Staying Optimistic Through These Tough Times
Even as homebuilding slowed from 2005 through 2008, remodeling remained a bright spot. When people aren’t buying or building new homes, that decision often results in a concurrent decision to update their current home.
The Greater Lansing Home Builders & Remodelers Association (GLHB&RA) has been part of the Lansing landscape since 1944 when it was chartered by the National Association of Homebuilders. Since then, this nonprofit trade association has served its constituency by providing advocacy for its members and education and outreach for both its membership and the community.
According to Carr, “We serve homebuilders and remodelers as well as suppliers and service providers to the home building industry. We have 350 members in Eaton, Clinton and Ingham counties, and membership in GLHB&RA also enrolls members in the Michigan Association of Home Builders and the National Association of Home Builders. Of our 350 members, about 100 are builders and remodelers and the rest are suppliers who provide things like lumber, doors, windows, siding and the like as well as real estate agents, banks and insurers.
“We act as a voice for the industry in government relations, particularly as it applies to smaller municipalities. Our three-county area encompasses 78 different governmental units, all of which have their own requirements pertaining to building and remodeling.
It’s difficult for individual builders to keep current on all of the particulars, so we step in to provide information to our members and build bridges with local governments.”
Another important mission of the GLHB&RA is education. The national organization provides all the materials for various certifications related to the industry; the local unit makes those classes available to their members and takes care of the scheduling and facility space.
While there is a cost for these classes, Carr points out, “This is an investment for our members. The education and subsequent certifications upgrade their skills and add value to their businesses.”
This June the association’s annual Parade of Homes will give the community an opportunity to see the latest and greatest in home construction and remodeling. According to Cindy Kosloski, chief operating officer, who heads up the event, “This year, the Parade of Homes will feature about 30 new homes as well as four or five remodeled spaces. It gives the builders and remodelers an opportunity to show the public their best work. They will be on site to answer questions about their projects. We’ll have Parade homes throughout our three-county service area.
“New homes will be open from Thursday, June 3 through Sunday, June 6 and then again Thursday, June 10 through Sunday, June 13. The remodeled projects will be open during the second weekend’s hours. Open hours will be 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays.”
She adds, “The 2010 event is sponsored by the Michgan State University Federal Credit Union, and ticket sales and staffing are handled by community charities. The money raised on ticket sales will then go to the participating charities.”
More information about the 2010 Parade of Homes is available at www.glhba.org/paradehomes, a website that includes a virtual tour of homes featured in previous years’ events.
Kosloski says, “We have shown homes ranging in price from about $140,000 to over a million dollars. Some of the homes will be for sale while others have already been sold. It’s a great opportunity for the public to see what’s available and what’s possible in homebuilding and remodeling.”
Last year, about 4,000 people attended the event and hopes are that the number will be even higher this year.
Carr says, “Our other big event every year is the Home Building and Remodeling Show, held this year on February 26-28. This show featured not only displays from over 200 area builders, remodelers and suppliers but also a great lineup of educational presentations and seminars.
Our presenters offered information on such topics as creating outdoor living spaces, green building, kitchen design and other subjects of interest.
We’ve found these to be well attended and we intend to continue offering more every year. We welcome input from our members and the community as to particular subjects they would like to see presented at the home show.”
The association also sponsors smaller events throughout the year like golf outings and dinners, providing an opportunity for members to socialize and network.
Carr’s optimism in predicting a turnaround in the area’s building industry is predicated not only on the recent good statistical news but also on his belief that we have hit bottom and are poised to rebound.
Housing in Lansing continues to offer good value to consumers, and, as the economy improves, pentup demand may well bring about the hoped-for resurgence in homebuilding and remodeling that the state is anticipating.
Carr mentions an initiative recently getting some buzz in the press: Cash for Caulkers. This proposed stimulus program would provide homeowners with money to make their homes more energy efficient. While this is intended to benefit homeowners and improve energy efficiency, a laudable goal, it would also bring increased business to remodelers and jobs for workers trained in green technologies.
Though still in the talking stages, Carr predicts it would increase motivation in the direction of upgrading existing homes.Things are looking up. Even after a hard winter, spring invariably arrives.
Greater Lansing Home Builders & Remodelers Association
Douglas Carr, Chief Executive Officer
Cindy Kosloski, Chief Operating Officer
2937 Atrium Dr., Suite 201