Coronavirus has Americans working, learning and living entirely from home. And self-quarantine has accelerated existing plans to move. The pandemic has changed a lot about our society, including what buyers are looking for in new home comfort.

Home sales in the US reached a 13-year high in June and homebuilding is rebounding even stronger. There’s a potential demand for 2.1 million new homes across the country.

As a builder, it’s important to know what people are looking for in a new home as we adjust to the "new normal". Here are some of the features that are at the top of homebuyers' minds:


Sanitary Environment


1. Countertops

A major concern these days is keeping surfaces sanitary. Homeowners get excited when choosing countertops, but sterilization now takes precedence over looks. When building brand-new custom homes, picking the most hygienic countertop is essential.

A study by Best American Living revealed 60% of Millennials and 78% of Gen-X’ers would pay extra for germ-resistant countertops.

Though granite has been become less popular in recent years, it's a sanitary choice. Often overlooked is the importance of re-sealing granite every few years. Regular maintenance is key to getting the most out of the high cost of granite.

Quartz and solid-surface tops are hygienic as well. Unlike granite, they're not 100% natural, so they can be more affordable.

Stainless steel has been a staple in commercial kitchens for a long time, and for good reason. They actually repel germs & bacterial growth. While stainless hasn't been popular for residential use, it would be smart to consider.

Wood countertops are often considered unsanitary, but that's a misconception. Wood's natural properties kill bacteria. Though they need regular maintenance, wood countertops are very easy to clean. They can also be far less expensive than other options.


2. Drop Zones

Home drop zone

Builders have been well-aware of the desirability of a “mud-room” off the garage for decades. Now a separate laundry room is more important than ever.

Drop zones used to cater to the needs of a busy family for ease of ingress and egress from the home. The new goal of a drop zone is to contain and sterilize, preventing the spread of germs.

COVID has made people realize that all entrances to the home need drop zones of some form. The 1918 flu pandemic introduced the “powder room” to society. It seems COVID will affect home design in similar ways.

The new standard will be to position powder rooms and/or drop zones near all entryways.


3. Smart & Touchless

Smart home technology

Smart home technology has been on the rise over the past 5 years and is now considered a basic necessity.

Touchless faucets and voice-operated appliances provide obvious advantages. Bidet sales exploded in the US as a result of the toilet paper shortage. Next on the horizon could be floors and mirrors that check vitals.

There are exciting home comfort innovations on the horizon, and builders have to adapt. Though we can't predict the future, try to accommodate fixtures a homeowner may want to add in the future.


4. Improved Air Quality & Non-Toxic Materials

People are shelling out money for top-of-the-line air and water filtration systems. 66% of homeowners would spend an extra $1,000 on a new home with whole-house air filtration (up 56% from last year).

Access to fresh air is essential, creating more opportunity for indoor/outdoor spaces.

The push for eco-friendly building materials has gained steam due to Coronavirus. General wellbeing is paramount, so materials used to build the home are under increased scrutiny.


Flexibility & Functionality


1. Modularity

Open concept floor plans are hugely popular. Most think this would continue after the pandemic, but that’s not necessarily the case. Though open floor plans allow for social distancing, they can make things harder, too.

With no dividing walls, it can be difficult for multiple people to perform different functions or isolate for health reasons. In response, there's an increased demand for modular space.

Solutions that allow for beautiful open floor plans and division of space when needed are especially desirable.


2. Necessary Rooms

home office

Gone are the days where a home office was an afterthought. As companies warm to the idea of permanent work-from-home, buyers are more likely to need a place to work. Further, it's becoming more common for homeowners to look for more than one home office.

Builders should consider converting loft space, bonus rooms and basements for this purpose. Modifying existing floor plans altogether to incorporate more closed-off rooms may be necessary.

Along with multiple offices, parents may also need rooms dedicated to homeschooling. It’s important to have a room apart from a child’s bedroom or playroom for learning.

Home gyms are another necessity that was previously considered a luxury. Gyms have been some of the slowest businesses to re-open, for obvious reasons. Getting into a workout routine after stress-eating for months is now a common concern.

Re-imagining floor plans to include more rooms, or more space in general, is important for home comfort moving forward.


Location, Location, Location


1. Migration to the Suburbs

American cities have become epicenters due to close living quarters and heavy travel. Thousands of people are fleeing major cities in search of more distance in the suburbs.

