profitably in the new economy, you better be prepared to stay informed. No where will you be better informed than through the HBA. Be sure to keep your membership up-to-date and invite your colleagues to do the same!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

UPDATE: Tax Credit Extension Signed by the President

On Friday President Obama signed into law the extension of the Home Buyer Tax Credit extension. The act includes expanding the tax credit to homes bought by certain existing homeowners who are moving up. It also includes a new Net Operating Loss Carryback Provision that will benefit home builders who have recently had operating losses in the businesses.

Below are details of the new tax credit, which is effective immediately. More on the Net Operating Loss Carryback Provision will be posted soon.

Who is Eligible

First-time home buyers, who are defined by the law as buyers who have not owned a principal residence during the three-year period prior to the purchase, may be eligible for a tax credit of 10% of the home purchase price, up to a maximum of $8,000.

Existing home owners who have been residing in their principal residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight and are purchasing a home to be their principal residence (“repeat buyer”), may be eligible for a tax credit of 10% of the home purchase price, up to a maximum of $6,500.

All U.S. citizens who file taxes are eligible to participate in the program.

Income Limits

Home buyers who file as single or head-of-household taxpayers can claim the full credit ($8,000 for first-time buyers and $6,500 for repeat buyers) if their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is less than $125,000.

For married couples filing a joint return, the combined income limit is $225,000.

Single or head-of-household taxpayers who earn between $125,000 and $145,000, and married couples who earn between $225,000 and $245,000 are eligible to receive a partial credit.

The credit is not available for single taxpayers whose MAGI is greater than $145,000 and married couples with a MAGI that exceeds $245,000.

Effective Dates

The eligibility period for the tax credit is for homes purchased after Nov. 6, 2009, and before May 1, 2010. However, home purchases subject to a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010, will qualify for the tax credit provided closing occurs prior to July 1, 2010.

Types of Homes that Qualify

All homes with a purchase price of less than $800,000 qualify, including newly-constructed or resale, and single-family detached, townhomes or condominiums, provided that the home will be used as their principal residence. Vacation home and rental property purchases do NOT qualify.

Tax Credit is Refundable

A refundable credit means that if the amount of income taxes you owe is less than the credit amount you qualify for, the government will send you a check for the difference.

For example:
o A first-time buyer who qualifies for the full $8,000 credit who owes $5,000 in federal income taxes would pay nothing to the IRS and receive a $3,000 payment from the government. If you are due to receive a $1,000 refund, you would receive $9,000 ($1,000 plus the $8,000 tax credit).
o A repeat buyer who owes $5,000 would pay nothing to the IRS and receive $1,500 back from the government. If you are due to get a $1,000 refund, you would get $7,500 ($1,000 plus the $6,500 tax credit).

All qualified home buyers can take the tax credit on their 2009 or 2010 income tax return.

Payback Provisions

The tax credit is a true credit. It does not have to be repaid unless the home owner sells or stops using the home as their principal residence within three years after the purchase.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tax Credit Extension and Expansion Passes in Congress

In a major victory for NAHB that will boost the fledgling housing recovery and help struggling business owners nationwide, Congress today approved legislation that will extend the first-time home buyer tax credit beyond its Nov. 30 deadline and expand it to a wider group of home buyers. The bill also provides relief to cash-strapped home builders by providing broader tax benefits for businesses with net operating losses (NOLs).

The legislation, which will be signed into law shortly by President Obama, will extend the $8,000 credit for first-time home buyers for sales contracts entered into by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30. Further, it has been expanded to include a new $6,500 credit for owners of existing homes who are purchasing a new principal residence. An existing home owner can claim the $6,500 tax credit if they have been residing in their principal residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight.

In more good news, the income eligibility limits to claim the full credit amount for both groups of home buyers have been raised from $75,000 for single taxpayers and $150,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return to $125,000 for individuals and $225,000 for married couples. NAHB’s consumer-oriented Web site,, will provide complete details on the enhanced home buyer tax credit after the bill is signed into law by the President.

Thank you to all who wrote or called your Congressional representatives to let them know how important this legislation is to the housing industry!

For more on this from NAHB, click here.

Remodeling Activity Remains Relatively Stable

According to a report by Construction Week, Remodeling has remained a relatively stable component of the Upstate Housing industry. For the year ended September 30, 2009, the number of permits pulled for Remodeling Projects exceeding $25,000 has dropped just 15 percent from the same period the previous year. And remodeling activity in 2009 is ahead of the pace of activity in 2006, 2005, and 2004.

For Greenville, Anderson, Spartanburg, Pickens, and Oconee counties, remodeling permit activity for the year ended September 30 is as follows:

2004 — 497 permits
2005 — 456 permits
2006 — 557 permits
2007 — 626 permits
2008 — 669 permits
2009 — 571 permits

Customer Service Course Scheduled for December 10

Your HBA of Greenville will be offering a Customer Service course via webcast on Thursday, December 10 at the HBA office.

Make your business grow by keeping your clients happy during and after the sale. This course teaches you how to manage every phase of customer interaction from the initial contact through construction, the warranty period and beyond. Keep your customers satisfied with planning, execution and follow-up of your projects and they'll be spreading good news about you and your company for a long time to come. As a graduate of this course, you'll be able to:

Understand customer expectations and behaviors
Set appropriate service criteria
Establish quality standards and communicate them
Administer the customer service process
Know your obligations for warranty service and fulfill them
Enhance your repeat and referral sales

The course will be taught via webcast by Beverly Koehn, CGA, CGB, GMB, CAPS, CSP, MIRM.

It counts toward designation credit for CGA, CGB, CGR, MSCP, and SCCMB. Continuing education credit for: CAPS, CGA, CGB, CGR, GMB, MIRM, CMP, CSP, MSCP and SCCMB.

This course is $155 for members of the HBA of Greenville or other NAHB-affiliated associations. Non-members are $245. Fee includes course materials, lunch and light snacks during the day. You also will have access to open Wi-Fi at the office so you can work while you learn.

Download the course brochure at, or register online at

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

IRS to Audit Large Companies on Tax, Independent Contractor Issues

U.S. tax authorities will start to audit 6,000 randomly selected companies to focus on employment tax issues ranging from executive compensation to fringe benefits, Internal Revenue Service officials said.

The audits will begin in February 2010 and stretch across all types and sizes of companies. The exams will be deeper than typical audits, and also look at the use of independent contractors and other worker classification issues, a spokesman for the IRS said on Friday.

IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman has said the agency will focus on the wealthy and large corporations as it seeks to recover billions that go unpaid in taxes each year.

About $345 billion goes uncollected from individuals and corporations from U.S. tax authorities each year, according to the U.S. government.

"A significant portion'' of this so-called tax gap comes from unpaid employment taxes, Faris Fink, an IRS deputy commissioner told an accounting conference this week.

Asked how many years the IRS would look at when conducting an audit, Fink said there was no defined time period.

The IRS has not zeroed in on employment tax issues for two decades, according to Anne Batter, an attorney who previously worked in the office of chief counsel at the IRS.

Although the program has not officially started yet, Batter says some of her clients who are large employers have begun to get document requests from the agency.

