BUILDING TODAY

 for a better tomorrow.

News and Updates

  • 06 May 2019 1:00 PM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    May 5-11 has been designated as Small Business Week. Of course, to many entrepreneurs, every week is small business week.

    But what are the top tips that can help you be – and stay – successful? According to Business.com, these key seven steps are fundamental for those in the building industry. They may seem simple, but sometimes it is easy to veer off course. So heed these reminders and you should be well on your way.

    • Customer Service is a PRIORITY. Make sure your team will provide your clients respect, patience, and understanding. Customers remember the work that is done for them but they will also remember how they were treated throughout the process. By hiring not only those with excellent contracting skills, but also employees who can provide customer service, everyone will win.
    • Stick With Your Niche. There are so many aspects to our business that it’s easy to say yes to everything. But if your company is really good at one thing – or a few things – then make that known. It’s a great way to make sure that if a particular problem goes wrong for a homeowner, then they know who to call.
    • Marketing is Essential. Even when you are busy, you still need to market your business because when those busy projects end, you don’t want your work crew to be idle. Always have a marketing campaign plan. Word-of-mouth is fantastic but don’t overlook partnerships, social media, or traditional advertising. It’s important to keep your brand and specialty out there to stay top-of-mind with customers.
    • Cover Your Bases. Every company needs insurance. And if your workforce is working with heavy machinery or electric tools, that need is even greater. Who needs lawsuits, injuries, or personal damage? Be sure to find an insurance program that fits your particular needs.
    • Stay Involved. Say you meet with your client upfront and work out a plan of action with them, then you get involved in something else and the project moves forward but the client never sees you again. What kind of impression does that leave? It is vital for you to be present and at least let the client know that they can contact you if they have any concerns or questions. It will go a long way in establishing a good relationship AND future business.
    • Don’t Cut Corners. This should be a no-brainer. Yes, it’s tempting to go with less expensive materials or products, but spending a little more now will keep problems away later. You may think that a customer won’t be able to tell the difference, but they will quickly get knowledgeable if things start to break down.
    • Be Organized. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Staying organized is crucial in running a business. Track your time. Know your projects. Entrust your workforce. Don’t take on too much at any given time. Think of it as insurance for your business and your own personal well-being.

     

  • 29 Apr 2019 11:40 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    With the warmer days, your thoughts may be about refreshing your home – both inside and out. You are not alone. In fact, those thoughts are in the minds of so many people that May has been designated as National Home Remodeling Month.

    Now you may be tempted to tackle some home projects on your own, but before you do, it might be worth your while to consider the big picture before you start searching for those power tools you think are still on the shelf in the garage. You know, the ones you last used in 2014.

    While many home projects are perfect for D-I-Y ventures, it’s important to realize your limits. A good way to avoid making costly mistakes – or frankly, a possible injury – is to hire a professional home remodeler or contractor.

    By entrusting a qualified pro, you can be sure that your project will be done right, the first time, ultimately saving you money. Professionals will understand the importance of having the proper permits and building codes in place and will take the extra steps to be certain that your dreams are accurately transformed from the picture in your mind to reality.

    By including a designer in the process, you may be able to extend your vision beyond your own expectations. Trained designers know the latest trends, understand limitations, and know ways to replicate looks without a huge price tag.

    Expert contractors can be relied on to provide you with a reasonable project timeline and will communicate with you to ensure you both understand the needs and expectations. Plus utilizing their services means that you have a documented body of work. This is especially important down the road if you consider selling. It takes the doubt out of many buyers’ minds.

    And don’t forget that a qualified expert will provide you with warranties that you can’t always take advantage of when you do it yourself.

    Don’t forget SAFETY is always the biggest priority. As a weekend warrior, you might think you know how to be safe in a construction zone. However a licensed professional will take pains to be sure your home is safe both during the work and after it is completed.

    Your local builder association can help you find a list of quality contractors, remodelers, designers and more. Check out the list of PBA local associations here.

    So why take the risk on those big projects? An expert can put your mind at ease and help make your dreams come true.

