Friday, March 16, 2012

Wall Street Journal: FHFA announces plan to prohibit private transfer fees

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced this week that it will prohibit government-controlled mortgage-finance companies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, from purchasing mortgages that require the payment of Private Transfer Fees.

Private Transfer Fees are a controversial method some developers are using to fund development costs.  Under this method, the developer inserts a condition in the deeds for all of the properties in a development requiring that a transfer fee be paid each time the properties within the development are sold.  The developer uses the future revenue stream to finance the cost of the development.

According to the report, the rule will apply to fee covenants created after February 8, 2011.  Exempted from the rule are fees paid to homeowners and condominium associations and some tax-exempt organizations.

The South Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation in February to prohibit Private Transfer Fees in South Carolina.  Read the legislation at by clicking here.

Greenville Police Department: Tips for Combating Copper Theft

Problem: The demand for copper is increasing globally, which has led to increased cost and an increase in thefts for scrapping. Copper theft poses serious safety hazards to the public and workers and grid reliability during power outages. Economically it is costly to replace and repair damaged equipment.

Techniques to Combat Copper Theft:
  1. Motion Detection
  2. Cameras
  3. Lights/Motion Sensors
  4. Digital Video recording
  5. Proximity card readers
  6. Metal Detectors
  7. Gates/Locks- secure AC units with padlocks and chains so thieves can’t reach metal.
  8. Link control room to surveillance sites
    • Create real-time control and communications with intercom.
  9. Record serial numbers in case the entire unit is stolen
  10. Patrol Area more frequently.
  11. Repair and replace weaknesses in fences
  12. Install hardened padlocks
  13. Install signs to warn intruders of surveillance and trespassing.
  14. Insure roof-top areas with ladder access are securely locked.
  15. Keep shrubbery around gutters and downspouts pruned and trimmed.
    • This eliminates hiding places and improves visibility from the road.
  16. Call 9-1-1 to report damage/thefts right away to insure the timeliest theft tracking.
Remember to report any units you might have which appear to have been damaged.

Credit Sesame: Homeowners are staying in their homes longer

According to a study by Credit Sesame, a credit counseling firm, the average tenure of homeowners selling their homes has increased by 50 percent since the real estate market downturn began.  According to their report, the average tenure of a homeowner between 2001 and 2008 was just 6 years.  By 2011, that number had risen to 9 years.

Read the full report, including why people sell their homes, at by clicking here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gallop: Greenville fifth in community optimism

According to a recent poll by Gallup, Greenville ranked fifth out of 190 metro areas in the U.S. in community optimism.  Specifically, 74.2 percent of Greenville area residents said the area is getting better as a place to live.

Read the entire city optimism article at by clicking here.

Forbes: Greenville tied for first in best cities for job growth this Spring

A new report by Forbes finds that Greenville is the top city in the U.S. in expected job growth during the second quarter of 2012.

The finding is based on a survey of employers by ManpowerGroup.  According to the survey, the employment growth outlook for Greenville is impressive with 26 percent of area employers that expect to add jobs during the second quarter of 2012, compared with 2 percent that plan to reduce employment.  Greenvilled tied with Knoxville, TN, for the top spot in the report, followed by Syracuse, NY, Oklahoma City, OK, and Tulsa, OK.

Read the entire report at by clicking here.

Why you should behave in public

by Michael Dey, Executive Vice President
Home Builders Association of Greenville

Do you wear a shirt with your company's name and logo on it?  Does your vehicle have your company listed on the door?

Just last week I was driving on the freeway and another driver aggressively passed me and changed lanes in front of me.  He was in a hurry I am sure, but what got my attention was the magnetic sign on the rear of his pick up truck.  Right there in front of me was the name of his company, phone number, and website address.

I called him.  Not to complain, but to give him this advice: be careful what you do in public.  After all, what do you think is the likelihood that I will do business with a person who causes me to have to take evasive action to avoid an accident on the freeway?  If you guessed not likely, you guessed correctly.  And that is the same reaction every other person in public will have when you misbehave in public, and the name of your company is prominently displayed on your shirt, or your vehicle.

If found this article in Remodeling this morning that reinforces this advice.  It is a short article by Kathy Shertzer that offers the same advice: behave in public.

Blonquist Joins Addison Homes

Andru Blonquist has joined Addison Homes as Production Manager. In this role, he oversees construction of the company’s EarthCraft House™ and ENERGY STAR® certified homes, ensuring best-practice procedures are implemented from start to finish.

A graduate of Brigham Young University, Blonquist holds a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management with a minor in Business. He is a licensed South Carolina Residential Builder and Certified Erosion Control Inspector. He formerly served as purchasing/estimating manager for Crescent Homes in Charleston and as an operations consultant for the residential building industry throughout the Southeast.