Though they're leaving the city, these buyers cling to the feeling of city living.

Residential developments have begun marketing themselves as “urbanized suburbs” to attract former city-dwellers. They're offering amenities like paved streets, restaurants, hotels, office buildings and apartment-style living.

Outdoor malls are exploring this trend as well, creating simulated “downtowns” within their complexes for a city feel.


2. Agriculture


One thing city folk desire in a new home is space for a garden, access to fresh produce and agrotourism.

Though young people enjoyed urban living, they have longed for room to grow their own food. They also want increased access to fresh produce and to feel a connection with where their food is grown.

During the pandemic people weren’t able to get to grocery stores as often and farmers' markets had shut down. This combined with the growing local food movement makes access to fresh food essential.

Having unfettered access to nature in general is important. When you're outdoors, it's easier to social distance and less necessary to wear a mask. This provides opportunity for exercise and increases health and well-being. Upheaval in society inevitably leads to major changes in home building. Though times are uncertain, we'll monitor emerging trends in home comfort to help you stay relevant.

Volunteer construction worker

If there is one thing that seasoned professionals in our industry can agree upon, it is that we are resilient when it comes to surviving hard times. Be it builder, mortgage lender, or real estate broker, if you have been in any aspect of this career field for a while, you may have a bit of a familiarity with the term ‘this too shall pass’.  Even with this in mind, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on daily life may feel never-ending.

We are all experiencing the effects of this global pandemic, emotionally, mentally, and physically, if not through illness than through the safety restrictions in place across the country. Despite how it may appear, the proverbial sky of our economy is not actually falling, and it will rebound. As professionals in the real estate industry, we universally share a propensity toward being skilled at perseverance.

Perseverance helped many of us survive the worst financial crisis of our lifetime in 2008. The ebb and flow of the market is not unfamiliar, but this crisis is coupled with a physical threat. The response to this pandemic is pounding our economy, while simultaneously threatening us with physical illness. This cocktail of discomfort makes for a challenge unlike anything most of us have faced in recent history.

Fear of the unknown, an enemy we cannot see, pressurizes the anxiety and uncertainty of our experience. The word being utilized most often to describe our current state of being is ‘unprecedented’. It goes without saying, because there is no rule book guiding us, the feelings associated to a lost sense of control are amplified. Adapting to this new way of life plays a role in our quest to regain some semblance of normalcy.

To cope, we often lean on the principles of self-distraction. However, with distraction, a level of responsibility is imperative. For example, disregarding the social distancing rules, intended for the protection of those most at risk, could prove detrimental to physical well-being. Mental and emotional exhaustion are heavy, but gambling with your physical health is inadvisable as it not only harms you, but it endangers everyone you encounter.

The biggest key here is that no one, not any single one of us, is spared from what is happening. However, it can be a unifying feeling when stepping outside of oneself to take inventory of the ways in which we are all in this together. Much like a new baby coming into the world, we are all learning how to crawl and then hopefully how to walk during this crisis. Having hope is the life-bread of seeing our way to the other side.

Channeling perseverance effectively can feed hope. Refocusing uncertainty into the pursuit of small goals can create a positive and healthy impact. Examples of healthy outlets include: setting an exercise schedule; hiking in a park you have never visited before; fostering a pet; taking one hour a day to learn a new hobby; or teaching yourself a new technology to keep you connected with others.

Amidst the chaos, there can be gifts hidden below the surface that await discovery. The social downtime we have at hand may be exactly what has been needed for us to rediscover our sense of community and self-connection. If you give into the opportunity to heal relationships at this time, even with yourself, then you may find that, when the time comes, you will reenter the world stronger than ever before. Now is the time to lean in, through our individual strength we can continue to persevere, to rebuild, and to heal as one. Be safe, stay strong, remain healthy.

Builder holding hard hat

Scott Lackey, Warranty Performance Supervisor

I have been involved in the residential construction industry in one form or another my entire life. As a teen, I worked as a gopher for my father John’s and my uncle Patrick’s construction company, Lacko Construction, a new-home builder. My father and uncle taught me valuable carpentry and mechanical skills. As a Journeyman, I expanded my tool chest from the basic hand tools to a full library of hand, mechanical, cordless and power tools. During this time, I also attended Harrisburg Community College (PA) and Penn State University studying Mathematics and Engineering Technology.