"The first round of questions we got in this last audit involved deferred compensation, equity, all these fringe benefits,'' said Batter, now with law firm Miller Chevalier, defending clients before the IRS.

"We have definitely had some taxpayers out of the blue (who) have gotten these really big, cumbersome requests for information about their compensation,'' she said.

Source: Insurance Journal

Eisenberg Presents Economic Impact Study to HBA of Greenville Members

Elliot Eisenberg, Senior Economist with NAHB, presented a study on the economic impact of home building in Greenville last Friday at the Fall Southern Home & Garden Show Preview Luncheon. Here's a brief synopsis:

For citizens of Greenville County, housing equals jobs. Here's why:

The home building industry generates substantial local economic activity, including new income and jobs for residents and additional revenue for local government. According to a recent economic impact study presented by Elliot Eisenberg of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in October of 2009, the home building industry's footprint on Greenville County goes far beyond the construction itself. When income earned from construction activity is spent and recycles in the local economy, everyone benefits.

New homes create new jobs, and new opportunities for new residents to move into the Upstate.

The report estimates that 5,388 local jobs are created from building 1,852 single-family homes, based on construction activity from 2008. Multifamily housing (apartment units, downtown condos, etc.) create an additonal 1,193 local jobs, based on building 532 multifamily units. The initial economic impact of building these homes is nearly $378 million. The additional, reoccuring annual impact of these homes is $59 million per year.

Nationally, according to economists at NAHB, three full-time jobs are created for every new single-family home built. These jobs help all of us gain job security and enjoy a healthier economy.

For more, and a copy of the study on the economic impact of home building in Greenville presented last Friday, click here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Greenville in Top Third of Nation's Affordable Housing Markets

Greenville's home prices remain more affordable than in two-thirds of the cities in a national housing index.

The 2009 Coldwell Banker Home Price Comparison Index ranked Greenville in the top one-third of affordable housing markets in the nation with an average home price of $214,116 for a 2,200 square foot home.

The Coldwell Banker data affirms the observation in last summer's S.C. Housing Market Report from the Moore School of Business that "the high affordability of housing in South Carolina will mean that the housing industry will be among the first industries to experience growth as the economy recovers."

The HPCI is an annual study released by Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC that provides a comparison of similar 2,200 square foot, four-bedroom, 2.5 bath homes among 310 U.S. markets.

Coldwell Banker Caine of Greenville participated locally in the study that provides insight into the affordability of homes nationwide. This year's study ranked Greenville No. 103 in affordability, almost $150,000 below the national average of $363,460.

"The Upstate continues to provide a wide range of affordable housing options," said Brad Halter, president of Coldwell Banker Caine. "This affordability, along with low interest rates and tax incentives, provides first-time home buyers and move-up buyers with a unique opportunity to take advantage of Greenville's current housing market." Halter said the study also shows that Greenville's homes are maintaining their value.

Source: GSA Business

American Homes are Getting Smaller

In a reversal of a decades-long trend, the median size of new houses in the U.S. shrank last year, and the downsizing continues in 2009. New houses under construction through June were nearly 200 square feet smaller than two years ago. Has the McMansion era come to an end?

Jeffrey Mezger, CEO of residential construction giant KB Home, thinks so. "We were in the most overheated housing market the country has ever seen, and I don't think it will revert back to that any time soon," he says.

Eric Belsky, executive director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, says that's a good thing: Smaller houses suited to first-time buyers could help the struggling construction sector rebound faster. "Demand has shifted from people looking to trade up to larger homes to first-time buyers who are typically younger, with less income, looking for a place that is more modest," he says.

Smaller houses are also attractive to empty-nesters looking for places that are more energy efficient and less expensive to maintain, according to Stephen Melman, an economist with the National Association of Home Builders. "People want to buy only the home they need right now," Melman says. "They're not going for an extra 1000 square feet anymore."

Yet, by any international measure, American homes are still extra-large: Average new-home size peaked here in 2007 at 2521 square feet. At that time, the average house in Germany and France was about 1200 square feet; in England it was 900 square feet.

Source: Parade Magazine, October 11, 2009 issue

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Planning Commission Tables Zoning Overlay District Ordinance

The Greenville County Planning Commission voted to table a proposed ordinance that would allow for the creation of zoning overlay districts throughout the zoned areas of Greenville County. The ordinance is in response to a subdivision in Southern Greenville County that was approved for single-family residences under the existing R-S zoning classification, but has recently been marketed for "mobile home sites" which are permitted under the existing zoning classification subject to specific restrictions.

The Legislative Committee of your Home Builders Association, chaired by Home Builder Rick Quinn, reviewed the ordinance and concluded that it is not in the best interest of Home Builders or the county. They concluded that the ordinance does not solve the problem of allowing manufactured housing by right in the R-S and other zoning districts, and would implement an entirely new layer of zoning in the county at a time when the county is nearing completion of a new Comprehensive Land Use Plan. They also concluded that an overlay district over the existing zoned areas will affect the value of the underlying property because a purchaser can not depend on the base zoning remaining valid.

The issue is not completely resolved because it could come up again before County Council.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Hal Von Nessen, MIRM, Chosen for Lifetime Achievement Award

HBA of Greenville member Hal Von Nessen, MIRM, has been chosen by the Home Builders Association of Greater Columbia to receive The Lifetime Achievement Award at the REGAL Awards Gala in Columbia on February 20, 2010.

This prestigious award recognizes "those individuals who maintain their commitment, focus, and energy over a lifetime of superlative results singled out for the leadership and inspiration they provide to others."

Hal is a long-time member of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, and is active in our local association. He serves on the committees for the Southern Home & Garden Show and Parade/Tour of New Homes, and his company, RESH Marketing Consultants, is marketing consult for the HBA of Greenville.

Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include: Tom Jenkins, J. Allen Shumaker, Michael J. Mungo, E.D. Sauls, Bob Capes and M.C. Smith.

Congratulations, Hal!

BREAKING NEWS: Boeing picks North Charleston

Boeing (NYSE: BA) today announced that it has chosen its North Charleston, S.C., facility as the location for a second final assembly site for the 787 Dreamliner program. Officials anticipate that the new plant will create up to 1,300 jobs. Read more at

Less than 1% of homes in Greenville, Spartanburg MSA in foreclosure

The Greenville and Spartanburg metro areas ranked 84 and 172 out of 203 major metropolitan areas in the United States in foreclosures, according to data released this morning from a national real estate tracking firm.

Read more at GSA Business.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Housing = Jobs: NAHB's Efforts to Extend the Tax Credit

With the expiration of the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit just weeks away, NAHB last week stepped up its “Revive Housing, Restore America” campaign, asking association members to participate in a grassroots push for the extension and expansion of the home buyer tax credit.

Members are encouraged to log on to to send a letter to their individual lawmakers or call 866-924-6242 (NAHB) and urge their senators and representative to extend and expand the home buyer tax credit to create jobs, reduce foreclosures and excess housing inventories, and to push housing and the economy on the path to recovery.