     

  • 26 Apr 2019 8:50 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    Now that the weather gets warmer every day, we are all getting busier but don’t forget that as a PBA member, you are eligible for a number of special discounts available through the NAHB Member Saving Program.

    Here are a few of the current specials that you’ll want to take advantage of before they disappear.

    LOWE'S SPECIAL 10% + 2% DISCOUNT

    • Limited Time 10% + 2% Discount for NAHB Members. April 30th – May 2nd, print this coupon and save 10% in store when using your Lowe's Account Receivable (LAR) and Lowe's Business Account (LBA)

    DELL SMALL BUSINESS MONTH DEALS

    • As a special thank you to NAHB members during Dell’s Small Business Month, members can save up to 45% off April 25th – May 10th
    • Members save an additional 8% on select Optiplex, Latitude, Precision Workstations, PowerEdge servers, Dell Storage, Networking, and Thin Clients
    • Click on this link to obtain your coupon and apply at checkout to save

    WWW.NAHB.ORG/SAVINGS

    As always, be sure to visit www.nahb.org/savings to see the available savings your NAHB membership gets you including discounts on:

    • Movie Tickets, Concerts and Sporting Events
    • Vehicle Purchases
    • Office Supplies
    • Rental Cars
    • Auto Insurance
    • Shipping Services

     

  • 22 Apr 2019 10:29 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    The deadline is fast approaching for your business to be included in the PBA’s relaunch of the statewide publication, Building Pennsylvania. This magazine will be published twice a year and be distributed to current and potential PBA members.

    Building Pennsylvania will enlighten, educate, entertain, and engage PBA members with PBA news, profiles, tips, and more. This is a terrific opportunity to showcase your business to an audience of professionals who are interested in your products and services.

    PBA has partnered with Hoffman Publishing to create and distribute the magazine. Representatives from Hoffman Publishing are currently reaching out to PBA members to discuss the valuable marketing opportunities available. Please take the time to speak with them to learn more about Building Pennsylvania and how you can be part of this inaugural issue.

     

  • 17 Apr 2019 10:14 AM | Rick Cochran (Administrator)

    April showers bring… well, to be honest, flooding.

    Face it, Pennsylvania may be partly landlocked (with apologies to the Lake Erie beaches) but it seems that every year around this time, we seem to take on an abundance of water. With dozens of major rivers and lakes – not to mention the countless streams and other sources, Pennsylvania homeowners must always keep an eye on rising water levels.

    Flood insurance is often misunderstood. Don’t believe the stories that you have heard about how you can’t get insured if you live in a floodplain or a high-flood-risk area OR conversely if you live outside of a floodplain or a low-to-moderate-risk area. Even if your home has been flooded before or if your mortgage company doesn’t require you to be covered, you can still be insured. An insured homeowner will always have peace of mind when the banks begin to spill.

    Whether you have building property coverage as a homeowner or personal property coverage as a renter, it’s important to understand what is and isn’t impacted.

    According to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, the following items are insured under building property coverage:

    ·         The insured building and its foundation
    ·         The electrical and plumbing systems
    ·         Central air-conditioning equipment, furnaces, and water heaters
    ·         Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances such as dishwashers
    ·         Permanently installed carpeting over an unfinished floor
    ·         Permanently installed paneling, wallboard, bookcases, and cabinets
    ·         Window blinds
    ·         Detached garages (up to 10 percent of building property coverage); detached buildings (other than garages) require a separate building property policy
    ·         Debris removal

    Personal property damage coverage will insure the following:

    ·         Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
    ·         Curtains
    ·         Portable and window air conditioners
    ·         Portable microwave ovens and portable dishwashers
    ·         Carpets not included in building property coverage (see above)
    ·         Clothes washers and dryers
    ·         Food freezers and the food in them
    ·         Certain valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)

    However it is important to also realize that there are things that are NOT covered either by building or personal property insurance. If your home has been damaged by moisture, mildew, or mold that could have been avoided with prior attention, those circumstances normally do not fall under the coverage. Nor are property or belongings outside of the building such as landscaping, walkways, septic systems, pools, or decks.