In my twenties, I started working for River City Construction Company. River City was awarded construction contracts with the City of Harrisburg. Some of the projects were Riverside Village Park, the John Harris Trading Post, Harbor Town, Harrisburg Trolley/Stops, the Pride of the Susquehanna and similar projects for the Senators Baseball Stadium on the State Capital’s City Island. And in my late twenties, I worked for a Philadelphia based company DeSousa Brown.

Approaching thirty and looking to the future for new opportunities, I was hired as lead Superintendent for a Harrisburg based remodeling contractor, Four Seasons. As Superintendent, I was responsible for leading several crews, scheduling and managing new home additions start to finish, including demolition, construction, electrical and mechanical assignments, and finally closing out the jobs with homeowners.

While I enjoyed remodeling work, I wanted to get back into new home construction, and opportunity came knocking. I was contacted by Vanguard Homes, another Philadelphia based construction company regarding a Superintendent position. They were building in Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg and Carlisle, PA. The position started in Harrisburg, but then my job moved to developments in Carlisle, specifically Mayapple and Dickinson Green. This was another good time in my life. I was working for a prominent new-home builder, running all aspects of new home construction start to finish, bringing in the streets and sidewalks, building the new model homes and working with new home buyers building their dream homes. Construction trailers were set up in both developments where I established offices, prepared building/construction schedules, and worked with General Contractors, Vendors and Material Supply companies to ensure these schedules were met, all in preparation of the final walkthroughs, settlements and closings.

In my late thirties, another opportunity arose. I was hired as a Technical Advisor for Residential Warranty Company, LLC (RWC)/HOME of Texas. I have been working for RWC/HOME the past 21 years and currently serve as Supervisor in the Warranty Resolution Department. As Supervisor, some of my day to day tasks are overseeing the Technical Staff and several other warranty resolution staff, working with Builders, Engineers, Contractors and Homeowners bringing covered Warranty issues to resolution.

Jeff Painter, Technical Administrator

My construction experience began early in life going back as far as I can remember.  Even before I was 8 years old, I would tag along with my father and brother to all the remodeling projects they performed as a side business. They mainly designed and built exterior covered patios and sheds, as well as basement remodels and other small home repair projects. I was commonly given the detail of general clean-up which mainly involved picking up nails.

I was also a volunteer on many building projects through our Church in my teen and High School years including the cupola designed and built by my father that still sits atop St. Timothy Lutheran Church, in Camp Hill, PA. At age 14 and 15, I spent two consecutive summers working for my brother in Virginia building Custom Homes. The summers I spent with my brother provided me with excellent skills. I became very efficient as a cut man running the circular saw on an everyday basis and did plenty of hammer swinging.  At age 18, after High School, I moved to Colorado to again work with my brother and his Custom Home Building Company, Blue Marlin Construction based out of Boulder, Colorado. Approximately two years later I returned to the East Coast and stayed close to the construction trade helping a friend with a remodeling business.

After 4 years in the Army, and a few years of truck driving, I was approached by an old friend about an opportunity. From 1996 through 2001, I worked for Greg Wilson Building and Remodeling. Our work consisted of all phases of construction, from foundations to finish, including framing, drywall, floors, windows, decks and roofs.

In 2002 I took a job with Safeway Steel in Harrisburg, designing steel scaffolding layouts that were installed by union carpenters. Due to my interest in construction, I took Construction Code and Safety Science courses and in 2003 I was hired by RWC/HOME where I have worked as a Technical Advisor for the past 17 years.

My certifications include being an ICC Certified Residential Building Inspector and my Harrisburg Community College Diploma, Construction Codes and Safety Science.

Broken sliding glass door

I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence, but there’s a misunderstanding that has come up more than once, and we need to make things clear:  Builders Risk does not insure your liability to members of the public.  Clear as mud, right?  Well, don’t shoot the messenger. Whoever came up with the name “Builders Risk” must not have thought about how anyone other than an insurance person would think. It sounds simple. If you’re a builder you have risk, and Builders Risk insurance should cover that risk whatever it is. That should include a person tripping and falling at your jobsite and suing you for his injuries. Right? Wrong.

