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  • 02 Oct 2013 9:53 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By President Kevin Maleska,  Maleska Custom  Builders Inc.

    Central Minnesota Builders Association

    It’s an unfortunate result of the recession undefined many families haven’t been able to keep up with their mortgage payments and have lost their homes to foreclosure. And foreclosed homes often sell for less than market rates, making them seem like a bargain to buyers who are used to the inflated prices of a few years ago.

    But comparing a new home to a foreclosure on price alone is a mistake. You can’t put a dollar value on your peace of mind, safety, financial reserves and time undefined all of which could be in jeopardy if you buy a foreclosed home.

    Legal Issues: Before buying a foreclosed home you will have to do thorough research undefined or hire a title company or lawyer undefined to make sure there aren’t any additional financial or legal liabilities attached to the home. There may be liens on the property for unpaid taxes, home owners’ association dues, or the home may have been put up as collateral on other loans that weren’t paid. You could become liable for thousands of dollars of debt you weren’t aware were attached to the foreclosed home.

    Ownership of a Foreclosed Home: Anything that breaks or any problems that arise are your responsibility. This could cost you lots of time and money that you may not have budgeted for.

    Ownership of a New Home: Maintenance won’t be an issue for a while with the brand new appliances and systems. And if something does go wrong in the first year, there is often a new home warranty that guarantees repair or replacement.

    Care:   In some cases former owners who knew they were going to lose the home,vandals or thieves have damaged the home, removed appliances or torn apart walls to remove copper pipes that are valuable as scrap metal. A foreclosed home could have been sitting vacant for months or years, and if it wasn’t properly secured, there could be significant damage from water, mold, weather or pest infestations. It could cost you thousands of dollars and a lot of time to bring a home that was allowed to deteriorate back to a livable condition.

    Your Preferences: You don’t have to spend time or money changing someone else’s design preferences with a new home. No tearing down wood paneling, repainting walls, or replacing outdated flooring. Your prefences are included as the home is built, and they are there waiting for you the day you unpack your boxes.

    Finally undefined and most importantly undefined don’t forget safety.

    Codes and Standards: New homes have been constructed under a strict set of  codes and standards, and have to be thoroughly inspected before the certificate of occupancy is issued and you are allowed to close the sale and move in. With a foreclosure, you don’t know how many renovations or repairs have been made over the years, or who made them. There could be faulty wiring, weakened structures, or other conditions that could be dangerous and costly to bring up to safe and modern standards.

    When you are looking for a place to keep your family safe and to build a lifetime of memories, it may be well worth paying a higher upfront cost to get convenience, modern features and peace of mind undefined and avoid the potential pitfalls of a foreclosure that could turn your dreams of homeownership into a nightmare.

    To find new home builders in central Minnesota, contact the CMBA Member Directory.

  • 23 Apr 2013 9:09 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By Kevin Maleska, Maleska Custom Builders, Inc.  President Central Minnesota Builders Association

    With the ongoing challenging economy, many families are choosing to remodel their homes to fit their changing needs, rather than selling their home and buying another one. Your home is likely your largest investment, and even simple remodels can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, so you want to make sure you find a contractor you can trust.

    As the home building and remodeling industry celebrates National Remodeling Month in May, here are some important considerations to ensure you make the right decisions when you find, evaluate and hire a remodeler.

    The best place to start is the CMBA Directory of Professional Remodelers using our member directory.  A professional remodeler will uphold the highest professional and ethical standards in the industry.

    You should also ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, and others who have had remodeling work done. Or, ask local independent trade contractors, building materials suppliers, architects, engineers, home inspectors, lenders and insurance professionals for recommendations.

    Once you have a list of potential home remodelers for your project, do research to verify that they are appropriately licensed in Minnesota using the Department of Labor license look-up tool; licensed since, location and enforcement action are identified for each licensed builder and remodeler.

    When you begin meeting with remodelers, you want to find out information such as:

    • How long they have been in business in your community? Can they provide references from customers and suppliers they work with?
    • Do they carry insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries? Ask for a copy of the insurance certificates.
    • What is their working knowledge of the many types and ages of homes in the area, and what sort of issues could arise?
    • Do they arrange for the building permit? (The person who obtains the permit is the contractor of record and therefore liable for the work)
    • Do they provide a written estimate before beginning the work, and a detailed contract that spells out the work that will and will not be performed, protects both of you, provides a fair payment schedule contract and complies with local, state, and federal laws?
    • Do they offer a warranty? What is covered under the warranty and for how long?

