PB January 2007

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Features

If you attend the International Builders Show (IBS) in Orlando, Fla., expect to see lean, hungry builders prowling the exhibits for sales-related software, and packing the more than 40 seminars in the sales and marketing track. The smart ones will be asking every expert they meet how to take Internet selling to new extremes.

An online concierge named Kim takes center screen when online visitors arrive at the Web site for Tampa, Fla.-based home builder Smith Family Homes. Judging from industry accolades and the increase in traffic the site has experienced, this virtual concierge is doing her job well.

It was the sexual revolution, and the home building industry wasn't left untouched — at least not if Practical Builder could help it. A 19-page feature in August 1967 called "Sex and the Single-Family Home" attempted to tackle how sex influenced — or failed to influence — builders' business decisions.

Included in this section are products from Grabber, Starrett, MGS and others

One home builder hopes a recently introduced falls prevention program that anchors trades to the roof will reduce risk. A practice calling for the use of permanent roof anchors was accepted by OSHA.

Poor credit quality is here to stay. Builders who want to survive with only good or great credit customers will not be able to achieve their fair share of the market. Begin by educating yourself on the mortgage business.

Pinched pennies during the war led to spending in the aftermath. Economic growth started one year prior and continued through to 1960, making the United States the world's richest country. The two major sources for economic growth from 1946 to 1955: housing and automobiles.

Included are the latest products from top flooring producers

Professional Builder just completed its 70th year of publication; we debuted in 1936 as Practical Builder. The staff has been digging through the archives, finding great stories and information about the housing industry's evolution and the effect is a little like rummaging around in our grandmothers' attics.

Wind power is the world's fastest-growing energy technology. Could it be too futuristic or too expensive for your clients? Because energy prices are volatile and concerns about energy dependence exist, it might not be.

In our 70-year history series of articles, we've identified the major movements, report on what's happened in housing over the last 70 years, examin how PB reported on the industry, and recognized the events that have shaped where we are today.

Aggressive Atlanta-based builder Keith McSwain knows how to coax Southerners into buying houses. With more than 2,200 sales in six cities last year, his McCar Homes is showing the world how to grow a private home builder fast — organically.

As the home building industry becomes increasingly competitive, our attitude toward customer satisfaction will need to change. Whereas it used to be a major advantage to have satisfied customers, it is now a requirement. The best home builders create avid customers — a source of differentiation you need to thrive in the competitive market.

The last 10 years were all good years for the American housing industry. The unprecedented national housing market expansion that began in 1993 ended abruptly in the fall of 2005, but that 12-year housing boom made many builders wealthy. It also made a lot of home building companies large, especially at the top of PB's Giant 400.

Robert S. Mann's "Defect-Free Buildings: A Construction Manual for Quality Control and Conflict Resolution" defines physical and legal defects, tells builders how to prevent them and trains builders on what to do when disaster strikes.

Initially launched in 1993, the American Lung Association has trained thousands of builders from across the U.S. under the Health House program.

Battered by an energy crisis, record inflation, and high interest rates, the housing industry came through this 10-year period bruised but not beaten. Baby boomers came of age in the '70s and '80s and began forming households, renting apartments and buying homes. As a result, 1978 marked an all-time high for yearly housing starts — 2,020,300.

Included in this issue are products from Dietrich, Weyerhaeuser and others.

Speakers at Professional Builder's 2006 Benchmark conference shared the books they say have driven them to success.

Four design principles are incorporated into every Charter Homes home plan: flexible spaces, natural light, site lines and timelessness.

As soldiers made their way back home from World War II, the American family sprung into action. An increase in births from 1946 to 1964 created a population boom — known as the Baby Boom. The Baby Boom accounted for more than 76 million births in the United States during its 18-year run with the highest concentration of births occurring between 1957 and 1964.

The owner of Jagoe Homes talks about appliances, building material and softward solutions that they prefer.

Most home builders are seeing their worst margins in 15 years. Thus builders in America now face the acid test on quality and customer satisfaction, when you can no longer afford to give away.

Using radiant floor heating seem like a sound idea for years. However, failures in a piping system in the 1980s and 1990s threw doubt on the soundness of hydronic heat systems. In response, radiant floor systems, such as NuHeat, stepped up marketing efforts, touting the dry installation option as a safe, reliable and simple solution to keep floors nice and toasty.

When Professional Builder was founded in 1936, the housing market was in a slump, along with the rest of the country's economy. From the heights of 1929, the home building market dropped 90 percent in the first four years then flattened out for the middle part of the decade.

Research shows that certain things can capture women's attention more than others. That's where women-centric design concepts offer a blueprint for home builders.

This month's column focuses on the job seeker because the fraternity of unemployed in our industry is growing rapidly as the housing market declines.

For several months, Professional Builder has monitored the forecasts and fears of economists and builders to get a handle on the recent dip in demand for new homes. Is the worst over? Is the worst yet to come? The consensus: It depends.

Builders have made news with deep discounts and incentives to get rid of growing inventories. But what are the options for the average-size production builder who wants to stay competitive? The key to staying afloat — and perhaps coming out on top in your market — is focusing on brand identity.

Show Village — Professional Builder's annual model home display at the International Builders' Show — features real homes loaded with building products builders can use, all showcased in the show parking lot.

A deep-seated financial resource for home builders was uprooted like an oak tree in a Texas twister after the savings and loan industry was torn to shreds. The U.S. languished under the thunderstorm of a rolling recession that ultimately saturated the entire U.S. economy. But a silver lining in the clouds was waiting to be revealed.

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