While conducting research on a builder for a recent issue of Professional Builder, I did what most people do first when they want to learn more about a company, or any subject for that matter. I went to Google.

It’s hard to say who has taken the “a la carte” mentality to the most absurd level, the airlines or the rental car companies. Pay for food, pay for sodas, pay for bags, and one of the discount airlines is now charging for both checked bags and overhead storage.  This is beyond the pale.

I had the chance today to spend some time talking with Manfred Seitz, chairman, president and CEO of Bosch Power Tools, during a visit to the company's U.S. headquarters.

The residential market's "shadow inventory" is up more than 10 percent from a year ago, according to real-estate research firm CoreLogic.

Standard & Poor is predicting more home price pain for 2011.

Analysts from the financial market intelligence firm are calling for a drop of between 7 and 10 percent through the end of next year.

I know from personal experience buying a home a few years ago, it was nearly impossible in 2006 to find a builder that would build something less than 3,000 sq. ft. with any sort of quality.

Marketing and generating leads continues to be challenge No. 1 for many remodelers. If you're in that group, here's a chance to polish your skills.

Another positive prediction for the housing market this week, as the National Association of Realtors released their latest forecast for 2011 during the group's annual conference in New Orleans.

While making sales presentations to three of our four most recent prospective clients, we were hired on the spot – three times!  On the first two occasions, we did not have our start-up paperwork and consulting agreements on hand and ready to go.  We had become conditioned over the past three yea

Let’s face it, time are tough, and many home builders are doing all they can to keep their doors open amid the brutal economic conditions.

Big move by NARI last week:  the trade association has hired a lobbyist to represent remodelers' interests in Washington, D.C.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” — Confucius

Demographics locally have always figured into a builder’s planning. Nationally, demographics do something different. They help paint a picture of a housing market in the aggregate. Major trends and themes emerge from these national statistics.

Since 1993, Professional Builder and the NAHB Research Center have teamed to sponsor the National Housing Quality Awards — the highest recognition in the housing industry for quality achievement.

I just finished a day in Australia, working with suppliers and trades in one-hour Lean meetings. Guess what? If not for the accent, local terminology, and slang, you’d never know the Aussies from the 60 U.S.

For more than 20 years, I have traveled the U.S. and Canada almost weekly.

The scenario is all too familiar to builders that have lived through multiple economic recessions: The moment the housing market dives, banks and lending institutions come calling.

Hoping for something provocative to read on a long trip, I picked up a book of short essays by Kurt Vonnegut. I have always felt an unwarranted kinship to him simply because I recall going to Vonnegut Hardware in Indianapolis as a kid with my dad, where Kurt worked summers growing up.


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