    Here is a detailed checklists for finding, evaluating and working with a remodeler.

  • 05 Apr 2013 9:38 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The Commerce Department alerts homeowners, “Radiant barriers are not an effective means to reduce heating or cooling loads in Minnesota homes.”

    Radiant barriers consist of a reflective film, usually aluminum, installed over the top of attic insulation in existing homes. They are sold as an energy-saving product, with claims of significant reductions in both heating and cooling costs. However, their potential benefit is primarily in reducing air-conditioning cooling loads in warm or hot climates – particularly in southern states. It is unlikely that most Minnesota consumers would realize any measurable energy savings from radiant barriers in attics.Think twice before installing radiant barriers in attics. The Department’s Division of Energy Resources (DER) has received reports of salespeople pitching radiant barrier products in flyers and at free dinners throughout Minnesota.

    “Many Minnesota consumers have been duped into installing radiant barriers based on false promises of substantial energy savings,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “We strongly urge all consumers to be cautious, ask questions, and explore other reputable means to make their homes and businesses more energy efficient. The price to install a radiant barrier can be as much as $2,000 or more. But if the average household saves only $20 per year, it would take 100 years to pay back your investment.”

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Minnesota Department of Commerce agree that, in Minnesota, implementing air sealing and adding conventional attic insulation is a cheaper and more effective means for saving energy than installing a radiant barrier. In fact, as attic insulation levels increase, the potential benefits from a radiant barrier decrease.

    For more information on insulation and other energy-efficient measures to improve your home, contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce at 800-657-3710 or 651-296-5175 or visit The website offers free downloadable home energy guides, including the “Home Envelope” guide that includes information on air sealing, insulation, and home energy audits.

  • 03 Apr 2013 9:39 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    There is a new problem in the workplace, and it has nothing to do with downsizing, global competition, pointy-haired bosses, stress or greed. Instead, it is the problem of distinct generations undefined the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y undefined working together and often colliding as their paths cross. Individuals with different values, different ideas, different ways of getting things done and different ways of communicating in the workplace have always existed. So, why is this becoming a problem now?

    This is the first time in American history that we have had four different generations working side-by-side in the workplace.

    Research indicates that people communicate based on their generational backgrounds. Each generation has distinct attitudes, behaviors, expectations, habits and motivational buttons. Learning how to communicate with the different generations can eliminate many major confrontations and misunderstandings in the workplace and the world of business.

    Understanding these characteristics about individuals makes it easier to look at workplace characteristics and how they manifest themselves in business (see Workplace Characteristics).

    For example, annual review compensation may be for the company to explore reward plans geared to the different generations, or change to monetary rewards and recognition given at the time when it is earned.

    Knowing the preferred communication method of  a team made up of several different generations might solve problems before they arise. The Veterans on the team may prefer handwritten notes and direct, specific requests for work to be done. The Boomers do not like to work independently, and they expect to have meetings any time, any place undefined and it is fine if they are called day or night. Xers do not want to hear about the project outside of work, and don’t dare call them at home. And the Yers don’t want any meetings at all, they only communicate via voice mail and e-mail. At the beginning of any team formation, an effective leader should consider spending time learning how team members wish to communicate.

    Being aware of differences can help individuals tailor their message for maximum effect, regardless of the task, or the relationship undefined family, friends, workplace peers. Good business is based on understanding others. The majority of us think the correct way, and the only way, is our way. In business, as well as in personal life, that is just not true.

    References for this article include:

    Karp, Hank; Fuller, Connie; Sirias, Danilo. Bridging the Boomer Xer Gap: Creating Authentic Teams for High Performance at Work. Palo Alto, Calif.: Davies-Black Publishing, 2002.

    Kersten, Denise. “Today’s Generations Face New Communications Gap,” USA Today, November 15, 2002.

    Lancaster, Lynne C.; Stillman, David. When Generations Collide: Who They Are, Why They Clash, How to Solve the Generational Puzzle at Work. HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2002.

    Sago, Brad. “Uncommon Threads: Mending the Generation Gap at Work,” Executive Update, July 2000.