Builders Risk is a form of property insurance that covers you for the loss or destruction of your materials at the jobsite WHILE IN THE COURSE OF CONSTRUCTION. So fire, windstorm, hail damage, theft, vandalism and so on are covered. Trip and fall claims are not. You need General Liability for these – not Builders Risk.*

When you think about Builders Risk, think about Course of Construction instead. That’s a much better name for this very important coverage. Why all this concern about names? We’ve had more than one or two inquiries from builders looking for Builders Risk, but really needing General Liability. They make the mistake of thinking the two are the same. Some of these builders have allowed their General Liability policies to lapse thinking they didn’t need them. Don’t let this happen to you.

If you are not sure about what coverage you need, give us a call at 1-866-454-2155 or visit us at www.RwcInsuranceAdvantage.com. Allow us a few minutes of your time and we can help you determine your Builders Risk and General Liability coverage needs. We could save you from suffering an uncovered loss. We might even save you some money in the process.

*These statements are not meant to include all that Builders Risk and General Liability covers. For complete information, please read your policies.

Tifanee McCallTifanee McCall is a longtime member of the Building Systems Councils (BSC) and a major advocate of the systems-built housing industry. She has been a member of NAHB for nearly 30 years and BSC member for over a decade. It is no surprise that due to her dedication to NAHB and the industry, she was recently named the 2020 BSC chair.

“When I first joined NAHB, I knew I wanted to get involved to help myself professionally,” said McCall. “But in the end, it’s the networking that has paid off the most — both personally and professionally.”

McCall has worked at RWC / HOME / MHWC for 21 years, and chaired numerous BSC committees and subcommittees. A member of the BSC Board of Trustees since 2015, McCall’s BSC leadership positions include:

A true believer and warrior of systems-built housing, McCall is never shy about engaging prospective members or to advocate for the Building Systems Housing Summit. She continually endorses the BSC at other off-site construction events and promotes the councils through her standing in the housing community.

“In 2020, I hope to lead and grow the BSC as the industry’s greatest resource for off-site construction,” said McCall. “Additionally, I’d like to help grow the BSC membership so more industry workers can take advantage of resources in overcoming labor shortages and high material costs.”

Human silhouette symbolizing resilienceA year ago, few of us who are not health professionals had thought much about pandemics, and none of us had heard of or even contemplated anything called Covid-19. Now people in every corner of the world have been adversely affected by this invisible enemy, as the Covid-19 pandemic has destroyed lives, wrecked economies, and dominated the news for months.  Faced with this, as with any, crisis, we search for ways to cope and find inspiration in our faith, in those around us and in our heroes.

One of our heroes here at RWC is the 26th President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt. He is often remembered as the brave warrior who led the charge up San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War, as the dynamic President who transformed America into a world power with his “Speak softly, but carry a big stick” diplomacy, and as the audacious leader of the Bull Moose party who came closer than any other modern American to winning a presidential election as a third party candidate. These and many other feats have won him a place in the hearts of his countrymen and even on the rocky slope of Mount Rushmore where he is immortalized with the likes of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln, and rightly so.

But more than these triumphs, we find some of the less renowned aspects of Theodore Roosevelt’s character inspirational in these troubling times. First among these was his resilience.  He was a weak and sickly child, but he challenged himself to overcome his physical infirmities through a rigorous regimen of exercise and activity and became a great athlete and outdoorsman.

He was a happy go lucky twenty-five-year-old newlywed when, on Valentine’s Day 1884, his fifty-year-old mother and his twenty-two-year-old wife died in the same house eleven hours apart. The one entry in his diary that day said, “The light has gone out of my life.” Even in the face of this unimaginable tragedy, Teddy Roosevelt did not quit. Later that year he moved west to the Dakota Territory and set up camp twelve miles from the nearest homestead. He lived a solitary life as a rancher and cowboy, often spending sixteen hours a day on horseback, and returned three years later to New York revitalized and ready to embark on a new life of personal and political triumph virtually unmatched in our history.

A couple decades later, when he believed his handpicked successor as President, William Howard Taft, was not being true to the ideals Roosevelt had advanced in his presidency, Teddy Roosevelt did not sulk or complain. Rather, he entered the arena again and tried mightily, albeit unsuccessfully, to retake the White House. Teddy Roosevelt’s resilience was one of the keys to his greatness.