In the first year, NAHB estimates that an extended and expanded home buyer tax credit would:

Create nearly 350,000 jobs
Spur an additional 383,000 home sales
Increase housing starts by 82,000
Generate $16.1 billion in wages and salaries and $12.1 billion in business income
Yield tax revenues of $8.4 billion for the federal government and $3.2 billion for state and local governments

Click here for more on efforts to extend the tax credit from NAHB.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Home Buyer Tax Credit Vote is Coming: Do Your Part to Help!

The first vote on the new home buyer tax credit will be this week, possibly as early as tomorrow.

Do your part to help your industry by clicking here to send an e-mail to your two senators TODAY!

Check for the latest updates on the progress of the legislation. You can also follow the Fix Housing First coalition on Twitter @fixhousingfirst.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

HBA of Greenville Members Recognized by BBB

Five members of the HBA of Greenville were recognized this week by the Better Business Bureau of the Upstate with Business Integrity Awards. Awards were presented for Marketplace Ethics, Customer Service, and Community Service.

The following HBA members received Business Integrity Awards at a banquet held Thursday, October 22, in downtown Greenville:

Addison Homes, LLC
Hubbell Lighting, Inc. (2 awards)
J. Freeman and Associates
Palmetto Exterminators, Inc.
Prudential C. Dan Joyner Company, Realtors

The Board of Directors and staff of the HBA of Greenville congratulate these members on being honored for their outstanding business practices.

E-Verify Extended for Three Years

A system that lets employers check whether newly hired workers are in the country legally has won a three-year extension from Congress.

But the debate over the E-Verify program is far from over. In addition to renewsing the controversial voluntary program, Congress voted to approve $137 million for it over three years as part of a $43 billion spending bill for the Homeland Security Department. The bill now heads to the White House, where President Barack Obama is expected to sign it into law soon.

South Carolina is one of 12 states that have passed legislation in recfent years requiring employers to use the E-Verify program as a way to combat illegal immigration.

For more on this from The Greenville News, click here.

Seminar on Work Site Safety and Workers Compensation

Join us before the Fall Preview Luncheon as we hold a special seminar for members on work site safety, risk management and workers compensation law. The seminar will be held from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. in Room 201 of the Carolina First Center.

Speakers include Danny Dilworth, ARM, Risk Control and Safety Manager with the SC Home Builders Self Insurers Fund, and Debbie Brown, Esq. and Cory Ezell, Esq., Workers Compensation Attorneys with Gallivan, White and Boyd, P.A.

The seminar is complimentary to members, with RSVP. Guests of members are $20.

To RSVP, contact the HBA Office at 864-254-0133. You can also register online by clicking here.

Annual Meeting Slated for November 19

Make plans now to join us for the 2009 Annual Meeting and SPIKE Appreciation Luncheon, Thursday, November 19 at 11:30 a.m. at the Greenville Hilton.

Special guest speaker will be Barry Rutenberg, Third Vice Chair of the NAHB Board of Directors. Rutenberg will udpate our membership on the state of the home building industry nationwide, and will be honoring our SPIKES, those who help your association grow by recruiting new members. Rutenberg is a third-generation home builder from Gainesville, Florida, where his company Barry Rutenberg and Associates has built thousands of homes in more than a dozen communities.

The Annual Meeting is also a time for members to vote on changes to the association by-laws and the slate of officers for the 2010 Board of Directors. Please note that if you cannot attend the meeting, we have mailed proxy forms and information on changes to all members. Please mail these back to us as soon as possible if you are not able to attend and vote in person.

Click here to download the event form, or register online for this and other HBA events by visiting

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

HBASC Legislative Day and BBQ

On Wednesday, November 18, the Home Builders Association of South Carolina will hold its annual Legislative Day Conference in downtown Columbia at the Marriott. Some of the state's gubernatorial candidates will be present to speak, and the 2010 Legislative Agenda for HBASC will be set. A reception and BBQ will follow.

Invited panelists include:
Congressman Gresham Barrett
Lt. Governor Andre Bauer
Attorney General Henry McMaster
Senator Larry Grooms
Senator Vincent Sheheen
Representative Nikki Haley
Dwight Drake, Esq.
Jim Rex

Special guest will be Bob Jones, Vice Chairman of NAHB.

We encourage all of our members to attend this event. You can download a registration form by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update: Shifting Liability for Workers Compensation Benefits

Guest Author: Scott Bradley of Gallivan, White and Boyd, P.A.
General Counsel for the Home Builders Association of Greenville

On June 15, 2009, the South Carolina Supreme Court reaffirmed that general contractors must thoroughly validate the certificates of insurance of its subcontractors to be able to shift liability for workers' compensation benefits to the South Carolina Uninsured Employers Fund pursuant to S.C. Code Section 42-1-415. The underlying action involved a general contractor that hired a subcontractor to perform certain work on a project. The subcontractor provided the general contractor with a Certification of Insurance in connection with the project. The certificate showed that the policy was effective from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2003 but the "Description of Operation" box was blank and no information was provided on coverage, deductible or the applicable project.

While working on this project, on February 19, 2004, an employee of the subcontractor was injured. As it turns out, the subcontractor did not have Workers' Compensation coverage. Under South Carolina law, since the general contractor was the highger tier contractor, it was the statutory emplyer of the injured worker. Therefore, as statutory employer, it was liable to pay benefits to the injured worker for his injuries. As a result, the general contractor then sought to transfer liability to the South Carolina Uninsured Employers Fund pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. Section 42-1-415.

This matter was heard by the Workers' Compenstaiton Commission, the South Carolina Circuit Court and then appealed to the Court of Appeals. The Court of Appeals reversed the circuit court, finding there was substantial evidence in the record that showed the general contractor did not comply with Section 42-1-415 and therefore, could not shift liability.

The case was appealed once again. The Supreme Court of South Carolina agreed with the Court of Appeals stating that in order to transfer liability, the general contractor must have properly documented the subcontractor's claim that it retained workers compensation insurance. The Court found that acceptance of an incomplete certificate did not constitute proper documentation as to comply with Section 42-1-415. Additionally, the Court noted that a general contractor may not rely upon an expired policy as evidence of workers compensation insurance; therefore, after December 31, 2003 the general contractor no longer had proper documentation that the subcontractor had workers compensation insurance.

This opinion reaffirms that general contractors must diligently verify the information on certificates of insurance and maintain a system to require subcontractors to update their certificates. Otherwise, they may find themselves liable to subcontractors employees for benefits.

Ref: Timothy Mark Hopper v. Terry Hunt Construction, South Carolina Uninsured Employers Fund, Kajima USA, Inc. and Zurich American Insurance Company, Opinion No. 26665, South Carolina Supreme Court (June 15, 2009).


Thank you to Scott Bradley and Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A. for submitting and allowing us to use this article.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Help Us Help Housing: Join the Fix Housing First Coalition Today!

As you many know, things are moving on the homebuyer tax credit and now it appears that there may be a vote on it as early as next week in the US Senate. We're not sure about what that bill will look like just yet - there are a lot of bills, proposals and rumors swirling about. (See the last post in this blog for just one proposal on an amendment to a current bill.)

In preparation for next week, we need your help now to build our army. Some 50,000 people have already taken action through the Fix Housing First website, a testament to how important the tax credit has been to our economy. But we need more - it just takes a second and a few clicks to help us help your industry!

