PB December 2004

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Features

The story of Dorothy's quest to meet the Wizard of Oz is analogous to what often happens in the world of personnel and executive recruitment. Working within process-bound organizations, we often journey down long and winding roads, only to have the end result fail to meet our expectations. An example of this happened to a top-shelf candidate we know.

Imagine a community where home buyers can watch their children ride their bikes along the sidewalk from their front porch without the worries of traffic being a danger. Imagine a neighborhood where residents walk to the community post office each morning to drop off outgoing mail, and stop in at the attached café for a coffee to start the day.

In my "Lesson's Learned" column last month (November PB), we spent a morning with two very successful salespeople — Liz and Beth. The magazine arrived just this week and I have already received e-mails from several people in different parts of the country saying, "Hey! I know both of them!" One person even claimed, "I know exactly who you are writing about," and went on to name names.

When the editors of this magazine look at candidates for the most historic and prestigious award in the American housing industry, PB's Builder of the Year, we search for a company with ideas our readers can use to grow the profitability of home building businesses across the country. We look for a business model that fits market conditions emerging in today's national economy, but with broad a...

Phoenix, a consistently strong housing market, keeps pushing its boundaries with communities on the fast-growing citiy's outer ring. One of the newest is the master plan of Verrado, a half-hour drive west of the city. There, with its Horizons neighborhood, Engle Homes' Arizona Division shattered preconceived notions of the prices the market would support at the edge of suburbia.

Read the Special Report this month and the likely result will be a rewrite to the 2005 business plan already on file in your office. Like every company selected as Professional Builder's Builder of the Year, Bigelow Homes in Aurora, Ill., shows home builders a better way to prosper in this ever-changing industry.

For years we've placed tremendous emphasis on the design and construction of front entries. From richly detailed doors to elaborate foyers with vaulted ceilings and multiple layers of crown molding, formal entryways all contribute to the initial impression of a home. At least they do if you're a guest who actually enters through the front of the home.

When we dig into the data from our most recent Builder Financial Study (the 11th consecutive survey of Lee Evans Group clients), we find house prices in 2003 ranging from $98,800 to $3.2 million, but no direct correlation of price and profitability. Thirty-eight percent of the builders had average sales prices under $200,000, 29.

One simple rule governs marketing at Bigelow Homes: say nothing in any communication that any other builder in the market could say. As is usually the case with what looks simple on the surface, the secret of Bigelow Home's marketing efforts goes far beyond the sell line in any advertisement. What Bigelow does so well is articulate to buyers the values that the built-in features of the communit...

It would be rare to find a home builder who has not made a public claim to positively impact society. Ownership housing plays a big role in knitting together the fabric of community in America. But what would happen if social engineering role, along with nurturing the natural environment, became your central reason for being? Would your company be more, or less, profitable? The answers are on d...

For years we've placed tremendous emphasis on the design and construction of front entries. From richly detailed doors to elaborate foyers with vaulted ceilings and multiple layers of crown molding, formal entryways all contribute to the initial impression of a home. At least they do if you're a guest who actually enters through the front of the home.

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Gehan Homes expansion into entry-level home building through...

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