    Walston, Sandra Ford. Distinguishing Communication Approaches Across Generations, 1999 (online publication),

    Zemke, Ron; Raines, Claire; Filipczak, Bob. Generations at Work: Managing the Clash of Veterans, Boomers, Xers, and Nexters in Your Workplace. New York, N.Y.: American Management Association, 2000.

  • 23 Mar 2013 9:47 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has produced estimates on remodeling undertaken by home owners in every county in the country. Estimates are produced by the Economics and Housing Policy Group from a statistical model based on the variables shown in the table below and the American Housing Survey (AHS, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Census Bureau) applied to county-level data from the American Community Survey (U.S. Census Bureau) collected over the period 2006-2010.

    The remodeling numbers are thus estimates of average (or typical) annual spending  over that 5-year period and will not reflect changes that have taken place within a county very recently. Remodeling is also likely to vary year-to-year, especially in counties with relatively few home owners, in a way not  perfectly captured by 5-year  averages. All estimates are subject to statistical margins of error, which will also tend to be larger in counties with fewer home owners. Estimates based on the AHS capture spending on some items not included in the Census Bureau’s national estimate of improvements in owner-occupied housing.

    Search this link  to find remodeling expenditures by county.


    Benton Stearns Sherburne


    MN MN MN

    # Owner-Occupied Homes:

    10,583 41,118 24,929

    Married Couple Share:

    66.60% 67.50% 71.60%

    Average Value of Homes:

    199,757 210,989 252,007

    Share Built Before 1980:

    49.20% 51.20% 27.50%

    Remodeling County Total ($Million):

    21 86 55

    Typical-Year Remodeling Per Home:

    2,006 2,087 2,210
  • 19 Mar 2013 9:48 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    CMBA President Kevin Maleska,  Maleska Custom Builders, Inc.

    Discussions among Washington policymakers and pundits about whether the mortgage interest deduction should be sacrificed in the name of deficit reduction are irresponsible and undermining an already fragile housing market.

    With mortgage interest rates near historic lows and housing affordability at or near record levels, now is the time that young families should be looking to enter the housing market. Yet, these policy talks alone are fueling uncertainty and standing in the way of a full-fledged housing recovery.

    Prospective buyers who are counting on the benefits of the mortgage interest deduction to lower the net monthly cost of their mortgage payments remain hesitant since they can’t be sure the deduction will be there when they need it. Contrary to claims that the mortgage interest deduction primarily benefits the wealthy, the biggest beneficiaries are younger households, who typically have new mortgages, smaller savings and growing families.

    This is not just an issue affecting entry-level buyers. Tampering with the mortgage interest deduction raises the prospect of a big tax increase on millions of existing home owners, many of whom continue to stay current with their mortgage payments even as they struggle to make ends meet. Eliminating or curtailing the deduction would place more downward pressure on home prices, which would place more home owners underwater, spur more foreclosures and act as a further drag on the housing and economic recovery

    To find out more about the importance of preserving the mortgage interest deduction as a cornerstone of American housing policy, readers can log on to The website contains fact sheets and frequently asked questions and allows consumers to remain engaged and make sure their opinions on this issue are heard by their member of Congress.

  • 12 Mar 2013 9:49 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Elliot Eisenberg – NAHB Senior Economist spoke at the BAM Convention in February –

    Why it won’t get any worse –

    1.  Manufacturing is on the road to recovery
    2. Interest rates low
    3. Housing prices bottomed
    4. Consumer sediment at helm
    5. Europe hit bottom, has no effect on our economy
    6. Banks can’t lend less money than they already do now
    7. Corporate profits not expected to drop much more
    8. Congress will cut spending but not until 2013
    9. No real inflation in site
    10. Because I said so.
  • 26 Jan 2013 9:51 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By President Kevin Maleska, Maleska Custom Builders, Inc.

    Central Minnesota Builders Association

    The economic downturn has changed the way Americans look at a lot of things, including what they are looking for in their next home. A study by the National Association of Home Builders suggests that the recession has caused prospective home buyers to shift their perspective on the housing they want and need, and that the new home of the future will focus more on efficiency than indulgence.

    The survey asked builders, designers, architects, manufacturers, and marketing specialists about what they thought the likely characteristics of the average, new single-family detached home would be in 2015.