    Basements can be tricky. While there are some exceptions for coverage in areas below the lowest elevated floor of your home, basement improvements like finished walls, ceilings, and floors as well as personal belongings and furniture kept there may not fall under the protection. If you are using an area under your first floor for storage, any loss connected to flooding will not be covered.

    Flood insurance can be purchased through licensed property and casualty insurance agents in Pennsylvania. It is important to discuss your needs and get a full understanding of what is and is not impacted by your coverage.

    Also, don’t forget that even though you may have a standard homeowner’s or renter’s policy, you are not covered by flood damages.

    For more information on how you can benefit from flood insurance as well as a list of resources, visit the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance at https://www.insurance.pa.gov/Coverage/Pages/Flood.aspx.

    We all love the May flowers that these April showers bring but make sure your days are a whole lot brighter when you have the confidence that your investments are protected. 

    Also be sure to click on the sources below for more assistance

    www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program 

    www.pema.pa.gov/planningandpreparedness/floodplainmanagement/NationalFloodInsuranceProgram/Pages/default.aspx 

    www.nahb.org/en/nahb-priorities/flood-insurance.aspx 

     

  • 08 Mar 2019 12:28 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    LOWE'S SPECIAL 10% + 2% DISCOUNT

    Special offer just for NAHB Members March 11th – March 15th

    Limited Time 10% + 2% Discount for our NAHB Members. March 11th – March 15th, print this coupon and save 10% in store when using your Lowe's Account Receivable (LAR) and Lowe's Business Account (LBA).



  • 20 Feb 2019 1:31 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)
    The Winter 2019 Board Meeting Seminar has been scheduled for Friday, March 1 at 2:30 p.m. at the Hotel Hershey. The seminar entitled “Winning Policy Changes: How to be more effective by building relationships with elected officials,” will be moderated by Allison Beresnyak Karakis, Government Relations Manager at FHLBank in Pittsburgh, PA, and will focus on the "how's" and "why's" of building relationships with members of Congress for effective advocacy in the residential housing industry. All PBA board members are invited.  READ MORE 

     

  • 20 Feb 2019 1:29 PM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)
    The deadline for registration to the PBA Winter 2019 Board of Directors Meeting is Friday, Feb. 22. The event takes place from Friday, March 1 through Saturday, March 2 at the Hotel Hershey in Hershey, PA. The concluding Board of Directors Meeting is Saturday, March 2 at 10 a.m. The deadline for reservations for the 2019 PBA President’s Installation Banquet and Awards Gala is also Friday, Feb. 22. For more information and registration: CLICK HERE. 

     

  • 04 Feb 2019 11:47 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)

    Spring and summer are high season for home improvements. Winter, especially after the holiday season has passed, seems more like a time to hunker down and get cozy. But the professionals who do home improvements and the suppliers who sell the materials are in business year-round. And during their off-seasons, these businesses will often lower prices to attract more customers. That means home owners may find it’s not only easier to schedule these professionals; they may also get a break on the price.

    Get a new roof

    Depending on how severe your winter weather is, replacing your roof in the winter can make sense.  True, winter weather can get in the way of getting the job done quickly. But on the other hand a roofer with a light schedule will have the flexibility to work around the weather and make adjustments to get the job done right.

    Cold temperatures do present challenges. Materials, especially asphalt shingles, require special handling and in some cases alternative adhesives when it’s cold. Icy surfaces, sleet and snow make work out of the question. And some days may be just too cold. Roofers can work around each of these issues using different techniques and given enough leeway in scheduling the work.

     

    Replace windows

    If your windows could use replacing, winter reminds you every day. Does the temperature drop when you get close to a window to take a look outside? Why not tackle it now? Window replacement companies frequently offer special pricing during the off-season and can schedule your job on shorter notice.

    Installers may take on windows one at a time, putting up barriers and shutting off rooms to minimize the cold air coming into the house. The process might take longer than it would if letting in outdoor air weren’t such a concern, but you’ll feel the results right away and should see lower energy bills once the job is done.