The other aspect of Roosevelt’s character which we can try to emulate and from which we can draw strength and purpose is his sense of duty, which drove him throughout his life.  In his 1913 autobiography he summed up one’s duty in life by quoting Squire Bill Widener of Virginia: “Do what you can, with what you’ve got, where you are.” Teddy Roosevelt recognized that the most important duties are not those of presidents or world leaders, but of parents to their children, neighbors to their friends, and citizens to their communities. When crises befall us then, we are obliged not to wring our hands and complain that others are not fixing the problem quickly enough, but to start where we are, use what we have, and do what we can to help.

When the towers fell on September 11, 2001, our world turned upside down.  Americans felt an insecurity in their hometowns that they could never remember feeling in their lifetimes. At RWC we sent our employees home that day, but every one of our people showed up the next day—unsettled, worried, and changed a little—but manning their posts, doing their duty, and helping our members and their homeowners carry on with their businesses and their lives.

When the housing bubble burst a dozen years ago, financial calamity hit the home building industry and millions of Americans lost their homes. Every day we received news of builders defaulting on their warranty obligations, filing for bankruptcy or simply disappearing. An unprecedented number of homeowners looked to RWC to repair their homes. Throughout that crisis we manned our posts, fixed those homes, spent millions of dollars doing so, and lived to tell the tale.

When the Covid-19 crisis hit, we were told to avoid large gatherings of people so that we could slow the spread of the virus. For the safety of our employees, their families and our community, we sent all of them home.  For the first time in our history we asked them all to work remotely, which we thought we could pull off for a little while. Then the governor told us we could not go back to our office until further notice.  We continued to operate remotely and, though the road was bumpy at first, we found a way to provide our usual high level of service from the more than hundred different places our employees live. We challenged our people to make it work, and as a result of their resilience and sense of duty, we barely missed a beat.

Here is the point in this article where we usually ask you to buy more warranties, but we’re not going to do that this time.  We just want you to know that, regardless of what crisis befalls us, RWC is here for you. Our people are resilient, and they know their duty.  We are at our post, ready to use what we have, to do what we can for you and your homeowners. It’s what we do, and besides, we know Teddy would want it that way!

Have faith, be strong, and know that we are hoping and praying for the health and safety of your families, your people and you.

Preparing a house for a quick sale can seem overwhelming. As a builder or a contractor, getting the house built may seem like crossing the finish line, but sometimes that’s not enough to seal the deal. Following these expert tips will help you attract buyers, not just sightseers – which is exactly what you want.

The process of selling a house is much the same whether you are selling a home that was pre-existing, rehabbed, or just built. A home is one of the biggest purchases that most people will ever make. It’s no wonder why people would be pickier about their homes than other purchases.

Entice Buyers with Curb Appeal when Selling a House

The first thing you’ll want to consider is the curb appeal of the houses for sale. Since this is the first impression on your home to prospective buyers it should be no surprise that your curb appeal can boost your property’s value by up to 17 percent, according to a Texas Tech University study.

Of course, this is easier said than done. But when the homes for sale are new, there is a lot more potential starting with a blank canvas so to speak.  Professional landscapers in your community who can do things like install walkways, planters, shrubs, trees and more.

According to HomeAdvisor.com, this can cost an average of $3,219 per home – but with a boost in value as high as 17 percent that’s certainly worth the investment.

Now, you should also think beyond the curb appeal of the individual homes for sale. Instead, if you’re building a new community, don’t forget to consider the curb appeal of the community from the roadside as well.

Is your sign easily seen and read from the road? Did you use landscaping to make your new construction feel inviting? This will all pay off more than you might expect in the long run.

Staging is the Key – Make the Buyer Feel at Home

Staging your houses that are for sale is just as important on the inside as it is the outside. You want the potential buyers to be able to see themselves in the model home. On average, staged homes sell 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than ones that are left empty.

Of course, you’re going to be keeping track of your costs throughout this endeavor and you don’t want to spend too much on staging. You could easily spend over $5,000 to stage a home – but there are less expensive options than buying furniture you will eventually discard.

Professional stagers are always an option – but you’re going to be paying that higher price tag for the convenience. Generally, you will be charged $300-600 for an initial design consultation – then budget $500-600 per room, per month. However, if you’re on a time constraint, this can often be done start to finish in less than 24 hours – so consider whether it is worth the investment from the start before you have no choice.

