Custom Home Building Questions
1) How has your business changed during these challenging economic times?
2) What new aspects of your industry do you think customers and readers would
be interested in hearing about?
3) What can the local / state economic and government institutions do to
improve the economy in Central Oregon?
Greg Welch Construction
1) The company has created new floor plans to meet the market demand and with the adjustment in land pricing new homes are coming in at great prices.
2) There are still builders building new homes (custom & spec.) in this market and today is a great time to build or buy a new home.
3) I would hope that soon our local banks can get back to working with builders and lending once again on projects.
President PacWest Homes
1) We have streamlined personnel and our systems to maximize every dollar both within the business and as it relates to the cost for our customers.
2) The continued evolution of “Green Building” techniques. We have seen many Green aspects continue to drop in price, making them viable in many if not all of our projects.
3) I believe that the local and state government can make doing business in Oregon and specifically Central Oregon appealing to employers who want to move employees in and grow sustainable jobs. Added taxes to employers are not the answer and without consistent taxpayers our state is on a crash course. I believe if you’re not growing you’re moving backwards and without the jobs we’re certain of becoming another struggling economy like California. One thought as it relates to building is a SDC abatement for a period of time to stimulate residential and commercial projects.
Norman Building & Design
1) Certainly the most evident “change” is the level of employment within our company. We have, as of a necessity, taken a fresh look at every phase of our company with an eye to streamlining the process and delivering more for less. It has impacted everything down to the smallest detail from the design of a home to the details within that home. It was important not to stray from our standards of quality yet to meet those standards in a more cost effective way. It has been a very challenging time but the lessons learned will serve the company not only in the present economic climate but in the better days that lie in the future.
2) Specific to our company it’s that the costs of owning a truly custom home are more affordable then ever. While there remain many homes on the market, the opportunity to select a home site (land costs have dropped sharply) and to design a home from the ground up to meet your specific needs as well as your financial goals is again a solid option. For a long time putting the “pieces together” and building your dream home was simply far more expensive than buying what was available for sale. With the fall in land costs and construction costs each person considering the purchase of a home should take the time to evaluate all the options available before moving forward. Too often people make do with something less than ideal for their personal situation (bigger than they need, smaller than they desire) and make it work—you can create something that is the ideal home at a price that works again.
3) It seems at every level of government there are efforts being made to bring solutions to all sorts of problems. These are very difficult times but knowing the rules, the costs of moving forward are key. As a home builder one area to address is the appraisal system currently in place. In an effort to address past problems they have put in place both here in Oregon and elsewhere an approach that simply does not reflect “reality.” It needs to be addressed in a sensible way to allow for a healthy and strong home construction industry here in Central Oregon as well as elsewhere.
Northwest Home Interiors
1) It has changed for the better! The opportunity to streamline business is a difficult one to grab at times. We are extremely proud of our customer service and overall business efficiency right now.
2) I really think Americans would be amazed at how American manufacturing jobs have deteriorated in our industry. I think they would want to know, but would not be happy about the truth. I think the people must first be aware of a situation in order to demand certain actions by their elected officials. Change always starts at the grassroots.
3) Local economies are subtly guided via corporate laws. Adjusting these laws for business growth in the future can only help in local job creation. This should be job #1 for any elected official in improving an economy.
J. Kimo Dejon
Aloha Blinds & Designs, Inc.
1) Drastically – we have barely been able to hang on – and then only because of our long term relationships with national and regional builders – and our shift of focus to home automation / motorization integration targeted at the discretionary client. We have had to basically “re-invent” ourselves to keep our brand in front of existing and prospective clients in the western US region that we operate in. We have become more dutiful in our strategic marketing efforts and programs to ensure our message comes across with a high sense of quality product, excellent service and competitive pricing.
2) With the purging of many players in our industry – including a significant number of our competitors in our operating footprint – the industry has definitely shifted and refocused itself to introduce better products at much better pricing levels to address the contraction… and the demand of our customer base to deliver more for less!