Please join the Fix Housing First coalition by clicking here. Once you join the coalition, make sure to take a few minutes to contact your Senators to let them know how important it is to the future of housing and our economy that the tax credit is extended and expanded.

Senators Isakson and Dodd Seek Action on Home Buyer Tax Credit

Senators Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) plan to offer an amendment to extend and expand the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit to a House-passed bill that would extend unemployment insurance benefits. Though it is unclear if the Senate will act on this proposal, NAHB will be urging senators to approve the amendment if it comes up for a vote.

The Isakson-Dodd proposal would extend the credit to June 30, 2010 and expand it to a wider circle of principal home buyers. It would also double the current income eligibility limit to $150,000 for single taxpayers and $300,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return.

Reporting on the Isakson-Dodd proposal, the AP cited NAHB statistics that extending the tax credit for one year and expanding it to all buyers of a principal residence would spur 383,000 additional home sales, create more than 347,000 jobs, generate $16.1 billion in wages and salaries and $12.1 billion in business income.

To read more on Isakson and Dodd's proposal, as well as NAHB's efforts to extend the tax credit, click here. You can also visit to find out what you can do to help.

Source: NAHB

Friday, October 16, 2009

Record Streak Continues for Pending Home Sales

Pending home sales have increased for seven straight months, the longest in the series of the index which began in 2001, according to the latest survey. The Pending Home Sales index rose 6.4 percent to 103.8 from a reading of 97.6 in July, and is 12.4 percent above August 2008 when it was 92.4. The index is at the highest level since March 2007 when it was 104.5.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said not all contracts are turning into closed sales within an expected timeframe. "The rise in pending home sales shows buyers are returning to the market and signing contracts, but deals are not necessarily closing because of long delays related to short sales, and issues regarding complex new appraisal rules," he said. "No doubt many first-time buyers are rushing to beat the deadline for the $8,000 tax credit, which expires at the end of next month."

Source: National Association of Realtors

Gabriel Builders Receives 2009 Pacesetter Award from NAHB

HBA of Greenville builder member Gabriel Builders, Inc. has received one of eight national Pacesetter Awards from the National Association of Home Builders and Hanley and Wood's Custom Home Builder magazine. The Management award was presented to company owner and Master Builder Gus Rubio in recognition of Gabriel's quality program.

Gabriel Builders was the only builder based in South Carolina to achieve a Pacesetter award; the company is a two-time recipient of this prestigious honor. In 2005, Gabriel received its first Pacesetter award for exemplary customer service.

Congratulations, Gus and Gabriel Builders! Click here to read more about the award.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Current Public Opinion Data on Growth and Housing

A recent poll conducted by Fallon Research and Communications Inc. explored current attitudes toward the housing market and regulatory climate.

Some of the highlights:
  • Americans seem to be acutely attuned to the important relationship between the housing industry and the national economy: 45% say that the real estate industry and housing market are very important to the national economy; another 48% say that they are, at least, somewhat important.
  • 34% of the respondents say that they believe that over the last few months, the economy has imporved a lot or somewhat. Young adults seem more optimistic, with 37% of respondents ages 18-34 saying that the economy has improved a lot.
  • Looking at growth from a local perspective, only 23% of the national survey respondents say that housing growth in their area is happening too fast. 45% say it is happening at a good pace, and 27% feel it is happening too slow.
  • Despite the state of the economy and recognition of housing growth's integral role in bolstering it, there is reluctance to embrace more permissive regulatory postures toward growth. Only 32% agreed that now is the time to eliminate some of the most restrictive housing growth and development regulations. 51% disagreed - the majority of those disagreeing were 55 and older.

For more on this study, click here.

Source: Fallon Research & Communications, Inc.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tom Gipson Wins The View's Ultimate Volunteer Contest

Congratulations to Tom Gipson, member of the Home Builders Association of Raleigh-Wake County, for winning The View's Ultimate Volunteer contest!

Tom was selected out of thousands of entries as the Ultimate Volunteer for starting the Home Builder Blitz program with Habitat for Humanity. The Builder Blitz program recruits builders to build homes for Habitat. Many HBAs across the country have participated in this program over the years, and have built thousands of homes for families in need! The HBA of Greenville participated in 4 local Builder Blitzes in 2006.

Tom will be appearing on The View on Monday, October 19. The View airs on ABC at 11 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Congrats again to Tom and to the HBA of Raleigh-Wake County. This is a huge win not only for them, but for HBAs and builders across the country for the charitable work we do! is now LIVE! is now live with all the latest details on the Fall Southern Home & Garden Show, including updated exhibitor lists, floor plan and information about special events at the first-ever Fall Show. Don't miss out - mark your calendars now for October 30 - November 1!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Fall Home Show Preview Luncheon: October 30

Join us for the Fall Southern Home & Garden Show Preview Luncheon on Friday, October 30 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Carolina First Center, sponsored by Gallivan, White and Boyd, P.A., Attorneys at Law. Elliot Eisenberg, Senior Economist with NAHB, will be the featured speaker. Elliot will speak on the economic impact of home building and the future of the industry.
HBA of Greenville members are complimentary with RSVP. Guests of members are $20. Ticket includes complimentary admisson to the Fall Southern Home & Garden Show. Parking for this edition of the Home Show is provided by the Carolina First Center.

Click here to download the event form, or register on our website at

Please note that tickets will be mailed in advance, so please include your address with RSVP.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Main Street Named "Top 10 Street" in America

Greenville, SC's beautiful Main Street was named to the American Planning Association's list of "Top 10 Streets in America".

Click here for more!

First Annual Fall Southern Home & Garden Show

The HBA of Greenville is gearing up for the inaugural Fall Southern Home & Garden Show, October 30 - November 1 at the Carolina First Center. The Fall Show, much like the Spring Show, is a chance for attendees to see the latest in products and services for the home under one roof. Over 100 exhibitors have signed up for booth space. Lowe's is proud sponsor of the 2009 Fall Southern Home & Garden Show.

One of the biggest features of the Fall Show is Trick-or Treat Night, where the Home Show becomes a safe and all-weather location for children to trick-or-treat, and parents have the added bonus of touring the Show exhibits! Parents accompanying a child in costume receive free admission after 5 p.m. There will also be a special Costume Contest at 6 p.m. for children 12 and under.

The Fall Show will also feature free antique appraisals by Danny Perkins of the Danny Co. Dust off your antiques and raid your attic for items - you never know when your trash might be someone else's treasure! Please, only hand-carry items that would fit through a standard door, and no weapons will be permitted.

Here is a list of other special events and features:
Friday, October 30:
  • Senior Day - Seniors (55 and up) receive $1 off admission
Saturday, October 31:
  • Trick-or-Treat Night: Safe and all-weather trick-or-treating; candy giveaways at all participating booths
  • Costume Contest at 6 p.m. (children 12 and under)
  • Parents accompanying a child in costume receive free admission after 5 p.m.!
Sunday, November 1:
  • $1 off with church program

All days:

  • Free antique appraisals by Danny Perkins of the Danny Co, Inc. (booth no. 754)
  • Football Game Viewing Area, provided by Jeff Lynch and the Carolina First Center
  • Lowe's providing free aprons and children's workshop kits, while supplies last
  • Lowe's Christmas Village
Ticket prices are $5 for adults, $4 for seniors 55 and up; children 12 and under are free. Advance tickets will be sold for $1 off at local Lowe's stores. In addition, on Friday seniors will receive $1 off admission, and on Sunday attendees who bring a church program will receive $1 off. Only one discount can be applied per attendee. Parking is free, courtesy of the Carolina First Center.