    First, the typical size of new homes will continue to shrink, with respondents saying they expect homes to average 2,152 square feet. That is 10 percent smaller than the average size of single-family homes started in 2010. Census Bureau data shows that the average size peaked in 2007, at 2,521 square feet.

    This decrease is likely influenced by economic hardship, with consumers focusing on lowering the cost of heating and cooling their homes as well as no longer having a lot of equity in their current homes to finance purchasing a much larger one. An aging population undefined 29 percent of the U.S. population will be 55 and older in the year 2020 undefined will also increase demand for smaller homes as empty-nesters downsize into easier-to-manage properties.

    A smaller home means the space must be better suited to modern lifestyles. Fifty-two percent of builders expect the living room to be merged with other spaces in the home by 2015 and 30 percent said it will vanish entirely. Respondents also expect the entry foyer and dining rooms to become smaller, or merge with other spaces. A great room comprised of the kitchen, foyer and living room is the most likely room to be included in the average new home. Some of the rooms least likely to be present include two master bedroom suites, a sunroom, a hobbies room, and a media room.

    Kitchens are also expected to become more functional. Double sinks, recessed lighting, table space for eating, a breakfast bar and pull-out drawers are the features most likely to be in the new home kitchen in 2015.

    In addition to floor plan changes, it is expected that new homes in 2015 will include more green features and technology, including low-E windows; engineered wood beams, joists or tresses; water-efficient features such as dual-flush toilets or low-flow faucets; and an ENERGY STAR rating for the whole house.

    Surprisingly, some new home features that have been popular in recent years are expected to lose favor with home buyers in the future. Less than a third of survey respondents said they thought more technology features, more universal features and more outdoor living features would be the first or second most probable trend.

    To find professionals who can answer questions in the central Minnesota area, search the CMBA Member Directory.

  • 26 Jan 2013 9:49 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    By President Kevin Maleska, Maleska Custom Builders, Inc.

    Central Minnesota Builders Association


    For generations of Americans, owning your home meant owning your future and building a sense of stability, pride and accomplishment. Even with the economic turmoil of the past few years, Americans remain committed to the American Dream of homeownership. And if politicians seeking to reduce the deficit by reducing or eliminating government incentives to own a home had any doubt, a recent survey of likely voters proves it.

    The nationwide survey shows that, by an overwhelming margin, American voters say they strongly value homeownership and would oppose efforts to weaken or eliminate the mortgage interest deduction or diminish a federal role to help qualified home buyers obtain affordable 30-year mortgages.

    The comprehensive survey of 1,500 likely voters was conducted in January 2012 on behalf of the National Association of Home Builders by the Republican and Democratic polling firms of Public Opinion Strategies in Alexandria, Va., and Lake Research Partners in Washington, D.C. The survey, which gauged likely voters’ attitudes towards homeownership and housing policy issues, is a follow-up to a similar national poll conducted in May 2011.

    Three out of four voters – both owners and renters – believe it is appropriate and reasonable for the federal government to provide tax incentives to promote homeownership. This majority sentiment applied to Democrats, Republicans and Independents alike.

    The public doesn’t want the government to tamper with the incentives to own a home that are currently in place, either. A majority of voters are against proposals currently being considered by lawmakers to reduce the mortgage interest deduction, eliminate the deduction for interest paid for a second home, limit the deduction for those earning more than $250,000 per year, scale back the deduction for home owners with mortgages above $500,000 and do away with the deduction for interest paid on home equity loans.

    Also, two-thirds of respondents say that the federal government should help home buyers to afford a long-term or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Showing that homeownership remains a core American value, 96 percent of poll respondents who own a home said they are happy with their decision to own, and 79 percent would advise a family member or close friend just starting out to buy a home.

    The survey findings are consistent with the results of other public opinion surveys as well. A June, 2011, New York Times/CBS News poll found that 89 percent said that homeownership is an important part of the American Dream and more than 90 percent indicated that it is important for the federal government to continue the mortgage interest deduction.

    For more information on the value of homeownership, and how you can join the fight to protect it, go to

  • 16 Jan 2013 9:53 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Optimistic signs for the housing industry.

    1. Housing stocks are outperforming  broader stocks:  S & P 1500 home building stock index is up 38% since mid-October, vs 7% for the S & P 500.
    2. Moody’s predicts singe family housing starts will rise 37% this year.

    Full story USA Today story predictions for Housing

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