Thursday, January 8, 2015

Congress Passes Terrorism Risk Insurance Bill

In one of the first acts of the new Congress, the House and Senate this week approved NAHB-supported legislation that reauthorizes the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA) for six years through 2020. TRIA expired on Jan. 1 and its reauthorization offers stability for NAHB’s multifamily and commercial real estate members by providing affordable and reliable terrorism risk insurance.

In a letter to lawmakers, your Home Builders Association urged Congress to address unfinished business from its previous session by acting swiftly to pass a long-term reauthorization of the program to avoid disruptions to the nation’s recovering real estate markets.

H.R. 26, the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, will ensure that terrorism risk insurance remains available and predictable, thereby allowing the financing and construction for multifamily and commercial buildings to continue.

The legislation was initially enacted in 2002 to provide a federal backstop for insurance companies in the event of a major terrorist attack after many insurers started excluding terrorism events from their policies following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The measure was extended for two years in 2005 and for another seven years in 2007.

President Obama Announces Cuts in FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums

In a move that will help first-time home buyers, President Obama announced today that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will reduce its annual mortgage insurance premiums by 0.5 percentage points from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent during an address in Phoenix.

A fact sheet released by the White Housesays this reduction in premiums will produce an average savings of $900 annually for all new FHA borrowers and that the lowered premiums will create opportunities for 250,000 new home owners to purchase a home over the next three years.

“In recent years, many aspiring home owners have been waiting on the sidelines before buying a new home,” the fact sheet states. “By making mortgages more affordable and helping create further confidence among those wanting to buy a home, the FHA premium reduction will help hundreds of thousands of additional families own a home for the first time.”

Your Home Builders Association supports this action and has previously called on FHA to lower its insurance fees to further boost the housing recovery and reduce the cost of creditworthy borrowers. National Association of Home Builders Chairman Kevin Kelly, who attended the Phoenix event, issued the following statement after Obama spoke:

“NAHB commends the President for taking action to reduce FHA’s annual mortgage insurance premiums by 50 basis points to 0.85 percent. Lower premiums will make home loans more affordable for qualified borrowers, particularly first-time buyers, and help to alleviate tight credit conditions in the mortgage market. This prudent course reflects a recent actuarial report that FHA is back in black and strengthening its financial health. The new premium structure will allow FHA to continue building its reserves.”

Habitat for Humanity's Impact on Greenville: $1.2 million

Habitat for Humanity, a member of your Home Builders Association, recently conducted an assessment of its impact on Greenville County.  Among its findings:
  • The charitable home builder invested $1.2 million in Greenville County in 2013
  • Habitat homeowners paid $142,974 in property taxes
  • 1,541 volunteers contributed 19,000 hours of community service, including many other members of your Home Builders Association
Habitat President and CEO Monroe Free said, "This study shows exactly how much lives have been changes."  2015 is the 30th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity in Greenville.  Habitat will celebrate 325 homes built so far, with more to come.

Read a complete report of the survey at Upstate Business Journal by clicking here.

‘Clean Power’ Regs Delayed

Proposed – and very controversial – plans to tighten regulations governing emissions from America’s power plants will not become final until sometime mid-summer, the Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday.

Your Home Builders Association submitted more than a hundred pages of comments on the proposal in December, and the agency had planned to finalize its regulations by June 15, 2015.

While the sweeping regulations target power plants, they would have repercussions for home builders, who could be targeted with much tighter building code requirements if the draft rule becomes final.

However, as the National Association of Home Builders said in its comments, stricter energy codes would affect only new construction, not the millions of older homes not built to today’s higher standards, and EPA has no authority over building codes in the first place.

In addition, no agency or regulatory body can control how much electrical power a home owner decides to use once the building is occupied.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Want to Serve on a Government Board or Commission?

There are 13 potential vacancies on four boards and commissions of the City of Greenville.  Interested?  Below are the opportunities:

  • Airport Commission: 1 vacancy for a new term beginning April 1, 2015
  • Planning Commission: 3 vacancies for new terms beginning April 1, 2015
  • Arts in Public Places: 4 vacancies for new terms beginning May 1, 2015
  • Design Review Board: 5 vacancies for new terms beginning August 1, 2015
To apply, click here to determine whether you are a city resident and to complete an application.  City Council will consider appointments in the coming months.

If you apply, please notify your HBA by emailing Michael Dey at so we may have the opportunity to assist you with your appointment.

10 New Lead Generation Ideas

Direct mail, jobsite signs, email blasts, newsletters, door hangers, “get a quote” buttons on builder or remodeler websites and radio ads can become background noise in the busy lives of home owners. Generate fresh leads from a different corner of the prospect pool with these not-so-ordinary techniques.