Show hours are Friday, October 30 from 12 p.m. - 9 p.m.; Saturday, October 31 from 10 a.m. - 9 p.m.; and Sunday, November 1 from 1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

For more information, visit the Home Builders Association of Greenville on the web at, or call us at 864-254-0133. Click here for a press release about the event.

Survey Shows Credit Woes Threaten Housing Recovery

Nearly two-thirds of single-family home builders are reporting a severe lack of credit for housing production, threatening the fragile housing recovery before it has time to take hold, according to a new builder survey of acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) financing conducted by the National Association of Home Builders.

In the latest NAHB survey of AD&C financing conditions, 63% of builders stated that the availability of credit for single-family construction loans worsened in the second quarter of 2009.

For more, click here.

Spending Still Down for Nonresidential Building

For the second month in a row, nationwide private nonresidential construction spending has fallen, down 1.2% in July, according to a U.S. Census Bureau report released Tuesday.

On a year-over-year basis, private nonresidential construction spending is down 8.4%. Total nonresidential construction spending, including private and public, fell to $703.8 billion, down 1% from June and 2.6% from July 2008.

"Even though the stimulus package is now beginning to meaningfully impact the residential construction sector, the broader economy remains weak and credit remains tight," said Anirban Basu, chief economist for the Associated Builders and Contractors national trade organization.

"The implication is that construction segments only indirectly supported by the stimulus package will continue to experience strong headwinds, while segments directly supported with stimulus money will become substantially more active," he said.

Three subsectors increased on a monthly basis:
Water supply construction, up 4%
Religious-related construction, up 1.4%
Manufacturing construction, up 1%

Subsectors up from July 2008:
Manufacturing construction, up 46.5%
Public safety-related construction, up 14.8%
Power construction, up 10%

Subsectors with the largest losses in spending from June 2009:
Lodging construction, down 8.3%
Commercial construction, down 1.8%
Power construction, down 1.8%

Subsectors posting the largest year-over-year declines:
Lodging construction, down 35.4%
Commercial construction, down 32.4%
Communication-related construction, down 20.1%

Meanwhile, residential construction spending increased 2.3% compared with June, but it is still down 26.9% from a year ago. Overall, total construction spending inched down 0.2% from June and is down 10.5% from July 2008.

Source: Associated Builders and Contractors

Earn Money for Your HBA Through BI-LO boosterplus!

Did you know that just by doing your grocery shopping you can earn money for your Home Builders Association of Greenville?

The HBA is particpating in BI-LO's boostersplus program, which gives 1% of the profit from the shopping trips of participating members right back to the HBA.

All you have to do is click here to download the enrollment cards. Take one card to the cashier with your BI-LO BONUSCARD one time to be scanned and all of your purchases until May 31 will apply for the program. It just takes a few minutes to print out the cards and take them with you on your next shopping trip. Help us continue to provide our members programs and events to strengthen the home building industry.

Need more information? Click here.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Aging Boomer Generations Want Modest Homes; Easy Living

The current housing downturn has taken some steam out of housing demand from the 55+ population, but a survey conducted in February by NAHB and the MetLife Mature Market Institute identifies signficant opportunities in this market for both builders and remodelers at a time when a weak economy has forced households across the age spectrum to reassess how much housing they can afford.

The research was conducted largely to determine how well builders were meeting the preferences of this age demographic, and the results found that the industry was largely on the same wavelength as its potential customers.

The 1,500 consumers participating in the survey showed a strong preference for single-family detached homes in a suburban setting. Low maintenance and the availability of various services emerged as key concerns for 55+ households, and unlike their counterparts from just a few years ago, these consumers exhibited a strong desire for technology-driven amenities, particularly high-speed internet access.

Compared with survey responses from 254 builders who specialize in the 55+ market, consumers were not as aware of many universal housing features as they should be. And like the general population, they started losing some of their enthusiasm for green building principles when it came time to start paying for products that are priced at a premium. Builders, the survey found, will have to lead and educate 55+ prospects in both of these areas.

For more of this article, and more information about the survey, click here.

August 28 is Record Week for 2009 Building Permits

For the week of August 28, 53 single-family permits were pulled in Greenville County, topping the previous record for 2009 set the week of August 11. 13 commercial permits and 11 remodeling permits were also pulled.

The top week during the last four years was in June of 2006, with 126 single-family permits pulled.

State Simplifies New Immigration Audit Process

State officials made a significant change last week to the employer audit process that began July 1 under the state's new immigration law.

The S.C. Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation is now offering a one-page statement for employers to sign affirming that they are not knowingly or intentionally employing people unauthorized to work in the United States.

The form simplifies and replaces the former audit process. To read more, click here.

Source: SC BIZ Magazine

TALK Recognizes Gale Crawford

TALK Greenville Magazine recently named former HBA President and South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame member Gale Crawford as one of the most "25 beautiful women in Greenville". Criteria for the award was a woman that shows her "inner beauty that shines through to create a better community."

Gale has shown dedication to her industry, and to both the Greenville association and HBASC. She served two consecutive terms as President of the HBA of Greenville, and as a Director for HBASC. She is also a Life Director for NAHB.

See more of Gale and the other nominees at

Friday, October 2, 2009

Quinn Satterfield, Inc. Takes Over Leadership of Allegheny

Allegheny LLC, an upscale, gated development situated off Jonesville Road in Simpsonville, announced new leadership with Rick Quinn, member of the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors and 2008 Builder of the Year, and Joe Satterfield, both of Quinn Satterfield, Inc. as its managing partners.

Brandon Eich, former president of Ike Construction, Inc. was the managing partner. Ike Construction filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in August. He is no longer a partner in the project.

Click here for more from GSA Business Journal.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

NAHB Predicts "Great Recession" has Ended

The contraction in economic output (real GDP) slowed considerably in the second quarter and available data point toward resumption of positive growth in the third quarter of this year. It is now likely that the official end to the "Great Recession" lies somewhere within the quarter that just ended, although the decision about exact timing won't be announced for some time.

The housing production component of GDP, residential fixed investment (RFI), is part of the imminent swing from negative to positive economic growth, thanks partly to the temporary $8,000 federal tax credit for first-time homebuyers. The troughs in home sales and housing starts occurred in the first quarter, and RFI should make a positive contribution to GDP growth in the third quarter of the year.

Subscribers to NAHB Economics Reports can read the entire report by clicking here.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where Do My Dues Dollars Go?

Where do my dues dollars go? And what am I getting for what I pay? These questions are most often asked by new members and representatives and often by members who have not participated in the association for several years - until, a dues increase occurs or your membership is up for renewal. Suddenly, the association is asked to prove itself. Once proven, the member usually discovers that the services provided, either directly or indirectly, are of higher value than the actual amount of the total dues. Let's take a look at the Home Builders Association of Greenville dues and what services are provided. The total dues that the HBA of Greenville currently invoices are $505 for Builder and Associate members and $90 for Affiliate members. It is important to know and remember that the amounts are split between three different associations (HBA of Greenville, HBA of South Carolina, and National Association of Home Builders) plus South Carolina Builders PAC.

