Blog

  • 20 Sep 2017 1:11 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    blog by NAHB

    Home buyers have the choice of two types of houses on the market: resale or new.

    Home buyers planning to buy a brand-new house or condominium often cite energy efficiency, open layout, a warranty, and being able to select appliances, flooring, paint colors and other design elements as factors driving their choice. 

    But builders say that buyers can be drawn to a new house for reasons that aren’t so obvious. Here are a few more benefits of a brand-new home that you may not see in the sales brochure.

    Building a Community Together

    families enjoying barbequeA brand-new community is one of the built-in benefits of many new homes. When families move in to a subdivision at the same time, they often form lasting bonds of friendship and neighborliness right away. Nobody is the "new kid on the block," and many home builders host community parties in new developments to help owners meet and connect.

    Popular amenities like pools, walking trails and tennis and basketball courts offer additional opportunities for interaction among neighbors of all ages. Often new communities are comprised of home owners in the same stage of life, such as young families or active retirees, so neighbors can get to know each other through carpools, PTA meetings, tennis matches or golf games.

    Entertaining 

    Throwing a party in an older home can be a challenge because smaller, distinct rooms make it difficult to entertain guests in one large space. Today, new home layouts feature more open spaces and rooms that flow into each other more easily. While you are preparing dinner, you can still interact with guests enjoying conversation without feeling closed off. The feeling of spaciousness in today’s new-home layouts often is enhanced with higher ceilings and additional windows that bring in more light than you would find in an older home.

    A Clean Slate

    frustrated painter

    For some buyers, parking the car in a sparkling-clean garage or being the first to cook a dinner in a brand-new kitchen is part of the appeal of new construction. In addition, you won’t have to spend time stripping dated wallpaper or repainting to suit your own sense of style — creating your own home décor from the get-go!

    The advantages of being the first owner extend to the outdoors. Instead of inheriting inconveniently or precariously placed trees, or having to tear up overgrown shrubs, you can design and plant the lawn and garden you want.

    Outlets, Outlets Everywhere 

    Homes built in the 1960’s and earlier were wired much differently than houses today. Builders had no way of anticipating the invention of high-definition televisions, DVRs and computers that we enjoy today — and the very different electrical requirements they would introduce. New homes can accommodate advanced technologies like structured wiring, security systems and sophisticated lighting plans, and can be tailored to meet the individual home owner’s needs.

    Anyone who has ever lived in an older home can also attest to the fact that there are never enough outlets, inside or out! Today, home builders plan for the increased number and type of electronics and appliances used by today’s families, so you can safely operate a wine cooler, Christmas lights and your laptop — and more.


  • 27 Jul 2017 12:44 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Jane DeAustin, CMBA Government Affairs Director, BAM and NAHB

    In a move that will raise housing costs and price countless American households out of the housing market, the Commerce Department on June 26 imposed a preliminary 6.87% anti-dumping duty on Canadian lumber imports on top of the 19.88% countervailing duties announced in April.  Combined, the two duties impose a 26.75% total tariff on Canadian lumber imported into the U.S. 

    Note:  According to NAHB, in the St. Cloud area, for every $1,000 increase in housing costs, about 200 households are priced out of the housing market.

    Although the feud pertaining to softwood lumber between the United States and Canada may be nothing new, the anticipated NAFTA renegotiation certainly is.  The 30 year old battle, which began when the US industry argued that Canada provided cheap access to public land, which in return they say unfairly subsidized its lumber, has ceased to subside.

    In May of this year, Congress was notified that President Trump intends to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Minnesota, along with 34 other states, have Canada as its largest trading partner, so the status of NAFTA extends beyond just the cost of lumber for Minnesota's economy.  NAFTA talks are expected to begin as soon as mid-August and will address trade policies including energy and agriculture.

    NAFTA's pending renegotiation has created a fluctuating market, demanding builders to protect themselves. It is known that the uncertainty surrounding a new trade pact has already triggered a 22% spike in lumber prices since the beginning of the year, and the fact that it takes about 15,000 board feet to build a typical single-family home, it's really important that members pay attention and protect themselves from the fluctuation in costs.

    Because of this uncertainty, the CMBA, BAM, and NAHB, strongly encourage members to review their contracts to determine whether they might need an escalation clause.