Try public events
  • Host a food truck party or a food truck Friday near your office. Coordinate one truck every Friday, or invite many trucks to your parking lot on a Saturday. Obtain approval from local officials. Publicize it and make sure staff hangs around to talk with potential clients.
  • Host a “dumpster” party. Rent a large, commercial trash container, place it in your parking lot and invite prospects to a barbecue. Price of admission: one household item to throw in the bin.
  • Sponsor a local 5K fun run, concerts in the park, community theater, or a youth sports team to build brand and create goodwill within the community.
Host events in your facilities
  • Host free workshops to educate consumers about the building or remodeling process. Charge nothing, offer food and drinks. Take names.
  • If you have a showroom, put on a cooking class with a local chef and invite clients and prospects to learn how to cook, and eat.
  • Invite a Boy Scouts troop to your shop for lessons on and help creating Pinewood Derby cars. Proper supervision required, of course.
Create or improve mobile signage
  • Convert a box truck or cargo van into a mobile billboard with modern vehicle-wrap products.
  • Place ads on the back of city buses or taxi cabs.
  • Rent a traditional billboard.
  • Buy ad space on grocery store shopping carts or public benches.
Upgrade your jobsite signage
  • Add an artist’s rendering of the finished project. This will alleviate neighbors’ anxiety about what the home will look like, and showcase your vision at the same time.
  • Upgrade the sign’s framing material so it looks nicer.
Be an expert
  • Speak at meetings of local associations such as the Chamber, Knights of Columbus, Rotary, etc. Topics could include, “What to expect when you build/remodel your home,” “Kitchen and bathroom design trends” or “How to hire a remodeler/builder.”
  • Give talks in high school or community college classrooms about your profession.
  • Offer to be an expert for local newspapers, radio shows and cable channels.
  • Give presentations at your vendors’ events.
Participate in open houses and home tours
  • Ask satisfied clients to open their home to their friends and your prospects and throw a party. Pay for catering and clean-up.
  • Participate in or organize a tour of new or remodeled homes. Keep staff there all day and answer all questions with a smile.
Run a giveaway campaign
  • Ask past customers to display a jobsite sign on their lawns in exchange for one entry into a giveaway for a computer, TV, tablet or dinner at the nicest place in town. Ask people to supply contact information in exchange for their entry to the giveaway.Give away products for the home such as tubular skylights, lighting control, windows or doors.
  • If you work in an area with lakes or rivers, give away a canoe or kayak, or fishing equipment. Tailor your giveaway prizes to local interests and hobbies.
Try coffee table branding. When a project is complete, create a coffee table photo book of the project and give it to your clients. Remember to include your logo and website somewhere in the book so family and friends of the clients know who did such fine work.

Meet a new audience. Offer to speak at a meeting of the local organic gardeners’ club, the artists’ club, the craft beer makers’ association, a gathering of train enthusiasts or other hobbyists. The goal is to try something different and expose your business to a new group of prospects.

Hit the streets. Adopt a highway and wear clothing with your company’s logo when cleaning up the road.

This post was contributed by Rob Heselbarth, director of communications for Petersen Aluminum and a member of the National Association of Home Builders Business Management and Information Technology Committee.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Past President Joe Jelks III

Joseph William (Joe) Jelks III, 1990 President of your Home Builders Association of Greenville, died January 3, 2015.  Jelks was Builder of the Year in 1988.

Services will be held Wednesday, January 7, 2015, 1 p.m., at St. Paul's Church, 304 East Camperdown Way, Greenville.  Gifts may be made in his honor to St. Pual's Church and Triune Mercy Center.

Below is the complete obituary from the Greenville News:

Joe Jelks
Joseph William Jelks III, 69, beloved husband of Elizabeth Webb Jelks (Betty), went to be with his Heavenly Father on Saturday, January 3, in Greenville, SC.

In addition to his wife of 46 years, he is also survived by his daughter Elizabeth Webb Jelks Hart (Beth Webb) and her husband Dr. Edward Brantley Hart, Jr., his daughter Margaret Jelks McKinney (Peggy) and her husband Dr. James Edward McKinney, his daughter Nina Elizabeth Jelks Johnson (Libby) and her husband, Dr. James Gowen Johnson IV; his grandchildren, Frances Jelks Hart, Edward Brantley Hart, III, James Edward McKinney, Jr., Joseph William McKinney, James Gowen Johnson V, and Samuel Jelks Johnson. His seventh grandchild is soon to be born.

Also, he is survived by his sister, Margaret Jelks Haigler (Peggy) and her husband, Ted Haigler, and his brother-in-law, William E. Webb.

Born in Winnsboro, SC, on February 19, 1945, Joe was an avid athlete and a nationally competitive junior golfer, winning the South Carolina State High School Junior Golf Championship as a sophomore. He played football for Greenville High, and he enjoyed playing on the golf team at Baylor School and Davidson College where he graduated in 1967 with a BA in Economics. He received his MBA from the University of North Carolina in 1969 and served in the United States Army from 1970 to 1971 where he finished as a First Lieutenant.

He enjoyed a long and vibrant entrepreneurial career as a restauranteur in Anderson and Murrell's Inlet, SC, and a real estate developer and Home Builder (President, C&D Builders, Inc.) in Greenville, SC.  He was especially proud of the following recognitions: South Carolina Restauranteur of the Year (1982), Home Builders Association of Greenville's Builder of the Year (1988), and Member of Greenville Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors.  The passion of his life had become his Lord and Savior. He was a natural encourager to all who knew him. He was a man of great faith, love, creativity, vision and compassion. He was a forever friend to many. He had recently learned from his Lord about becoming less that Jesus might become more (John 3:30).

A worship service and celebration of his life will be held on Wednesday, January 7, at 1 p.m. at St. Paul's Church (304 E. Camperdown Way, Greenville, SC 29601.)

Gifts may be made in his honor to St. Paul's Church and Triune Mercy Center (P.O. Box 3844, Greenville, SC 29608 or