3) On all fronts – city, county and state – the effort to improve our economy has been – and is – abysmal. Our own City of Bend gets a failing grade for their lack of leadership…the need to attract regional and national business enterprises to Bend and Central Oregon is non-existent. The real and long-term fiscal underpinning to bolster and solidify our economy and business outlook is sadly nowhere to be found.
It appears that local government is more interested in engaging the public and media in defending its lack of real leadership than doing something solid about it. It is quite clear to us in the small to medium sized business community that there is no one in either the chamber of commerce or the government that has a real business background or acumen to get companies from outside the Central Oregon region to even look at relocating here.
County government would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to let their employees get unlimited massages then to launch a dynamic and strategic marketing / PR program to consider moving part or all of their operations to Central Oregon. There is no real credence in what they do in this department – their only real interest is to preserve their life-long government-supported jobs and retirement programs!
Look at the state government – the much debated and controversial measures that we passed recently, by mostly left wing liberal democrats – interested only in publishing lies and mis-truths in their multi-media PR / advertising campaign ( which by the way was all concocted and devised by hired content guns – who readily admitted their state supported misleading statements and copy in the advertising campaign for these measures ) these people are set on their liberal and self pocket lining agenda via PERS and salary increase, while lying about school closures, etc.! How many schools have closed in the state…how many county and state government employees have lost their jobs, have seen schedule reduces in their jobs or have even taken a pay cut or voluntarily agreed to a reduction in the contributions to their PERS accounts? This – while the private employed citizens of Oregon are embroiled in the worst recession and economic plight in modern history.
When we can address the basic fundamentals that are wrong in this city, county and state…only then can we start to right the wrongs that are purveyed by these governmental departments with self interest at their top agenda. Until then, all the rhetoric and empty content that comes out in print or verbal public copy is just a lot of hot air and B.S.!
1) Sage Builders, is concentrating on building jobs on customers lots. In the past, Sage was working on speculative multifamily and single family homes
2) Green building is the hot topic in our industry today.
3) Remove unnecessary regulations from small businesses.
1) In the last three years we have become a more efficient, leaner business with lower operating costs and fewer employees, while also forging new business partnerships in our community. We have taken this time to continue perfecting our green building systems with our dedicated clients. Our homebuyers have become more sophisticated and supportive of sustainable building practices and this has created a perfect environment for SolAire to build smaller and build better. Our average home’s size is hovering around 2,200 square feet, the energy performance is twice what it was in 2005, and the carbon footprint is a fraction of the Oregon Building code. This year the average size of new homes continues to decline in the range of 1,400 to 1,800 square feet, while the desire for custom quality and energy efficiency continues to rise.
2) Our customers have become very knowledgeable about their own economic situations and they are looking for ways to achieve better value and quality in the homes that they purchase. Energy saving strategies, products and rebates are of keen interest to homebuyers. Understanding the up-front cost for these items in the home and the energy incentives available help our customers make informed decisions regarding energy technologies. Clients are asking about near zero net homes, ground source heat pumps, active solar panels, home automation, and LEED for Homes certification. But for many it is not just about energy savings, it is also about how to create a healthy home environment that contains fewer toxins and healthy indoor air. Lastly, SolAire answers questions about how to buy local, environmentally friendly products. Ultimately this will be a very critical way for consumers to affect embodied energy consumption, achieve a carbon neutral lifestyle, and promote a local sustainable economy.
3) Local and state economic and government institutions can have a tremendous impact on our economic future. Key will be continuing to encourage “clean industries” to locate in Central Oregon, providing technical and professional family wage job opportunities and increasing the tax base. Supporting existing educational institutions and the expansion of a vocational/technical COCC campus would further support new industries and jobs in our community, diversifying our labor force away from its heavy reliance on commercial construction, residential home building, and tourism.
I also think long term stabilization of the local and state energy incentives will improve the continued expansion of renewable energy systems on homes and buildings in Central Oregon, lowering our community dependency on volatile oil-based energy sources. I recommend that local and state entities also continue to look for ways to reduce the cost of their own overhead, reorganize their workforce, and provide education and training for employees recovering from these tough times.
SolAire Homebuilders has been named 2010 OREGON ENERGY STAR BUILDER OF THE YEAR for the second consecutive year!