Thursday, September 27, 2012

LLR sting results in 70 cases against unlicensed contractors

The S.C. Residential Builders Commission recently participated in a national sting operation in which investigators found 70 cases of unlicensed activity in just an eight-hour period.

Six investigators from LLR’s Office of Investigations and Enforcement worked with the commission to review more than 200 Internet listings and patrol home improvement store parking lots across the state to find people who were advertising plumbing, electrical, carpentry, HVAC, roofing and other building services requiring licensure by LLR.

“What we found in just one day further emphasizes our message that consumers need to be on alert any time they hire someone to do work to their homes: Make sure they are licensed, and never pay the full cost of the work upfront,” Administrator Janet Baumberger said. “Our investigators and staff will continue their diligent efforts to find and shut down unlicensed builders.”

The sting on September 10, 2012, was coordinated by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA), and the goal was for states to work together to protect consumers and deter illegal construction activity. The sting resulted in 16 open cases in the Upstate alone.

In addition to South Carolina, six states participated in the sting: Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Utah.  “This was not a one-time occurrence,” Baumberger said. “We routinely search the Internet for unlicensed people who are offering building services in our state. And our investigators always have their eyes open for unlicensed activity.”

Consumers can check to see if a builder is licensed by going to and clicking on Licensee Lookup.  All Builder members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville maintain either a residential or commercial builders license with LLR as a condition of their membership.

The RBC licenses all residential builders and home inspectors and registers all specialty contractors in the state. The commission investigates complaints from homeowners having problems with builders or registered specialty contractors and, if necessary, takes disciplinary action against them.

Most builders who do home improvement projects will fall under the Residential Builders Commission. However, a contractor might be licensed by LLR's Contractors' Licensing Board, which regulates the practice of general and mechanical contracting, burglar and fire alarm system businesses and fire protection sprinkler contractors.

In addition to making sure a builder is licensed, the Home Builders Association of Greenville offers the following tips when hiring someone to do work on your home:
  • Ask the builder to provide you with the names and contact information of people he worked for in the past.
  • Check with the Home Builders Association of Greenville and Better Business Bureau of the Upstate to see if there have been complaints filed against the builder.
  • Don’t rely on verbal promises. Ask the builder to provide you with a contract, and read it thoroughly to make sure everything you agreed on is in the document.
  • Don’t pay all the money upfront.
  • Beware of any contractor who solicits business saying he "has material left over from another job in the area and can give you a real good price." This is a sign you may be dealing with an unlicensed contractor or scam artist.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Three HBA of Greenville Builders Receive Pinnacle Awards

Gus Rubio, Bruce Pasquarella, CGP, and John DuBonn
Three Builder members of the Home Builders Association of Greenville were honored with Pinnacle Awards during a ceremony in Columbia on September 20. In total, home builders statewide were honored.

Earning Pinnacle Awards from Greenville were:
Rubio is a member of the HBA of Greenville Board of Directors and Pasquarella is the 2009 President of the HBA of Greenville.

The Tenth Annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony was held to honor the recipients of the Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards recognizes the craftsmanship of the best home builders and remodelers in the Palmetto State. Pinnacle Awards are selected in six categories – new homes, remodel projects, green building, energy efficiency, subdivision/community and sales & marketing.

About the Pinnacle Awards
The Pinnacle Awards were created to honor those in the home building industry who have achieved the highest standard of quality craftsmanship, innovative problem solving and customer satisfaction. This competition is a privilege of membership, as well as a means of challenging our members to greater levels of achievement.

C. Dan Joyner inducted into S.C. Housing Hall of Fame

Donna Smith, Kat Joyner, and Danny Joyner
The South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame inducted C. Dan Joyner (posthumous), Marc Ellis, and John W. Uldrick into the prestigious honor society for their work in and support of South Carolina’s home building industry. The induction ceremony occurred September 20 at the Riverbanks Zoo and Garden in Columbia.

“We couldn’t have asked for three better nominees than C. Dan Joyner, Marc Ellis, and Johnny Uldrick, because of their unwavering efforts to protect the home building industry and the American dream of homeownership,” said Kenneth E. Ormand, Jr., chairman of the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame Trustees. “The South Carolina home building industry has been fortunate to have these champions working for the benefit of our citizens.”

C. Dan Joyner’s contributions to the housing industry are varied and stem from his success in building one of the largest real estate brokerage firms in the U.S. He once listed one of his greatest accomplishments as, “finding homes for people.” However, his business success is not the story that defines C. Dan Joyner. How he gave back to his community and industry is what best reflects C. Dan Joyner. He was a driving force to support efforts to boost Greenville from a sleepy textile town into one of the “most livable” communities in America.

C. Dan Joyner died in January 2012.  He was represented by his family at the ceremony led by his son, Danny Joyner, now President of Prudential C. Dan Joyner Realtors, and C. Dan Joyner's wife, Kat Joyner.  Keith Smith, CGP, a member of the Housing Hall of Fame and past president of the HBA of South Carolina and HBA of Greenville, and Donna Smith, Broker-In-Charge of Prudential C. Dan Joyner Realtors, presented the honor.

Also inducted were Marc Ellis, a home builder from Hilton Head Island who presently serves as State Representative to NAHB, and John (Johnny) Uldrick, a home builder from Greenwood and Region Vice President of HBA of South Carolina.