Blonquist is active in the community, volunteering with youth organizations through his church and participating in a number of disaster relief efforts, most recently helping with tornado clean-up in Alabama.

“We are delighted to welcome Andru aboard,” says Todd Usher, president of Addison Homes, a company that builds 100% of its homes to rigorous ENERGY STAR® and EarthCraft House™ standards. “We’ll put his wealth of industry knowledge and experience to good use while building beautiful homes enhanced by resource-efficiency, air quality, comfort, durability and, especially, value.”

Monday, March 12, 2012

Southern Home and Garden Show helps Harvest Hope feed the hungry

Harvest Hope volunteers add donated canned goods to totaling
708 pounds their booth at the Southern Home and Garden Show.
The last three editions of the Southern Home and Garden Show have featured an exhibit by Harvest Hope Food Bank.  Patrons visiting the show receive $1 off their home show ticket if they make a food donation to Harvest Hope Food Bank.

In the most recent Southern Home and Garden Show, visitors to the home show donated 708 pounds of food to Harvest Hope Food Bank.  In addition, Harvest Hope raised an additional $198 in their booth at the home show.

Harvest Hope volunteers and staff man the booth, which features a reverse-framed house built by students of the Greenville County Schools' Vocational Education Program.  The structure is perfect for displaying the donated canned goods.

Thank you HBA members, customers, and friends for supporting Harvest Hope Food Bank.

NAHB Call to Action: Lead Exposure Reduction

Urge your Senators to Co-sponsor S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012
Write your Senators at

On March 1, 2012 Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) introduced S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012. This piece of legislation improves the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (RRP) which has hampered the home building industry with burdensome compliance costs.

The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) finalized the RRP rule establishing new requirements for contractors and remodelers working in homes built before 1978. The rule prescribes a series of work practices and contractor certification requirements as a way to address impacts associated with the disturbance of lead-painted surfaces in older housing. Specifically designed to address potential lead exposures to children under six years of age and pregnant women, the RRP rule requires contractors and remodelers working in older homes to obtain certification from the EPA.

This legislation will restore the "Opt-Out Provision" from the RRP rule which allowed homeowners without children under six or pregnant women residing in the home to allow their contractor to forego the use of lead-safe work practices. By restoring the “opt-out provision”, it will eliminate unnecessary regulations and compliance costs. The savings to the industry will be upwards of $336 million per year.

S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012 addresses the impracticality of the RRP rule and offers solutions to these obstacles.

Click here for the one page summary of S. 2148.

Call to Action:

• Urge your Senators to co-sponsor S. 2148, the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012;
• Write your Senators at

If you have any questions or feedback on this issue, please email

Did You Know: Characteristics of Owner-Occupied Housing in the Greenville Metro Area

A recent analysis by NAHB shows how the Greenville are stacks up against other communities in the US when comparing owner-occupied and single-family housing statistics.  Did you know:

  • Greenville ranks 99 in the nation in population, with 619,832 in an area that encompasses Pickens County as well.
  • Greenville ranks 96 in owner-occupied housing units, with 164,688 owner-occupied homes.
  • Greenville ranks 155 in homeownership rate.  The Greenville area homeownership rate is 68.2 percent.
  • Greenville ranks 303 in vacancy rate with 3.7 percent of owner-occupied homes standing vacant.
  • Greenville ranks 271 in percent of single-family detached housing, with 82.1 percent of is housing stock classified as single-family detached.
  • Greenville ranks 228 in median home value.  The median value of a home in Greenville is $142,600.
  • Greenville ranks 260 in median income of homeowners.  The median income of homeowners in Greenville is $54,549.
  • Greenville ranks 71 in the nation in homes built in 2005 or later.  According to NAHB's report, 11.2 percent of homes in Greenville were built since 2005.
  • The percent of owner-occupied homes in Greenville fell 1.7 percent.  Greenville ranks 235 in the nation in the percent increase in owner-occupied homes.

NAHB Update: NLRB Poster Rule Upheld, but Sanctions Disallowed

NAHB has recently alerted HBA members to a new government rule mandating that most employers prominently display a poster in their workplace that advises employees of their right to unionize.

In a case brought by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has recently upheld the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) collective bargaining rights poster rule, but has also held that an employer’s failure to display the poster will not be considered to be an unfair labor practice, nor will it toll the statute of limitations for filing an unfair labor practice complaint. 

If the rule lacks these sanctions, it may be unenforceable as a practical matter. However, because there is uncertainty as to whether the NLRB or private parties may assert other enforcement options, NAM has announced its intention to appeal the portion of the court’s decision that upholds the NLRB rule. Read the court’s opinion here

A separate challenge to the NLRB collective bargaining rights poster rule, brought by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. The NLRB poster rule is scheduled to go into effect on April 30, 2012.

Read our previous coverage on the NLRB poster rule here, here, and here.