If you’re on a tight budget, then you can always use digital staging – where you take photos of empty or slightly furnished rooms and add furniture using editing software like Photoshop. However, this is best used in the initial phases, before your model home is ready to be properly staged.

Emphasize New Technology and Energy Efficiency

Another thing you’ll want to do that most contractors do when selling a house is to emphasize any new technology or energy-efficient appliances that are being installed in the home. In a technological age with smartphones, smart cars, and even smart houses this should be a no brainer.

In all your marketing materials – whether you are focusing on an online or snail mail approach – make sure you talk up any technology your houses for sale come with. This could include anything as small as a USB outlet directly in the wall or something as major as a home security system or high efficiency kitchen appliances.

Even if you don’t have a ton of tech in your new construction property for sale, it likely still has more than older homes in the same area. Anything that sets your home apart from existing properties is something you want to strongly emphasize.

Don’t Neglect Your Marketing – It’s Essential Selling a Home

This might seem obvious – but don’t get so caught up in building your new community or houses for sale without putting some time into your marketing efforts from the start. Everything counts – from word-of-mouth mentions to snail mail to social media marketing. Of course, some methods will be more likely to attract buyers – listing your home on real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are all great ways to get the word out there to millions with little-to-no cost to the seller.

Use the best pictures. Use many pictures. People searching online want to see as much of the house and neighborhood as they can before they go see a property that is for sale. Once they’ve come out to look, if you’ve taken care of curb appeal, staging and talking up the tech, you will likely see your homes sell quickly.

If you want another selling tool for your team, click for a free new home warranty quote to learn how a warranty can benefit your business.

From start to finish, there needs to be a process for everything if you want your construction business to be a success. This is especially true if you are starting in an area that already offers many new construction options for home buyers. Following these tips might not guarantee success – but they will certainly put you ahead of some of the competition.

1. When Making Your Construction Business Plan, Prioritize Hiring the Right Representatives

The type of customer service professionals you hire will depend greatly on your construction business itself. Are you building commercial properties or residential ones, or do you focus on rehab and repairs? Whether you are hiring a receptionist and a team of detail-oriented customer service professionals or a team of rockstar realtors to sell your residential new construction, you want to hire the best of the best.

This is the first impression on your business – the voice handling your phones, the first face people see upon entering your office. Curb appeal and staging a home are going to help your home sell faster for more money. Similarly, having strong and successful CSR’s will ensure that your customers come back again and again, happy with the experience.

2. Market Your Community Aggressively Online and In-Person

Marketing is something you just can’t cut corners with – though you should be careful about putting your funds into the right places. These days you’re better off putting most of your efforts into a digital platform. Zillow and Trulia listings, Facebook and Instagram ads, and, of course, your website are all places in which you want to invest heavily.

On the other hand, just because your focus is not on in-person marketing you will still find several people who reach out due to word-of-mouth, snail mail or roadside advertising. This means you should keep the open-house signs and the mailers on the lower end of the cost spectrum – but don’t leave them out entirely or you’re missing a great opportunity to sell to more customers.

3. Increase Productivity by Boosting Morale Among Workers

Remember, happy workers are productive workers – and productive workers mean an efficient business. The best way to increase productivity among your workforce is to invest in boosting morale in any way you can. This could mean providing better tools, simplifying processes, or providing discounted or free training and education opportunities.

You should also remember that your workers’ wages and hours all come into play here as well. Many unions have started focusing on the power of higher wages and things like a 4-day workweek. Rather than working for 6-8 hours a day, 5 days a week many are finding that working longer hours for fewer days increases worker happiness and in turn creates more productive employees.

4. Use Building Information Modeling (BIM)

One thing you shouldn’t leave out of your construction business plan is a good construction management software – especially Building Information Modeling software. This new technology allows you to create digital representations of the buildings that you’re planning to build. It helps you visualize the building before you start spending time and money. This way, if there are any major changes you want to make to the look of your construction you can talk to the architect long before you break ground.

This is a newer technology – but it can help you determine things that might otherwise be difficult before you’ve built the property. BIM can help you determine how many occupants might go in and out of commercial buildings or help you calculate the size of the water heater and air conditioners you’re going to need. For anyone who wants to have successful construction business models, BIM is a necessity.