About the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame
Established in 1995, the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame has inducted 65 outstanding individuals from all over the state. Displayed proudly in the office of the Home Builders Association of South Carolina, the South Carolina Housing Hall of Fame honors individuals who have made a lasting contribution to the housing industry and to their communities, as well as the state of South Carolina and the nation, through their work in building and development, public service and housing-related areas such as education, architecture and planning.

Steven Mungo, Ed Byrd honored as HBASC Builder, Associate of the Year

Steven Mungo and Mike Lowman

On Thursday, September 20 at the annual Celebration of Excellence dinner in Columbia the Home Builders Association of South Carolina (HBASC) honored Steven Mungo, CEO of Mungo Homes, and Ed Byrd, CEO of Southeastern Insurance Consultants, Inc., with the Thomas N. Bagnal Builder member of the Year and the HBASC Associate of the Year awards. Both awards are given to individuals who demonstrate the same qualities as the awards namesake, Thomas N. Bagnal. These qualities include: tireless service to their community, home builders association (HBA) and to the home building industry.

Steven Mungo was honored for his tireless dedication to the home building industry and the HBA. Mungo Homes has been a member of the HBA of Greenville since 2010.  The Mungo Homes, headquarters in Columbia, also operates in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, Raleigh, and Savannah. Steven has served as President and on the Boards of both the HBA of Greater Columbia and the HBASC.
Ed Byrd and David Gully

Ed Byrd has been an ardent supporter of the home building industry and a member of the HBA for more than 10 years. He has actively served the HBA and continues to give generously of his time and resources. Ed has testified in Senate and House Committee hearings on behalf of the home building industry and the citizens of South Carolina. Ed’s fervent support of the home building industry and the HBA is evident in his actions and support.

The Board of Directors of the HBA commends both men on their commitment to the HBA, home building industry, and to their community.

FHFA House Price Index Up 0.2 Percent in July

U.S. house prices rose 0.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis from June to July, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s monthly House Price Index. The previously reported 0.7 percent increase in June was revised downward to a 0.6 percent increase. For the 12 months ending in July, U.S. prices rose 3.7 percent. The U.S. index is 16.4 percent below its April 2007 peak and is roughly the same as the June 2004 index level.

FHFA uses the purchase price of houses with mortgages owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac to calculate the monthly index. For the nine census divisions, seasonally adjusted monthly price changes from June to July ranged from -0.8 percent in the East South Central division to +1.3 percent in the Mountain division while the 12-month changes ranged from -1.4 percent in the Middle Atlantic division to +11.9 percent in the Mountain division.

Monthly index values and appreciation rate estimates for recent periods are provided in the table and graphs on the following pages. Click here for complete historical data.

GBS Building Supply celebrates 40th anniversary

John Cothran cuts the "ribbon" of the first GBS store in Mauldin

GBS Building Supply opened its doors to Greenville's home builders in September 1972. Today its serves the entire Upstate, Western North Carolina, and Northeast Georgia for four locations.

GBS was founded by 10 local home builders:
  • R. Buford Landers, the first CEO of Greenville Building Supply
  • M. Graham Proffitt III, member of the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame, 1964 President of the HBA of Greenville and 1991 President of the HBA of South Carolina (and still an active member of the HBA of Greenville)
  • John C. Cothran, member of the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame and 1972 President of the HBA of Greenville
  • Ellis Darby
  • David Balentine, 1978 President of the HBA of Greenville
  • Edward H. Hembree, 1968 President of the HBA of Greenville
  • W.N. Leslie, member of the S.C. Housing Hall of Fame and 1969 President of the HBA of Greenville
  • Alvin Trammell
  • Chester A. Reece
  • W.C. Ballentine
Today GBS Building Supply is owned by its 100 employees. The company's CEO, Bob Barreto, is a member of the HBA of Greenville board of directors.

Greenville makes list of improving markets for fourth month

The number of improving housing markets across the country rose to 99 in September, according to the National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI). This is up from 80 metros that were listed as improving in August and includes representatives from 33 states as well as the District of Columbia.

The index identifies metropolitan areas that have shown improvement from their respective troughs in housing permits, employment and house prices for at least six consecutive months. Markets added to the list in September include Tucson, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; Springfield, Ill.; Greenville, N.C.; and Bend, Ore.

Greenville, SC has been on the list for four months. Click here to learn more.

Builder confidence continues to rise

Builder confidence in the market for newly built, single-family homes rose for a fifth consecutive month in September to a level of 40 on the NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).  The latest three-point gain brings the index to its highest reading since June of 2006.

Builder confidence also rose across every region of the country. Looking at the three-month moving average for each region, the Midwest and West each registered five-point gains, to 40 and 43, respectively, while the South posted a four-point gain to 36 and the Northeast posted a two-point gain to 30.

The Builder Confidence Index measures builder sentiment about the building industry through a survey a NAHB members conducted by the Housing Economics Department of NAHB.  The index measures sentiment on a scale of 0 to 100.  A measure of 50 indicates a neutral sentiment.  Above 50 indicates a positive sentiment, and below 50 indicates a negative sentiment.  The index bottomed out at 8 in January 2009 and has been steadily rising since January 2012.

Read more.

Monday, September 24, 2012

S.C. Ranks 17th in earnings growth

A report released by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reveals that personal income in South Carolina grew by 1.1 percent during the second quarter of 2012, 17th highest in the nation.  The U.S. average was 1 percent.  During the first quarter of 2012, South Carolina personal income grew by 1.7 percent.