     

    Paint a room

    Spending more time indoors might draw your attention to dingy walls or make you wish for an updated room color. With dry winter air, a window open a crack, and maybe even an exhaust fan in the window, should be more than enough ventilation for a fresh new coat of today’s low volatile compound (VOC) paints. If you don’t want to do the painting yourself, you may find a choice of painting contractors with openings in their calendars.

    Make sure walls are warm enough for paint to stick well. Paint cans will tell you the temperatures for best adhesion. Even though the room is warm, walls can be cooler. You may need to turn up the heat to be sure they present the best conditions for paint to adhere properly.

     

    Refinish wood floors

    Winter is a great time to refinish your hardwood floors. The type of flooring you have doesn’t matter. Recoating a floor can work on solid wood, laminated wood and parquet floors alike. If your floors are older and in a state of disrepair, than sanding away the current layers and starting fresh with bare hardwood is more laborious, but ultimately is often a superior method.

    As with painting, you’ll want to ventilate somewhat, but you can minimize the amount of time you’ll need to open a window or door. Finishes with low VOC ingredients don’t require so much airing out, and winter’s low humidity air speeds up the time it takes to dry.

     ***

    If you feel like any of these projects are above your skill level, then contact a licensed contractor or remodeler at your local builders association.

  • 01 Feb 2019 10:58 AM | Craig Hoffman (Administrator)


    Mortgage interest rates have been inching up, and although rates dropped at the beginning of 2019, most experts predict that rates will continue to rise throughout the year. With the average 30-year-fixed rate nearing 5%, some would-be home buyers may begin to reconsider their purchase plans. However, it’s important to keep today’s rates in perspective and recognize that it’s still a good time to buy.

     For one thing, beyond minor short-term fluctuations, rates are not expected to significantly decrease any time soon. Only a decade ago when the housing market was still flying high, a mortgage rate as low as 5% would have been a better-than-average deal. Go back a little further, when average rates were mostly between 7% and 9%, and it’s quite a bargain. So if you’re ready to buy, go ahead and lock in today’s rate.

    Home prices will continue to rise

    Home prices nationwide are expected to rise by 6.5% over the next 12 months according to Zillow. This forecast was issued in July 2018 and therefore extends into the summer of 2019. Will this trend be seen in Pennsylvania? With the average price of a home in Pennsylvania at $127 per square foot at the end of October 2018, some markets will be hotter than others, but most will stay in the black.

    For example, some of the hottest markets right now are Altoona (12%), Reading (10%), State College (8%), and York-Hanover (6%). Cooling off from their highs earlier in 2018 are Philadelphia (4%), Pittsburgh (3%), and Erie (3%). Nevertheless, Pennsylvania will continue to see overall home price increases to continue to average at least 6% per square foot through 2019.

    Running the Numbers

    If you’re thinking of buying, run the numbers and see where you stand. Many factors influence the cost of a home purchase. Does the difference in payments between an interest rate around 5% and one a couple tenths of a point lower put it your dream home out of reach? Can you tweak other factors to balance the costs and keep the purchase affordable? Consider whether you might:

             Put a bit more down so you can finance less. Is there somewhere you can dig down and find a bit more for a down payment? Maybe look into using some of that IRA savings which you can use penalty-free if you’re a first-time buyer?*

             Consider a shorter-term mortgage. If you can afford the monthly payments, a 15-year mortgage will cost a lot less in interest over the life of the mortgage than a 30-year mortgage.

             Weigh your “must have” factors for a house — are there any that you’re willing to let go of for a lower asking price? Would a smaller house, or the next neighborhood over from your favorite, or one fewer half bath still work for you?

             Shop and compare mortgage rates, fees and terms. Whatever the going rates, there will differences in rates and fees with different lenders.

    *Please consult an experienced tax or financial professional before using retirement funds for any other purpose.

    For more information on mortgage rates and buying a new home, contact your local builders association at www.pabuilders.org/find-a-local.




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