    At the federal level, NAHB is working hard to address the softwood lumber trade agreement in a fair and balanced way that will increase supply and contain costs. At NAHB's Legislative Conference, BAM members put into action part of NAHB's plan when addressing Minnesota's Congressional Delegation. Members asked Congress to hold hearings into the long-running trade dispute between the United States and Canada over softwood lumber and to consider ways to increase the domestic supply of timber from public lands.


  • 18 Jul 2017 2:06 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by Travis M. Notch, C.P.A. - In-Charge Accountant
    Schlenner Wenner & Co. | Certified Public Accountants & Business Consultants

    Highlighted below are some upcoming notes for either changes in the tax law or updates to current law.

    First, linked here are some details on the upcoming Minneapolis minimum wage increase that could affect any employers in that area, but the MN minimum wage does increase to $9.50 per hour as of August 1. 

    Also, our latest contractor newsletter has some good information.

    Then, a couple of items to be aware of with construction companies buying equipment are the limitations to expense the cost of that equipment on the tax returns. For 2017, the amount of purchased assets that a company can expense under Section 179 has been adjusted to $510,000 ($500,000 in 2016) with a threshold of $2,030,000 in equipment additions before a phase-out.  Another option for businesses is to take special bonus depreciation on purchases of new assets, which will allow business to take a 50% deduction of the cost of the assets without using the Section 179 expense.  Although this deduction is phasing out in the next couple of years.  Companies can take a 50% deduction for 2017, 40% for 2018, and 30% for 2019 and 2020.  The bonus depreciation election will go away after that.

    I hope that you find this information helpful,

    Travis M. Notch, C.P.A.

    In-Charge Accountant


  • 05 Jul 2017 11:45 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by CMBA President Matt Cecko, Home Check Plus

    Without a doubt, owning a home is one of the key tenets of the American Dream. The stability and social “arrival” signaled by home ownership is at the heart of most American’s long-term aspirations.


    But the benefits of homeownership don’t stop at stability and social status; individuals and families benefit from owning their own home in many other ways. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has conducted several studies on how home ownership affects individuals and their communities. The findings include:

           Most Americans consider homeownership to be the single best long-term investment and a primary source of financial security.

           Owning your home means owning your future — a place to raise your family, fulfill your dreams and create strong communities.

           Over the long term, homeownership is a solid stepping stone to a future of financial security. The equity accumulated over years of homeownership can be used to help pay for college, to downsize into a retirement home, or for a range of future financial needs.

           The nation’s housing and homeownership policies over the last century have contributed to the growth of the middle class and helped the United States become the most dynamic economy the world has ever seen.

           Housing is vitally important to local, state and national economies. It is critical that homeownership remains attainable and that access to safe, decent and affordable housing remains a national priority.

           Fifteen percent of the U.S. economy relies on housing, and nothing packs a bigger local economic impact than home building.

           Constructing 100 new single-family homes creates 297 full-time jobs, $28 million in wage and business income, and $11.1 million in federal, state and local tax revenue.

           A healthy housing industry means more jobs and a stronger economy. Home building increases the property tax base that supports local schools and communities.

           Housing, like no other sector, is “Made in America.” Most of the products used in home construction and remodeling are manufactured here in the United States.

    This list makes it clear that home ownership drives the ship of a vast array of economic and social benefits. It should go without saying that in order to realize these benefits, home ownership needs to be obtainable and affordable. It has taken an industry that is driven to work together to keep the costs of home building down, so that owning a home continues to be an affordable reality.

    The unity that exists within the home building industry is what provides the way for countless families to own a home. Industry unity drives affordability, and affordability drives the economy and ultimately, the American Dream.


  • 09 Jun 2017 10:51 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    by CMBA President Matt Cecko, Home Check Plus

    The CMBA has been busy. Here is a snapshot year to date of the array of activities and happenings.

    The CMBA has trained 189 members since the start of January and as always, has provided builder members with free Continuing Education Credits. 

    Our membership retention is at 91%, one of the highest retention rates for any Home Builders Association in the country.

    The CMBA participated in Building Day at the Capitol. We worked with area legislators to help pass townhome definition legislation. Our efforts helped successfully change the definition of townhome from two connected units to three units, now newly constructed two connected units will not have fire sprinklers mandated. Success!

    Tools for Schools

    The CMBA increased the funding for High School technology trades to $18K. Last year the funds were awarded to 11 area high schools. We assembled fund advisors and started the charitable fund with the Initiative Foundation for our Presidents Fund. With the Initiative Foundation, all donations are tax deductible, plus donations to the fund will be matched by the CMBA up to $20K. The funding will go towards helping to spark interest in our youth to find construction attractive and pursue a career in our industry. We recommend donating online on the Initiative Foundation website or you may drop a check off at the CMBA office. Your support is appreciated!

    In addition to bolstering our funding, the CMBA participated in the SCTCC job fair. We created a Career Central display with 39 member job listings and 69 jobs were distributed.

    Tools for Schools isn’t our only charitable donation year to date. The CMBA presented a $1,000 donation to Habitat for Humanity in an ongoing effort of helping families achieve homeownership.

    The Spring Tour of Homes

    The Tour had 37 homes with 27 builders. It was the highest number of homes in recent years. We received great feedback from the tour and on our newly created Parade Craze App that highlights the homes features, photos, maps and more. 


    The HomeShow 

    The committee and sponsors are focused on shifting their marketing strategies to target a broader and younger audience. Our goal is to make the event more fun and educational for the attendees. Also, the CMBA invested $10K in the first annual Forever House. 

    The CMBA joined the Benton Economic Partnership, Inc. to support new economic development in the marketplace. This is in addition to our membership with The Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation to support business growth and expansion in our community. 

    The CMBA also welcomed Jenny McDermond to the staff team as an administrative assistant. Jenny is doing a great job helping Bonnie, Colleen, and Jane with a variety of responsibilities. We are happy to have her!

    The Board of Directors is actively working on a By-Law change to allow associate members to become President of the CMBA. The CMBA sent out a survey asking for input from members on allowing associates to serve as CMBA president. The surveys were sent through Survey Monkey and 86% of the members that responded approved of allowing associates to serve as president so please stay tuned for a vote at an upcoming membership meeting. I’m excited about this proposed By-Law change and the talented people that will have an opportunity to lead this great organization with new fresh ideas.

    It is significant what our association can accomplish when we all work together on common goals. The CMBA continues to improve the Central MN building industry by advocating for the industry, educating our members, and strengthening the public’s confidence. 

  • 29 Mar 2017 8:50 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    As March comes to a close, we are proud to take a moment and look back on the success we had this year with our Spring Tour of Homes and our HomeShow.

    The 2017 Tour of Homes

    On this year’s Spring Tour of Homes, we showcased homes in 11 different communities. Visitors were able to view over 35 homes and 20 builders. With so many homes involved in the tour, we were able to exhibit the hottest trends in home building like thermal heating and energy-efficient appliances. We also featured the Parade Craze App for the first time this year, and it was a great success!


    Thanks to our sponsors Bayer Built Inc., Holiday Gas Stations, and Brock White Co., local builders were able to promote their work first-hand. To learn more about the homes and builders involved in the tour, click here.
             

    The 2017 HomeShow

    Our HomeShow is the largest in central Minnesota and this year it had some exciting new booths displaying the latest in innovative home products and design. We had several different seminars on home planning including gardening tips from KARE 11’s Bobby Jensen, as well as kids building projects. 


    We set out to show the community what our members are capable of doing. With our attendance numbers up by 10% at 4,607 people this year, we certainly achieved our goal!


             

    One of our new displays, the “Forever House”, was also the biggest display and involved the most pre-planning, but we pulled it off and it turned out to be the hot topic that we hoped for!


    Constructed with high-quality features and cutting-edge modern design from local vendors, the Forever House was made to stir the imagination and help buyers envision that dream piece of property that always wanted. More on the sponsors of the Forever House and products featured in the home can be found here.


    We would like to thank all of our members and participants in the 2017 Spring Tour of Homes and HomeShow, as well as everyone who came out to attend. You all made these events the successes that they were! We are especially thankful for our HomeShow sponsors Premier Real Estate Serviced and Liberty Bank MN.

    With this spring’s HomeShow and Tour of Homes past, we begin to look toward the next events! If you or your company is interested in becoming a member of the CMBA or would like to take part next year, click here to learn more.         


  • 08 Dec 2016 3:38 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)


    In Central Minnesota, we have seen a bit of the winter weather that will befall us over the next few months. The good news is that it is not too late to winterize your home. Your house needs to get ready for the cold months ahead just as much as you do. Winterizing your home can keep your home warm, save you energy and money, and protect your house from possible damage.

    Prevent Frozen Pipes

    Although an indoor pool sounds wonderful, an unexpected pool is not very exciting. If pipes are left unattended, they can freeze and burst. If you don’t keep water moving through your pipes, try insulating them or investing in a freeze alarm to warn you if temps get too low. Wrapping and  insulating your pipes will make them more energy efficient and protect them from possible harm.

    Clean The Gutters

    In the fall, leaves can collect in your gutters and clog them. This can cause water to back up and freeze, which may lead to ice dams that block the path of melted snow from your roof. Check to make sure your gutters are clean and while you’re on the ladder, look for any gutter leaks or misaligned pipes that may cause water to drain into your home. Water from your home should be drained at least 10 feet from your house.

    Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

    Did you know on every ceiling fan there’s a switch that allows you to reverse the direction of the blades? Make sure your fan is turning clockwise; this will push warm air down. This easy switch will help you stay a little warmer this winter, meaning you can turn the thermostat down a few degrees.

    Replace Your Air Filters

    By changing out your air filters a few times a year, you can improve the efficiency of your home’s heating system. It also improves the quality of the air circulating around your home. This is a cheap and easy way to make your home more energy efficient, especially since a new filter costs only about $10.

    Insulating Your Home

    Adding fiberglass insulation can help you save big on your energy expenses. In order for your home to be properly insulated, you need at least a foot of insulation in your attic. Unless your home was built specifically to be energy efficient, chances are good that it could use more - especially older homes.


    Seal Your Windows & Doors

    Window insulation is an essential step to keeping heat inside your home. Window insulation film can keep as much as 70% of heat from leaking out your windows. These small layers of plastic can help you save big in the long run. Use a draft guard to help stop heat from leaking under the door. If you do find any leaks around your doors or windows, add weatherstrip tape or caulk to seal it. If it seems like a major leak, consider replacing the window or door.

    Recruit A Professional Set of Eyes

    While no one knows your home quite like you, it is important to have a professional check your home for any unexpected problems. In the winter, you will use certain parts of your home that haven’t had much use in recent months. It is important to make sure nothing has been damaged since last winter. Have your inspector check the heating and ventilation system, as well as your chimney or fireplace.

    The cold is here, but your home should stay warm. Winterizing your home can help you stay warm and save money. By taking these simple steps you can keep your home efficient and safe from harm.

    If you don’t feel comfortable or don’t have the equipment to tackle these tasks on your own, browse the array of professionals within the Central Minnesota Builders Association, or contact us directly here. 



  • 28 Oct 2016 8:11 AM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Decorating your house this fall has never been easier or more fun. Transforming your home can be both economical and stylish. Using simple crafts and projects, you can transform a home into an autumn wonderland.

     Using Natural Beauty

    Add bits of nature to spice up your entryway or home. Use natural elements such as wicker, dried floral arrangements, and corn stalks. Here are some more ideas:

    ● Hang a warm autumn wreath on your front door
    ● Create a kitchen table display with pumpkins and leaves
    ● Try adding a rocking chair with a blanket and pumpkins to cozy up your front porch
    ● Decorate with corn husks to welcome your guests
    ● Try a leaf art craft to add a touch of the outdoors

     Using Fall Colors 

    Nearly everyone’s favorite part of Fall is the changing colors. These warm color schemes are best to cozy up your home: 

    ● Use plenty of burnt orange in your decor 
    ● Add the red of a Sugar Maple tree to make key items pop
    ● Not everything has to be red and orange. Look for more color options to add balance to your home’s color.
    ● Try adding new wallpaper. See how this wallpaper turned this room into a fairytale cottage

     Pumpkins

    Gourds and pumpkins symbolize autumn more than anything else. Check out all the ways you can bring the pumpkin patch home with you: 

    ● Create a pumpkin patch to welcome your guests inside 
    ● Show some pumpkin pride by adding decals to your pumpkin that represent your hometown or personality 
    ● Paint patterns on your pumpkins to add a design to your natural decoration 
    ● Need more nature in your life? Add foliage to your pumpkin 
    ● For even more ideas on how to turn your pumpkin into a decoration, check out countryliving.com


    Adding Texture

    Create depth in your home by using everyday items to spice up to décor: 

    ● Trying adding old tools to give your home a rustic feel
    ● Antlers can be used to liven up your living room
    ● No time for a fire? You can still use firewood to decorate your home

    Fall Upgrades That You Will Love

    All Year Decorate your home to make it even more special this fall. Adding to the autumn feel will make your home warm and comfortable:

    ● Add a fireplace to your home. Decorate every season for that warm feel you need
    ● Add a porch to enjoy the fall weather from the comfort of your own home
    ● Make the steps to your home a walk to remember by adding a beautiful entryway that gives your home a greater curbside appeal. 

    To make sure your home is everything you know it can be, look through the Home Design Checklist by CMBA. Whatever your building needs are this fall, make sure you have a professional on your side. See the benefits of an experienced Central Minnesota Builder Association member here, and find your professional today.


  • 25 Oct 2016 1:08 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    There is an uptick in correspondence regarding the U.S. Department of Labor’s new overtime requirements, which are set to take affect this December 1st.  The new requirements are complex, and we want to provide you with the most up-to-date and concise information you need about the new rules.

    In just a few short weeks, all employers will be required to comply with the new overtime requirements, which double the salary limit for professional, administrative, and executive employees from $23,660 to $47,476 this December 1st.  This means that anyone making under $47,476 will be due time and a half if they work over 40 hours per week.  We estimate that over 100,000 construction supervisors will be newly eligible for overtime this December.  HBAs, non-profits, and other types of employees, like designers, will be impacted, as well.

    NAHB has been spearheading our stakeholder coalition’s efforts to mitigate implementation of the rule, with an eye towards permanent relief.  While the U.S. Department of Labor is required by law to update the salary threshold from time to time, a doubling of the threshold all at once is too much and too fast. 

    NAHB is asking Congress to phase-in the new salary requirements, as well as provide permanent relief from the rule’s provision that the agency to automatically update the salary threshold every three years.  The Overtime Reform and Review Act (S. 3464) in the Senate and the Overtime Reform and Enhancement Act (H.R. 5813) in the House would achieve these goals.  Members are urged to contact their Members of Congress <http://www.capitolconnect.com/builderlink/>  and ask for their support for these bills.

    This phase-in approach has gained bipartisan support, but there is little time left for Congress to act to reform the rule.  As NAHB works toward permanent relief, the association will continue to provide its members with the tools they need <http://www.nahb.org/en/research/nahb-priorities/overtime-salary-threshold.aspx?sc_camp=19E5D08870C04B2BA2400670505933B6>  to comply with the new overtime requirements.  A webinar and FAQ document can be located on NAHB’s website.

    Please contact Suzanne Beall in Government Affairs if you have any questions.  She can be reached at sbeall@nahb.org.

  • 12 Sep 2016 4:15 PM | Colleen Corrigan (Administrator)

    Are you in the market for a home in Central Minnesota? Maybe you are looking to vamp up your existing home with some remodeling ideas. Either way, the Central Minnesota Builders Association’s Tour of Homes 2016 is the place to be.


    Join us September 16­-18, and 23­-25 to take a tour of a variety of model homes built by CMBA members throughout Stearns County. Fridays, the tour will run from 4:30 PM to 7PM, and Saturdays and Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM. Visit the Fall Tour page of our website to view a map of the locations, as well as each home individually. The tour includes locations in:


    • Sartell
    • St. Cloud
    • Sauk Rapids
    • Rice
    • St. Joseph
    • Cold Spring
    • St. Augusta
    • Zimmerman
    • Princeton


    This is a perfect opportunity for current homeowners and prospective homeowners alike to explore the quality of craftsmanship and creativity CMBA members have to offer, as well as get ideas for your potential dream home.




    Get Inspired

    The CMBA Tour of Homes provides a great environment to learn about leading innovations and style trends in the building industry. Whether you are looking to build or remodel your current home, the Tour of Homes will also help you define your tastes and guide you to the type of home that will fit your lifestyle.



    Meet CMBA Members

    It’s important to shop for builders as carefully as you shop for a home. The Tour of Homes will allow you to meet with CMBA members, and ask important questions to help you get into your dream home. Get to know the work of the builders and remodelers featured in this year’s Tour of Homes, as well as the products and resources it takes to create your dream home or remodel.


    You can take a look at homes from previous tours, as well as new homes and remodels on the Tour of Homes website. Search our member directory for more information on builders, contractors, HVAC specialists and much more.

    Check out the Tour of Homes blog for more inspiring ideas, insider hints, and maintenance tips.

    We hope to see you at the 2016 CMBA Tour of Homes!


CMBA:
1124 West Saint Germain Street, St. Cloud MN 56301
320.251.4382 info@cmbaonline.org | www.cmbaonline.org
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