Let's first take a look at the $150 that is sent to NAHB. The HBA of Greenville is affiliated with NAHB. When you join our local association, you also join NAHB. That membership entitles you to everything from discounts on car rentals, hotels and office supplies to mobile phones, shipping, computers and other services. Your NAHB dues also support the University of Housing, which provides training and certification programs through our local association. One of the most significant services your dues support at the national level is representation on behalf of members at our nation's Capitol. Promoting legislation that is favorable to Home Builders is something that must be done. No member can afford to do it alone at the national level, and the industry can not afford to be without that representation.

Next is the $90 that we forward to the Home Builders Association of South Carolina (HBASC) on your behalf. At the state level, your dues support representation in the legislature, as well as various offices within state government. From building codes, to land use, to environmental and energy standards, taxes, property rights and job site safety, HBASC is working on your behalf in Columbia representing you. You can not find anyone willing to monitor the hundreds of proposed regulatory and legislative changes that our occuring for $90 a year.

The funds you pay to the S.C. Builders PAC are discretionary. You can choose not to pay that portion of your dues without recourse against you or any loss of benefit of membership in the home builders association. However, when you do pay that amount, you are doing your fair share to help the association's government affairs program to elect people who will represent your industry's interests in Congress, the State House, and at Town Hall.

Finally, there is the amount that stays here in Greenville. Your dues fund all of the programs your Home Builders Association of Greenville implements to meet your professional needs from government affairs to education programs to networking meetings to keeping you informed about what is happening in your industry. A professional staff is retained to carry you that work and implement the policies of the association.

Together the three Associations (local, state and national) form one of the nation's largest and strongest trade organizations that benefit an industry of such fundamental importance. Our associations comprise the only organization working around the clock exclusively in the interest of the residential building industry.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Where Do My Dues Dollars Go?

Where do my dues dollars go? And what am I getting for what I pay?

These questions are most often asked by new members and members who have not been active in the association until a dues increase occurs or your membership is up for renewal. That is when the association is asked to prove itself. Once proven, the member usually discovers that the services provided, either directly or indirectly, are of higher value than the actual amount of the total dues.

Let’s take a look at the Home Builders Association of Greenville dues and what services are provided. The total dues that the HBA of Greenville currently invoices is $505 for Builder and Associate members and $90 for Affiliate members. It is important to know that these amounts are split four ways:

  • NAHB: Builders and Associates—$150
  • NAHB: Affiliates—$5
  • HBA of South Carolina: Builders and Associates—$90.00
  • HBA of South Carolina: Affiliates—$10.00
  • HBA of Greenville: Builders and Associates—$250.00
  • HBA of Greenville: Affiliates—$60.00
  • S.C. Builders PAC: Builders, Associate, and Affiliates—$15.00

Let’s first take a look at the $150 that is sent to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The HBA of Greenville is affiliated with NAHB. When you join our local Association, you also join NAHB. That membership entitles you to everything from discounts on car rentals, hotels, and office supplies to mobile phones, shipping, computers and other services. Your NAHB dues also support the University of Housing, which provides training and certification programs through our local association. One of the most significant services your dues support at the national level is representation on behalf of members at our nation’s Capitol. Promoting legislation that is favorable to Home Builders is something that must be done. No member can afford to do it alone at the national level, and the industry can not afford to be without that representation.

Next is the $90 that we forward to the Home Builders Association of South Carolina (HBASC) on your behalf. At the state level, your dues support representation in the legislature, as well as various offices within state government. From building codes, to land use, to environmental and energy standards, taxes, property rights and job site safety, HBASC is working on your behalf in Columbia representing you. You can not find anyone willing to monitor the hundreds of proposed regulatory and legislative changes that are occurring for $90.00 a year.

The funds you pay to the S.C. Builders PAC are discretionary. You can choose not to pay that portion of your dues without recourse against you or any loss of benefit of membership in the home builders association. However, when you do pay that amount, you are doing your fair share to help the association’s government affairs program to elect people who will represent your industry’s interests in Congress, the State House, and at County Square.

Finally, there is the amount that stays here in Greenville. Your dues fund all of the programs your Home Builders Association of Greenville implements to meet your professional needs from government affairs to education programs to networking meetings to keeping you informed about what is happening in your industry. A professional staff is retained to manage your Association and carry out that work and implement the policies of the Association

Together the three Associations (local, state and national) form one of the nation’s largest and strongest trade organizations that benefit an industry of such fundamental importance. Our Associations comprise the only organization working around the clock exclusively in the interest of the residential home building and land development industry.

Legislative Committee Hears Report on Plans for Regional Sewer

The Legislative Committee met yesterday with Ray Orvin, Executive Director of Renewable Water Resources (ReWa), the governmental entity that treats sewage in Greenville, Pickens, and Spartanburg counties.

Orvin reviewed ReWa's new 20-year strategic plan that was developed by a group of interested citizens called Upstate Roundtable.

Among the issues on which Orvin reported is the ongoing consolidation of sewer treatment plants. Orvin stated that in the last 20 years ReWa has reduced the number of treatment plants in its system from 27 to 8. All 8 are modern facilities that have minimized the impact that sewer has on the environment. He reported that a part of the strategy for the future is to recycle and reuse the treatment effluent. The ultimate goal is to stop discharging completely into our local waters.

Orvin also reported on the relationship with the various subdistricts, which collect sewer and transport it to ReWa. He announced that one of the subdistricts, Slater, will be merging with another subdistrict, Metro, in 2010.

The association was involved in the development of the ReWa strategic plan. Participants from the HBA included Gale Crawford, Past President, Graham Proffitt, Past President, Drew Norwood, J.D. Martin, and Michael Dey, Executive Vice President. Please thank them for volunteering.

Monday, September 28, 2009

HBA of South Carolina and Charleston Jointly Sue Dorchester School District Over Impact Fee

The Home Builders Association of South Carolina and the Charleston-Trident Home Builders Association have initiated legal action against Dorchester County School District 2 challenging an impact fee resulting from special legislation adopted by the General Assembly in 2009. Both associations allege that the special law, and the fee, are in violation of the Constitution of the State of South Carolina.

In 2009 the General Assembly adopted special legislation sponsored by Senator Mike Rose allowing Dorchester County School District 2 to impose a $2,500 impact fee on new homes. “We believe this violates the constitution because it gives only one school district the authority to collect the tax,” Phillip Ford, Executive Vice President of the Charleston-Trident Home Builders Association, said.

“The state’s constitution is very clear in prohibiting special legislation that applies to only one county, city, or school district,” Ford said. “It is unfortunate that we have to take this action, but it is important that all South Carolinians challenge their government when they believe their government has made a mistake,” Ford said. “We believe it is important to insure that our public schools have adequate funding to meet their needs and mandates, but we also believe that those funds should come to them from legal sources.”