5. Listen to the Concerns of Your Staff and Customers

The last – but possibly the most important bit of advice for anyone who has construction business ideas they want to move forward with – is to listen to others. This could be your staff or your customers – but don’t neglect to listen to them. While you’re off handling phone calls, keeping the show running from an outside perspective, they are the ones who are down in the dirt (often literally) making it all possible.

It doesn’t matter if the person who comes to you has been working with you for one week or years there is a chance, they have good ideas. It could be a way to help increase efficiency and therefore productivity in the building process, or it could be a simple suggestion such as requiring people to put their names on their lunches if they are all left in the same fridge. Your staff will feel more like you care and are likely to work harder for you if you make them feel like their opinion matters – so never neglect to listen to your staff.

Again, the same goes for customers. Your buyers know what they want – so what is the sense in ignoring the things they ask for specifically? You want your construction business to be known not only for a high quality of work and customer service but also for providing the best customer value compared to your competition.

Looking a home warranty provider for your construction business? There’s a lot to keep in mind, but not everything has to be complicated. Visit our Home Builder page to request a Warranty Quote to see how we can help you grow your business.

If you’re new to the construction industry it can seem like it will be impossible to make an impression and be as successful as existing companies. However, with some hard work, perseverance, and dedication you will find your success. Here are 5 tips for contractors who are looking to break into the construction industry for the first time.


1. Join a Construction Industry Association to Make Connections  


Like any profession, in construction networking is an important – albeit often time-consuming – necessity. These days most people do their networking online through sites like LinkedIn that are made specifically for business professionals to connect. However, that doesn’t mean you should discount the potential benefits of joining an industry association to make connections.


Getting out – even if it’s once a month – around your peers in your same field will help you in many ways. Not only will you make lasting connections that will likely help you throughout your career but you also gain credibility because it shows you are serious about your craft.


Here are a few national construction associations you can consider – though this is by no means a comprehensive list of all associations, so if one doesn’t stand out keep searching!





2. Be Involved – Don’t Leave Everything to Your Contractors


If you’re the one heading the project – the owner of the property or even just the main person overseeing the contractors – make sure you stay involved with the project from start to finish. This means from the day a home is bought until the last inspection is done, you need to be involved and available.


This is important, even if it feels like you’re just going to be on the phone and in meetings day in and day out. You should be available to your employees and contractors who are doing everything they can to make things run smoothly. But don’t limit yourself to construction calls. Customers want to talk to a real person, especially upon initial contact. Plan to either hire great customer service reps or prepare to be one yourself!


In the end, this is your project – and only you can be responsible for making sure things go as planned. The construction industry is no easy career – but it is a rewarding one if you’re willing to put in the time and effort it takes to be a success.



3. Always Use the Best Business Practices to Build Brand Trust and Authority


A major problem for many contractors is a lack of efficiency. This will result in not only losing money through delays in building, but it will make you seem unorganized and unprofessional to your buyers. You will need to have some sort of system in place to keep track of concerns like bookkeeping, scheduling, invoicing, training, task management, marketing and more.


This is where you will want to invest in some sort of organization software.


For productivity and marketing:




For Invoicing and Tracking Expenses:




For Construction and Project Management:




All these suggestions are easy-to-use organization software for day to day tasks. The best part is that depending on your needs these sorts of productivity tools all have free versions. This will help you keep everything organized and easily within reach – ensuring everyone on your team and your buyers all have the same streamlined experience.



4. Hire People Who Know More About Construction than You Do


It might sound counterintuitive to your business to hire people who know more about the scope of the construction industry than you do. However, what you’re getting – and paying for – is their expertise, not their labor.


You shouldn’t fear that someone will take your great ideas and run with them.  Instead, pay a fair wage to someone who knows more about the industry than you. This gives you the advantage of years of experience, without having to wait until those years are under your best.



5. Invest in Your Business to Be Profitable


This trips up many business owners. We’ve heard it since we were children: “You have to spend money to make money.” However, until you’re a business owner, you can’t fully understand the scope of construction industry investments. There are expenses in premium software, the best tools, and often higher rates for experts.


Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go all-out in some areas and cut corners in others. You want to keep a balance of investing in your product and employees. Provide quality materials and tools for your workers – and invest in training for those who would benefit. You’re going to have happier employees when you invest in helping them further their careers as well – which will benefit your business down the line in productivity and efficiency.


