PB September 2005

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In the first part of the Land Acquisition and Development Financial series (August PB), we discussed a market analysis that serves as the foundation for your land acquisition and development financial decisions. This, the second article in the series, will discuss finding the land and the preliminary investigation and financial analysis.

What's happening in the "hot" housing markets these days? You know the ones: Phoenix, Las Vegas and anything in California or Florida. People are literally standing in line to buy homes. In some cases, auctions and lottery systems are being utilized to dole out buying opportunities. But with this, there is a price.

To paraphrase management consultant Chuck Shinn, "There's no such thing as a semi-custom production builder. There are only production builders, custom builders and builders who aren't making any money." Behind that axiom is the assumption that customizing production plans interferes with productivity and, therefore, profits.

The year 1976 will always be among the most vivid in my memory. It was the year of the American Bicentennial. It was the year a little-known governor from Georgia became the first elected post-Watergate and post-Vietnam president. It was the year of "Rocky," "Roots" and the death of Mao Tse-tung. It was the year I got married.

If you sell houses from a furnished model home, you've probably spent countless hours trying to come up with a memory point that will separate yours from all the other model homes shoppers see before they narrow their choices. (Even a great house plan needs that special something to stir recall.) Here's a memory maker that we think is terrific, in a house that's spectacular.

Find out some advantages to opting out of ventilation for a crawlspace and see how to condition it.

Controversy has brewed ever since the landmark 1926 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Village of Euclid , Ohio v. Ambler Realty Co., which established the separation of land uses among other restrictions to manage nuisances and protect the public welfare. The resulting "Euclidian" form of zoning has long since been accepted as the standard for regulating development nationwide.

Building environmentally sound, sustainable homes was once perceived as a quaint but impractical idea for builders in terms of time and money needed to implement on a large scale. Besides, most homebuyers weren't expressing interest in the concept, so what would be the point? Today, more builders seem to be getting the point.

Empty nesters are the largest growing segment of the new home buying public. Yet many of these customers have no built-in sense of urgency to buy. How do you move them from "This is something we would like to do someday" to "This is something we would want to do today"? Judy Hamiton: "I get a lot of empty-nester customers who are pretty relaxed and not particularly motivated to do anything.

Creating a special townhouse that fits within a green building environment was MBK Homes' goal in Ladera Ranch, California's Terramor neighborhood. These Briar Rose tuck-under townhouses are new floor plans, created specifically for Terramor. "The product itself is one of the more efficient we have done, from a land planning standpoint," says MBK president Tim Kane.

Whether you purchase a new car, stay at a hotel, dine in a restaurant or even shop on eBay, chances are you'll be surveyed to find out how satisfied you are with the experience. Customer satisfaction surveys are so popular because they provide valuable insights for companies looking for ways to improve customer relations.

The 21st century homebuyer is unlike any homebuyer before. He or she is armed with knowledge and a distaste for unnecessary noise. To compound matters, today's new homes are open floor-planned havens, with not a lot of cut walls to define where one room ends and another begins. With open floor plans and higher ceilings it's no wonder that so many home buyers and home builders are saying "Stop t...

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