“Regardless of the schools need for funding, our constitution protects citizens from this type of special legislation when a general law provides guidance for the state as a whole,” said Mark Nix, Executive Director of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina.

The lawsuit will be filed on September 29 in Dorchester County Court of Common Pleas.

Claims Cost you More When your Workers Comp Premiums Are Lower

A major factor in underwriting of Workers Compensation insurance is loss ratio, defined as losses divided by premiums. Not long ago a loss of $10,000 by one contractor paying $20,000 a year in premiums would generate a loss ration of 50 percent. However, in today's economy of smaller payrolls that same $10,000 loss, coupled with an annual premium of $10,000, would generate a loss ratio of 100 percent and make that contractor a much less attractive risk to an underwriter.

In order to protect yourself from unwanted premium increases, or the dreaded cancellation notice, loss management and aggressive safety programs are a must.

Don’t cut back on your safety program. Time and money spent on loss control now will generate a better return than it did when your premiums were much higher. To make sure your safety program is up to the task, contact the Loss Control Department at the S.C. Home Builders Insurance Self Insurance Fund (SCHBSIF) by calling 800-678-8178.

Did you know that builder members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville have exclusive access to workers comp insurance with SCHBSIF? Take advantage of all of the benefits of membership by visiting

New Lead Paint Rules for Remodelers

Remodelers and builders who do renovation or remodeling projects in homes built before 1978 must soon comply with new lead paint safety requirements set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Any company doing work in these homes must be certified, follow specific work practices and keep detailed records. At least one employee in these companies must be trained in these new requirements by April 2010. See for more information.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Top Week For Building Permits So Far in 2009 was in August

The top week for building permits in Greenville County was the week of August 11. For the week 39 single-family permits were pulled, the top week so far in 2009. The week of August 11 also was the top week in 2009 for Pickens County.

The top week during the last four years was in June 2006, with 126 single-family permits pulled.

Source: Construction Week

Greenville home sales outperform neighboring counties

Home sales rose in Greenville during August compared with July, but declined in Spartanburg, the Tri-county area of Anderson, Pickens and Oconee, and also shrank statewide, according to new data from the South Carolina Association of Realtors.

Unit sales were up 18 homes in Greenville to 607, while Spartanburg home sales declined by eight units to 217; and sales in the Tri-county area were down 41 units to 213. Statewide, sales were down 241 units from July to 3,952. Read More.

Source: GSA Business

Associate Appreciation Night: A Great Success!

Thank you to everyone who attend last night's Associate Appreciation Night! The evening was all about saying thank you to our associate members for the support and involvement they give to your association. About 90 attendees enjoyed steak and lowcountry boil on a beautiful fall evening.

A BIG thank you goes to our builder sponsors for making this event possible:
  • Addison Homes, LLC
  • American Eagle Builders
  • Dillard-Jones Builders, Inc.
  • Four Leaf Builders
  • Freewood Builders
  • Harold Moore Builder
  • Keith Smith Builders, LLC
  • H. Dillard Co.
  • The Gregorie Company

Thank you also to our cooks for the evening, Jonathan Giles and Nick Bowman.

If you missed out on the opportunity to attend this event, make sure you check out our other upcoming events, like our Builder After Hours at Palmetto Exterminators on October 12, or the next HBA General Membership Meeting and SPIKE Appreciation Luncheon on November 19 at the Hilton. To learn more, visit our website at and frequently check back at Builder Review Daily for more information!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Upcoming Event: Builder After Hours

If you attended the latest Builder After Hours at Jeff Lynch, you know what a great networking event this can be!

The next Builder After Hours is Monday, October 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Palmetto Exterminators in Greer. Join other members of your association for dinner, drinks and great door prizes.

This event is free and is open to all members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville. RSVP to Liz Davison at 254-0133 or register to attend on our website at

September 30 is the Deadline for Applying for a Special Small Business Stimulus Loan

Is your business suffering an immediate financial hardship? For example, has your business suffered:
  • Declining sales and revenues?
  • Difficulty in making loan payments on existing debt?
  • Difficulty in paying employees?
  • Difficulty in purchasing materials, supplies, or inventory?
  • Difficulty in paying rent and/or other operating expenses?
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering a special deferred payment, interest-free loan for small businesses that have been profitable in the past but are currently suffering a temporary cash-flow problem. The loan program is part of the Federal Economic Stimulus program and expires on September 30.

The loan limit for the ARC Loan program is $35,000.

Two HBA of Greenville banking members have made loans in South Carolina as through the program:
  • Carolina First Bank
  • Sun Trust Bank
You can find out more about the program, as well start the application process, by visiting:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Powerful Video on Builder Struggles, Urging Congress to Extend Credit

Members of the Home Builders Association of Kansas City recently created a powerful video for NAHB about their struggles in the current housing market and why Congress needs to extend the tax credit to save the home building industry.

Click here to see the video.

NAHB, ICBA Meet with FDIC on Exam Troubles

Representatives from NAHB and the Independent Community Bankers Association (ICBA) met with FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair and her staff Monday to discuss the troubling exam environment facing community banks. They told Bair and other FDIC officials that the excessively tough exam environment is having a significant effect on the ability of community banks to lend and support economic growth. The association continues to hear that examiners are overzealous and unduly overreaching and are, in some cases, second guessing banks and professional independent appraisers.

In some cases, ICBA said, examiners are making community banks downgrade performing commercial real estate loans solely because the value of the collateral has gone down and are demanding write-downs and reclassifications of loans based on forced sales of real estate occuring during illiquid or dysfuctional markets. They recommended better communication between the Washington office and field examiners concerning exam policies and that the FDIC ombudsman process be improved so that bankers could feel more comfortable appealing decisions made by field examiners.

Source: ICBA

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thank You, HBA of Greenville Associate Members!

September is Associate Member Appreciation Month, a time for us to recognize the tremendous contributions that our associates make to our local, state and national advocacy efforts, as well as to the overall power and influence of our association. Truth be told, the participation of our associate members is so important to the HBA that Associate Member Appreciation Month should really be celebrated all year round! The HBA Board of Directors wants to personally thank our associate members who are readers of this report for being actively engaged participants in our organization, and for all the assistance they provide on a daily basis to our builder members. The fact of the matter is, we couldn’t do what we do without you. We also strongly encourage all members out there to express your appreciation to an associate member today. Information on the NAHB Associate Members Committee is available on

Also, don't forget that we're celebrating our associate members this Thursday, September 24 at Associate Appreciation Night, 5:30 p.m. at the HBA office. To RSVP, call us at 254-0133 or visit our website,

NAHB Resources on Chinese Drywall

Drywall imported from China that was used in home construction in the United States is causing some concern for homeowners and home builders, and has been a hot topic in the media this year.

Home owners have reported foul odors and air conditioning-related problems in homes constructed with some of the drywall imported from China. Additionally, copper components, and certain electrical and plumbing components might have a blackened appearance. It is believed the drywall was imported into the U.S. between 2004 and 2008. Some of this drywall is alleged to contain high levels of sulfur and/or other contaminants, which it is emitting or off-gassing. Governmental agencies are investigating the potential adverse health consequences of exposure to the sulfur gases. Little is known about the proper methods for investigating and remediating the drywall, which has led to concern for many on how to address the issue.