When you’re breaking into the industry, there are many things to plan. These five tips are of importance to your construction industry business and will help you on your path. If you’re not sure what your next step should be when investing in your company, get in touch with Residential Warranty Company, LLC to see how we can help you succeed.

Are you a builder trying to decide if you need to offer new home builder warranties?

Are you a builder trying to figure out exactly what constitutes a new home builder warranty?

Builder warranties protect both the new homeowner and the home builder, and they provide coverage for potential defects in the construction of a new home. How do you know if you need a home builder warranty, though? What do you need to know about builder warranties? We’ve got all the details on builder warranties for both the builder and the homeowner.

What are Builder Warranties?

New home builder warranties cover the homeowner in the event of a structural defect in their new home. They also provide some level of protection to the home builder in that they outline exactly what is and isn’t covered. A traditional builder warranty typically follows the cadence of:

What is Often Included in Coverage

Generally speaking, you can expect to see these types of items covered in your warranty throughout the given timeframe. Examples include, but not limited to:

What is Often Excluded from Coverage

The list of things covered will be in your warranty documents. There should also be a list of exclusions, so it’s important to review the documents carefully. A list of possible exclusions may look like this:

While this is just a standard list of things that a warranty isn’t likely to cover, there will be a list of other exclusions that you’ll need to consider. Some of those exclusions include acts of public malice (riots, vandalism, etc.), acts of God (including animals) and normal wear and tear.

Even with exclusions, both the homeowner and home builder are better off with a warranty. Exclusions are a part of the warranty world, so there is no getting around them no matter who you receive coverage through.

Home Builders: Why You Need Builder Warranties

Warranties serve a purpose – they provide coverage for certain labor, materials, and services if something is defective, with varying coverage terms and limits for each category. There are several benefits to having builder warranties:

1. Security in Knowing Your Work is Protected

If you’re like most home builders, your advertising is in your work. The more satisfied a new homeowner is, the more likely they will refer their friends and family to you. You’ll have security, too – you’ll know what exactly is covered, and what you’ll be responsible for in the event of a defect.

Without a home builder warranty, you may be liable for anything that you are taken to court over. There is an inherent risk in doing work without builder warranties, and that includes word of mouth talk that you failed to take care of someone’s construction properly.

2. Peace of Mind in Knowing Your Obligations Will be Met

Since a builder is responsible for repairing or replacing certain aspects of the home (should an issue arise) as described in the warranty, he typically has funds in place, in the form of reserves, to make those Year 1 and Year 2 repairs, but he can transfer the responsibility for more substantial structural problems during Years 3 through 10 to the warranty company, who will keep money aside to pay for those defects.  This frees the builder up to build up his business with the money he might otherwise put aside to make those kinds of repairs

3. Comfort in Knowing There is an Intermediary

Without a warranty, your construction business may be subject to claims or other legal remedies if there is any negligence or if a defect is found. There should be comfort in knowing that if a homeowner has a claim, mediation with the warranty company is the best option and you may be able to avoid legal action. This will be substantially less expensive than going to court, and the third-party can act as an interpreter, troubleshooter and negotiator.

4. Contractual Protection from Unqualified Claims

Having a warranty in place puts you in a solid position and means that you and the new homeowner have preemptively agreed on what you, the builder, is responsible for, and what the warranty company is willing to cover in the event a defect arises. Furthermore, should a dispute arise, there is a prescribed simple and less costly method for how that dispute will be resolved under the warranty.

Benefits of Builder Warranties

Aside from the general benefits of peace of mind and contractual obligations, there are some other key  benefits to builder warranties:

Average Cost of Builder Warranties and Repairs

Comparing costs is an important part of investing in a home builder warranty. The typical range for home repairs including labor and materials is $4,000 to $18,359, with the national average being $10,774. The average cost to repair a major structural failure can exceed $35,000.

While it’s true that you may not ever need your warranty coverage, the costs of not having one are unjustifiable for most people. Unless you can keep around $50,000 in reserves for home repairs, it may be financially disastrous not to have a home builder warranty.

No matter whether you’re a home builder or a homebuyer, builder warranties are made to protect each party in a home construction project. They provide protection for both the builder and the buyer, and they allow for mediation that is less expensive than a traditional court setting. At the end of the day, a warranty will be one of the least expensive items you can include on the homes you build… and one of the most valuable. Contact Residential Warranty Company, LLC today to see how we can help protect your financial future.