Builder Blog from Integrity Windows and Doors

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Millennials still planning for suburban life

January 28th, 2015 by Berit Griffin

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You can hold off on writing that eulogy for suburban living for now, because according to a new survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, millennials remain very much interested in moving on from city life in pursuit of spacious homes.

The NAHB revealed results of the survey at the 2015 International Builders’ Show last week in Las Vegas. A stunning 66 percent of 1,500 respondents born no later than 1977 claimed they want to live in the suburbs, while another 24 percent expressed interest in rural living. Only 10 percent indicated they wanted to live in a city center.

What gives?

It could be as simple as square footage. Eighty-one percent of respondents said they want three or more bedrooms in their home — an amenity as expensive as it is rare in any major U.S. city center.

“While you are more likely to attract this generation than other generations to buy a condo or a house downtown, that is a relative term,” said Rose Quint, the association’s assistant vice president of survey research. “The majority of them will still want to buy the house out there in the suburbs.”

The millennial cohort — estimated at 7o-80 million people — represents the largest population bulge since the baby boomers.



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VIDEO: Matt Risinger tours Integrity’s IBS booth

January 23rd, 2015 by Berit Griffin

And just like that, the 2015 International Builders’ Show is a wrap! A big thank-you goes out to all of the building professionals who stopped by to tour our booth. It’s truly a highlight of our year to meet those who choose Integrity.

Couldn’t make it to IBS this year or happened to miss visiting our booth? Don’t worry — Matt Risinger of Risinger Homes (Austin, Texas) has you covered. Risinger swung by our booth Wednesday morning to check out some of our latest offerings — including our new Wood-Ultrex Insert Replacement Casement and Awning windows and 4 Panel Wood-Ultrex French Sliding Door — as you’ll see in the video above.

We hope to see all of you again next year!



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See Integrity’s latest innovations at IBS

January 21st, 2015 by Berit Griffin

Whether you didn’t make the trip to the International Builders’ Show here in Las Vegas, or you’re here and just haven’t had the chance to visit our booth — it’s C5520, by the way! — here are just a few of the exciting new products we have on display.


 

4 Panel Wood-Ultrex® Sliding French Door

Let the outside in with Integrity’s new 4 Panel Wood-Ultrex Sliding French Door — the biggest, most beautiful door we have ever offered. Available in sizes as large as 16 feet wide by 8 feet tall, this door blends elegant aesthetics with simple ease of use. The 4 Panel Sliding French Door features warm, natural wood on the inside that can be painted or stained to match any home’s interior. Our tough Ultrex fiberglass exterior stands up to harsh outdoor conditions and is available in one of six standard colors.


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Integrity Wood-Ultrex replacement windows

Integrity’s industry-leading product line offers even more flexibility with the addition of our Wood-Ultrex Insert Casement and Awning windows. Both windows blend the toughness of Ultrex pultruded fiberglass exteriors with warm wood interiors, offering high-performance solutions for virtually any remodeling or replacement project.


 

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Integrity Northfield Collection door handles

Integrity’s new Northfield Collection door handles are now available for All Ultrex and Wood-Ultrex doors, offering even more design flexibility. The Northfield Collection handles come in five beautiful finishes with a split finish option available. Plus, all Integrity doors offer factory keyed-alike handle sets and corrosion-resistant PVD finish options — so now performance comes in any style you select.



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How cheap oil affects housing

January 19th, 2015 by Berit Griffin

Cheap-Crude-Oil-Prices-Dont-Just-Benefit-the-Consumer

As you’ve probably noticed, oil prices are at their lowest average in years. What (if any) impact does this have on the housing market?

According to the National Association of REALTORS®’ Economists’ Outlook blog, “Lower oil prices mean a lower inflation rate, which pushes down mortgage rates.”

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage average is down to 3.53 percent as of mid-day Monday— the lowest it’s been in almost two years. For the owners of a median-sized home — about $205,000 — a 0.75 percent decrease in mortgage rates can save about $1,000 per year. Add that to savings at the pump and suddenly Americans have freed up a considerable amount of income.

While cheap oil may seem good for most, Sam Khater, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic, points out the potential impact to home appreciation.

“Three of the top four states with the highest price appreciation are energy intensive and had been benefitting from the energy boom which is currently receding as oil prices trend downward,” said Khater. “These states…may see some downward pressure on prices in 2015.”



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Lone Star Project Inauguration Celebration

Last week, the Federal Housing Administration announced a decrease in annual mortgage insurance premiums with the intent of making FHA loans more affordable for prospective buyers.

As many have already noted, the decrease — from 1.35 percent to 0.85 percent — will only save borrowers an average of $900 per year. This in mind, the announcement drew criticism on the fear the modest rate reduction will lead to more irresponsible borrowing from those who barely qualify — a scenario all-too-reminiscent of the last housing bubble.

However, the qualifications for FHA loans will remain unchanged, and U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro insists that’s the motivating force behind this decision:

“This premium change only makes an FHA loan more affordable for qualified families. All other FHA requirements will remain the same, including verification of a person’s ability to pay. Families still have to qualify for an FHA loan, but when they do, they will find a more affordable path to homeownership waiting for them.”

According to a HousingWire description of a recent appearance at the National Press Club, Castro offered to a crowd that “the lending environment is still too tight and a ‘sensible balance’ must be struck between the too-lax lending standards of the past and the over-corrected tightness of the current environment.”

Do you think the decrease in mortgage insurance rates will ultimately motivate more home sales in 2015?



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integritywindows

Can you believe the 2015 International Builders’ Show is mere days away?

If you’ve been visiting weather.com five times per day to check the weather forecast for Las Vegas, believe us, you’re not alone! Highs in the 50s look pretty good here in Fargo where any temperature above zero qualifies as a heatwave!

Weather isn’t the only thing we’re looking forward to at this year’s show. We’ll be particularly interested to see what’s new in the category of smart home technology, which has inched closer to mainstream status over the past year. We also look forward to seeing the latest innovations in energy efficiency, especially as state and federal policies will soon mandate higher-performing products.

Curious to know what we’re bringing to the show? You’ll have to stop by our booth (CC5520) and see for yourself!  =(We’ll be sharing the space with Marvin Windows and Doors.) We’re always happy to meet faithful readers of the Builder Blog!



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Nobel laureate physicist Nils Bohr once said, “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”

It should go without saying that providing any type of forecast for the housing industry is difficult at best. But given the nature of the business and the many factors that impact success, it’s critical we examine trends and look ahead as much as possible.

To that end, Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, expects the sales of existing homes to rise about 7 percent in 2015 behind a strengthening economy, solid job gains and a healthy increase in home prices. Yun explains his prediction in the video above, but much of the data that went into his prediction can be viewed in the infographic below.

Do you share Yun’s belief 2015 will see a sizable increase in sales activity?

 

infographic-research-2015-housing-expectations-2015-01-07



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2015 full of promise for building industry

January 2nd, 2015 by Berit Griffin

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Welcome to 2015! We certainly hope you’ll look back on 2014 with fondness, but a look at the crystal ball reveals the year ahead may be even more positive for the housing market.

In an article titled “10 Reasons 2015 Will Rock,” the Melissa Dittmann Tracey of the National Association of Realtor consolidated industry forecasts and predictions for what’s sure to add a little swagger to your step — and hopefully make your new year even happier.

While there’s always a risk prognostications will be woefully wrong, we’re encourage by the reasoning behind some of these forecasts. Among our favorite headlines:

Millennial force. “According to some forecasts, Millennials are expected to drive two-thirds of household formations over the next five years.”

New-home sales rebound. “Sales of new homes are expected to rise 25 percent as single-family construction picks up traction in 2015.”

Drop in oil prices will boost housing. “So while the drop in oil prices typically has been linked to a reduction in driving-related expenses, it clearly also reduced energy-related expenses for residential real estate.”

Stronger economy leads to greater confidence.
“A stronger economy will likely lead to more demand for housing in 2015.”


Do you have a 2015 prediction for the housing industry? Share it in the comments section! 



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email-marketing

While email marketing may lack the sex appeal of social media marketing, a new survey from Constant Contact found respondents rank email marketing as the No. 1 marketing tool for small business. In fact, email marketing was cited by 98% of respondents compared to just 87% for social media.

Granted, the survey targeted small business owners spanning all industries, and surely some industries stand to benefit more than others by tapping this powerful channel. But one thing can’t be ignored: results. When it comes to maintaining a relationship with your clients, email is unmatched.

If you’re thinking about email marketing in 2015, the National Federation of Independent Businesses has some helpful tips to get you started:

Best Practices

  • Set your goals. Are you trying to create awareness? Increase referrals? Generate leads? Pick a goal and apply it as a filter to every last bit of content featured in your email.
  • Keep a newsletter calendar. Think about how the needs of your target audience change throughout the year. During the winter, they be thinking about breaking ground on a new home in the spring or summer ahead. During the summer, they may be thinking about a remodeling project or replacing windows to improve energy efficiency. Plan wisely to tap into your audience’s top concerns.
  • Consider your call to action. Identify what the ideal resulting action would be after one of your clients has read your email. Will they take advantage of your offer for a $50 Starbucks gift card and refer a friend to you? Will they visit your website to see your latest case studies? Or will they simply keep you top of mind should they need a building professional in a couple years? Your call to action should concisely answer the question, You’ve got my attention. What should I do now?


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gopro-drone

In the unlikely but possible event you scored a drone for Christmas, you may want to read this before planning your first flyover photo shoot.

The Federal Aviation Administration recently launched a public safety campaign on the use of drones. While the main focus is recreational usage, the FAA reminds drone owners that commercial usage remains unauthorized. And among the greatest offenders of the latter policy are real estate agents.

According to REALTOR.com,

“Drones have gotten a lot of attention in recent years as they’ve become more available and affordable online and in stores. Many in the real estate industry have sought to experiment with drones to capture aerial photos and videos of their for-sale listings. However, the FAA has put the brakes on using drones for commercial purposes, except on a case-by-case basis, until it drafts safety guidelines on the use of small commercial drones. Those guidelines have been delayed and now are not expected to be finalized until 2017, grounding commercial drones until then.”

On the one hand, this is certainly disappointing news for the industry’s more innovative marketers who’ve used drones for breathtaking aerial photos and video. On the other, it’s a bit frightening to imagine being on a commercial flight knowing the sky might be pocked with drones. Hopefully the FAA’s guidelines will provide a favorable middle ground.

This will certainly be something to keep an eye on, as drones may eventually offer a wide range of uses for those in the building industry.



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