To help builders and other HBA members become knowledgeable about Chinese drywall and to learn about currently existing resources, NAHB has assembled a webpage with information to help builders learn about the issue so that they can answer home owner questions. To view this page, click here.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Housing Price Index Report

The chart below shows details from local markets from the recently released Housing Price Index report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Local markets continue to fare well, and home values have continued to appreciate in Greenville, Spartanburg and Columbia.

Three HBA Members Form New Company

Three Upstate homebuilders and HBA of Greenville members have formed a new company to develop, design and build Ivy Grove, a new community on Grove Road in Greenville.

Thomas Dillard (Dillard-Jones Builders, LLC), Scott Lynch (Hollison Custom Homes, LLC) and Brad Thompson (First Choice Custom Homes) have formed Ivy Builders, LLC to exclusively build a new 41-home neighborhood on property formerly known as Ivy Lawn, the site of the historic Williams-Earle House. For more on this project from GSA Business, click here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home Buyers Want To Save Energy - But Only At The Right Price, NAHB Survey Shows

Even though prospective home buyers want the benefits of new, more efficient homes, they are unwilling to pay much more for a "green" home, according to a recent member survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

"Although we are seeing significant interest in green building, cost effectiveness is clearly a key concern among home buyers," said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson, a home builder and developer in Tulsa, Okla. "Builders said that among buyers who are willing to pay more for green features, more than half -- 57 percent -- are unlikely to pay more than an additional two percent."

The August survey coincides with news that the NAHB National Green Building Program continues to grow. More than 400 homes, developments and remodeling projects have been certified by the NAHB Research Center, which administers the program and trains and accredits local project verifiers. Of those projects, 43 have been certified to the National Green Building Standard, approved earlier this year by the American National Standards Institute.

Preferences for specific green building techniques are decidedly regional, with builders in the West reporting much more interest in water efficiency than builders in other areas. Interest in homes built with recycled materials is particularly high in the Northeast (the region where the fewest new homes are built) and low in the South (the region with the highest number of housing starts).

Only 11 percent of builders nationwide indicated that their customers ask about environmentally friendly features, according to the survey. "Fortunately, our members are increasingly taking the initiative to educate the home-buying public about the benefits of green construction," Robson said.

Overall, energy efficiency continues to be the primary factor driving the green building movement, squaring with previous NAHB surveys of home builders when asked about buyer preferences. "More and more, our members are able to convince their clients of the benefits of a home built with efficiency and sustainability in mind," Robson said.

"However, when buyers prepare to sign on the dotted line, cost-effectiveness clearly drives their decisions. We need to make sure that our energy policies reflect that reality so that builders have the flexibility to use lot and site design, high-efficiency heating and cooling equipment and other features to achieve the desired results at the right price," he continued.

"Whenever Congress considers how to encourage more energy-efficient construction, it must keep affordability in mind - and look for ways to incentivize these changes not only in new homes, but even more importantly in the nation's much more substantial and inefficient existing housing stock," Robson said.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

What Your HBA Has Been Doing For You Lately

To: Members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville

From: Michael Dey, Executive Vice President

I want to share with you some information about a couple of important meetings that have taken place in recent weeks that bear directly on how the Federal government has intervened in the housing industry.

Meeting with Congressman Bob Inglis

At the request of NAHB, several home builders met with Congressman Bob Inglis and his staff about the challenges being faced by home builders in the new economy. Hal Dillard (2004 HBA President and NAHB Congressional Ambassador to Congressman Inglis), President Bruce Pasquarella, President's Appointee Coleman Shouse (2006 HBA President), Legislative Chairman Rick Quinn, and I sat down with Congressman Inglis and Wayne Roper, his chief of staff, here in Greenville to talk with him about the need for the Federal government to take the following actions:

  • Extend the $8,000 home buyer tax credit until December 1, 2010, and expand eligibility to all home buyers

  • Urge federal banking regulators to improve acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) credit conditions

  • Urge federal housing regulators to correct the flawed home appraisal process

  • Co-sponsor net operating loss (NOL) relief bills: H.R. 2452 in the House and S. 823 in the Senate

We discussed with the Congressman the challenges our members have been having in tackling their credit relationships with their banks as well as the problems many of our members have had in obtaining credit for bona fide projects. We also were thorough in telling the Congressman that our banking members are equally challenged with the constraints of new regulatory oversight and the problems it has created for them in meeting the credit demands of the home building industry.

Congressman Inglis was very attentive to our needs and concerns, although it should be no secret that he is not a fan of stimulus efforts like the tax credit.

Nonetheless, the Congressman took our concerns very seriously and extended an invitation to me to return to his office the following day for a second meeting.

Meeting with Congressman Inglis and the Head of the Charlotte Office of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

I returned to the Congressman's office the next day for a meeting with the Congressman and Matthew Martin, Senior Vice President and Charlotte Regional Executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

We discussed the challenges that Home Builders have had with the changing credit standards and the impact it has had on the industry and the real estate market, including home prices, as well as the industry's inability to meet housing demand, particularly at lower price points. While I do not think the meeting was fruitful in influencing the actions of the Fed, it was fruitful in educating Congressman Inglis about your challenges and the need to tackle over-burdensome regulatory standards and the need to extend the homeownership tax credit.

While we were meeting with Congressman Inglis, there were other meetings occurring around the state with other members of Congress. The meeting with Congressman Spratt was crucial because of the Congressman's position in the U.S. House of Representatives as Chairman of the Budget Committee, a key place in the House leadership.

Now that Congress is back in session, the efforts have shifted to Washington, but the need for our continued efforts to influence Congress on the tax credit and other issues remains important. If YOU have not called or written to Congressman Inglis, you should and you can by clicking on this link:

Property Tax Relief for Home Builders

Our efforts are not isolated to Congress. In June I wrote to you to tell you about the property tax relief your association successfully secured for you for spec houses that have never been occupied. Attached is a briefing paper on that topic from the S.C. Department of Revenue.

An important deadline is coming up that you may need to act upon. If you retain in inventory a spec or specs that were built in 2007 or 2008, that have NEVER been occupied, you can receive relief from the property taxes on the improvements (the house itself, the lot will still be taxed). But you need to apply for that relief by September 30.

Your association also has planned a Lunch and Learn so you can hear about all of the details from the official charged with granting the relief, Debbie Adkins, Greenville County Tax Assessor. Here are the details:

  • Lunch and Learn: Tax Exemption for Home Builders

  • Speaker: Debbie Adkins, Greenville County Tax Assessor

  • Monday, September 21, 11:30 a.m., Hubbell Lighting

  • Please RSVP by emailing

Sometimes in the most challenging of times, you might question the value of your membership. Actions like the ones above go on daily in the good times and the not so good times and they take time, energy, and money. Our Officers, Directors, Councils and Committees keep doing what is necessary to serve and protect this industry and I ask that you think about that as we work through these challenging times together. This is why we also ask you to think of our members first when you are in need of any services or products related to this industry. Members pay their dues which allow us to do what is necessary to watch all of our backs and it is only fair that we give them a chance to earn a living. Please do business with members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville. Find out who your fellow members are by clicking on this link: