Wednesday, August 31, 2016

7 Tips to Defuse an Angry Home Buyer

How many of you remember shoe repair shops or small appliance shops in every town? I grew up in a small town of 2,500 people that had 2 shoe repair shops, an appliance repair shop run by a WWII veteran and 3 corner grocery stores.

If someone wasn’t happy with what they bought, they either returned it or had it repaired. No questions asked. Those were the good old days we hear about but most have not experienced.

Fast forward 50 years and today’s customers only want things returned quickly or repaired for free even if it their fault it broke in the first place. Social media makes it so easy for someone with a small problem to blow it completely out of proportion and the loser is you, the new home builder.

Very few new home buyers today can have their house built without some kind of problem. We’ve all heard these lines:

  • “You promised me……….”
  • “You never told me………..”
  • “That should have been included in the price”
  • “My Dad (Grandfather, friend, neighbor, second cousin) said that you should……”
  • “I checked the Internet and you are doing it wrong”
  • “Just when are you going to fix…….”
  • “I called my lawyer and they said you have to ……………..”
  • “What do you mean I can’t move into my own house?”

And these are just a couple of the more frequent ones you hear from your customers. If not handled properly it can mean a lot of pain for you later.

So what can you do about it?  How can you break through and dissolve the resistance that is building up between you and your home buyer?

You want to get your point across, but don’t want to fuel the fire.  Even if you know what to do, in a heated moment you must know what you are up against.  You must think strategically if you want to get ahead and make the best out of your particular situation.  A big part of that process is to stop, think and do the unexpected.

Here are seven easy and effective tips to turn around any situation with a difficult person:

1.  Stop, Look and Listen.
You would be surprised what this simple action will do.  One common reason people put up resistance is because they do not feel heard or understood.  Stop, Look and Listening to them to make them feel significant is the fastest way to move forward.

2.  Walk in their shoes.
Just imagine you are in their shoes for one moment.  What do they want?  If you were in their situation, what would it feel like?  Just this one tip will get you far because most people are seeing one point of view: theirs.  Great problem-solvers can change perspective.

3. Resistance is Futile.
What you resist, persists.  People tend to resist you more when you resist them.  Spend a little extra time getting to know their point of view and ask them questions to understand their point of view (and nod your head, yes, as if you understand).

4. Body Language.
We communicate not only through words but with our body language.  When you tilt your head slightly, people feel heard.  Also, this one trick will get you to actually listen more intently.

5. Who Has the Final Say.
Find out who influences the difficult person and see if they can help you relate.  Think outside the box and know you have many routes that lead to where you want to go.

6. Change the Subject.
Sometimes you can change the subject and agree on something totally different than the matter at hand in order to create a bond with the person.  Even a negative bond might do the trick, but be careful not to create a habit of negative bonding.

7. Stop Trying So Hard to be Right.
Don’t feed negativity.  Big responses and long email replies can escalate a difficult situation.  Don’t call out the person’s behavior with a grand reply but instead calmly listen with care.  The person won’t feel defensive but will feel understood.

2016 MHBA Annual Membership Meeting Slated for Oct 19-20

OCTOBER 19 - 20, 2016  |  HARRISBURG, PA

The Modular Home Builders Association's Annual Membership Meeting is the most comprehensive meeting anywhere of modular home builders, architects, engineers, developers, and suppliers.

The Modular Home Builders Association provides professionals in residential modular construction a place to network, exchange ideas, learn from experts, discuss issues, and grow professionally. We are pleased to host the MHBA Annual Membership Meeting at the Holiday Inn Harrisburg-Hershey from October 19-20, 2016.

This event features reporting on association activities, issues and trends affecting modular home building, networking opportunities, and an awards lunch to recognize the year's best projects.

A Most Informative Builder Breakfast on November 2nd

I am happy to announce that the next Modular Builder Breakfast will be held on November 2, 2016 at the Country Cupboard in Lewisburg, PA.

The featured speaker is Steven Snyder, Attorney, who will speak on the aftermath of the IBS bankruptcy and how modular home builders can take steps to insure their customer's best interests and the fiduciary relationships required with them.

Builders have suffered financial loses that could have been prevented with a little inside knowledge of how to spot the warning signs that a factory may be in financial trouble. IBS is not the only factory that has had trouble this year.

Steve, a longtime friend of modular housing and one of its biggest advocates will give you some tips to help you and your customer as well as answer your questions. This is a must attend event

Seating is limited to the first 40 people.

Date: November 2, 2016
Time: 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM
Place: Country Cupboard - Lewisburg, PA
Cost is only $25.00 per person

Includes their huge Breakfast Buffet from 8:00 - 8:30

CLICK HERE to register

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

What Is a Modular Home? For Starters, It’s Not a Boring Old Box

If you’re looking to buy a home, or considering building one, you may have heard that modular homes are an increasingly popular option. But what is a modular home? In a nutshell, it’s a house whose parts are built in a factory, then transported to the property and assembled there.

First introduced near the end of World War II, modular homes—also called factory-built, prefabricated, or prefab—still represent only about 1.5% of the homes built in the U.S. today. But prefab homes are getting hotter than ever with design-savvy buyers who want the flexibility to choose their floor plans and styles.

In other words: Just because it’s made in a factory doesn’t mean it’s a boring box just like everyone else’s.

From an article in

Time Running Out to Register for the Midwest Modular Boot Camp

The Midwest Modular Boot Camp is coming to Carmel, Indiana on September 14th. If you haven't signed up for this event yet, drop everything and register today. Every modular home builder, factory person and supplier should sign up soon as seating is limited and filling up.

Hear some great speakers and a chance to network with other modular folk in the Midwest. Isn't this what you've always said you wanted to do? I thought so.

Modcoach says CLICK HERE to Register.

September 14, 2016
Hilton Garden Inn, Carmel, Indiana

8:00 to 8:15 AM   Continental Breakfast and Networking
8:15 to 8:30 AM Welcome
8:30 to 9:30 AM Anthony Zarrilli - Modular Advantages After a Disaster
9:30 to 9:45 AM David Ziroka - Why the MHBA is important for everyone
9:45 to 10:00 AM Break
10:00 to 10:30 AM Reed Dillon - Modular Marketing 101
10:30 to 12:00 Harris Woodward - Building the High Performance Home
12:00 to 12:45 PM Buffet Lunch and networking
12:45 to 1:15 PM Ken Semler -What are Search Analytics and Why Should a Builder Care?
1:15 to 2:15 PM Valerie Jurik - Designing Aging In Place into Modular
2:15 to 3:15 PM Scott Stroud - Increasing your Bottom Line Potential
3:15 to 3:30 PM Closing

Speakers for the Midwest Boot Camp include:

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Anthony Zarrilli, owner of Zarrilli Homes in Brick, NJ.
“Modular Homes Advantages When Natural Disasters Strike”
Sponsored by Simpson Strong-Tie

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Harris Woodward, owner of FinishWerks in Savage, MD.
“Building the High Performance Modular Home”

Reed Dillon, Creative Brand Content.
“Modular Marketing 101”

Dave Sikora, Modular Home Builders Association.
“What MHBA Holds for Your  Future”

vjh (1).jpg
Valerie Jurik, Aging in Place Specialist.
“Designing AIP Into Modular Homes”
Sponsored by Commodore Homes

Scott Stroud (1).jpg
Scott Stroud, Cash Flow Engineering.
“Increasing Your Bottom Line Potential”
Sponsored by Rochester Homes

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Ken Semler, owner of Express Modular.
What are Search Analytics and Why Should a Builder Care?

Join with other modular home builders, factory people and suppliers in this First Ever Midwest Modular Boot Camp.

Date:   September 14, 2016
Place:  Hilton Garden Inn, Carmel, IN
Time:  8:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Cost;   $149 per person

Includes a Continental Breakfast and huge Lunch Buffet

Limited Seating. First Come Basis

CLICK HERE to Register.

Texas Modular Factory Builds Shelters for Preppers

Have you ever wondered if there will be a catastrophe big enough to cripple the way of life on the planet?

Many people all over the world have been quietly preparing for such events by having shelters within their current homes, fortified cabins in remote areas or in some cases building underground bunkers.

They are called Preppers and their ranks are growing, not just here in the US but in countries everywhere. They are not rednecks with guns and Confederate flags on their pickup trucks or lunatics with aluminum foil hats. No, the vast majority are your neighbors and friends.

They are anxious about recent terrorist attacks from Paris to San Bernardino, Calif., to Orlando; pandemics such as Ebola in West Africa; potential nuclear attacks from increasingly provocative countries such as North Korea or Iran; and the growing political, economic and racial polarization in the United States that has deepened during the 2016 presidential election.

The Northwest area of the US comprised of Eastern Oregon and Washington and the states of Montana and Wyoming has more than its share of Preppers.

Rising S Bunkers, a modular factory has been building and selling steel underground bunkers for Preppers starting at just $39K.


Clyde Scott, owner of Rising S Bunkers in Kemp, Texas, said pre-made, blast-proof underground steel bunkers are in big demand, including his most popular model, which sleeps six to eight people and sells for up to $150,000.

“Anybody with a peanut-sized brain,” he said, can see that the U.S. economy is in perilous shape because of the national debt, the decline of American manufacturing and the size of the welfare rolls.

“Some people worry about hurricanes, earthquakes or forest fires. Others fear a nuclear attack or solar flare that creates an electromagnetic pulse that knocks out the nation’s electric grid and all computers, sending the country into darkness and chaos — perhaps forever.”

A few years ago I did an article about an East Coast steel bunker manufacturer, Trinton Shelters. Great looking bunker. Unfortunately they have closed their doors.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Elements Europe Building 23 Story Modular Residential in London

Image courtesy of Essential Living / Assael Architects.
Essential Living, a developer and operator of homes for rent, has called upon Elements Europe to provide a modular solution for its award-winning Creekside Wharf scheme in Greenwich.

Elements Europe will manufacture and deliver 632 Modules to the site in London at a rate of 20 a week from February 2017.

Essential Living has already started on site. Elements Europe’s modules will be installed around the scheme’s concrete core.

Elements Europe’s systems will halve the time spent on site to 32 weeks meaning that Essential Living can bring forward much-needed homes for rent far more quickly than if they had used solely on site techniques.

Off-site construction brings a number of benefits for build to rent developer-operators, giving them the chance to earn rental income sooner, reduce energy bills and refurbish the buildings more easily which is crucial as they’ll be holding the asset for years.

The prototype module that Elements put together will be one of the last fitted to Creekside Wharf, underlining the commitment to sustainable development.

At 23 stories tall, Creekside Wharf will also be one of the tallest modular buildings in the UK.

Elements Europe is accredited by the Build Offsite Property Assurance Scheme, a linkup between Lloyd’s, BLP, Buildoffsite and RICS, which ensures their product is mortgageable for two terms. This essentially acts as a warranty wrapper, lasting for more than 50 years, giving mortgage lenders confidence.

Creekside Wharf is the UK’s first housing scheme with a dedicated family block. Elements Europe will deliver for resident’s wider corridors, buggy storage, greater acoustic insulation and a ground floor nursery.

Martin Bellinger, chief operating officer at Essential Living, commented “We’re pleased to be able to appoint Elements Europe, veterans of the modular world, on what promises to be an innovative scheme in Greenwich. Having the potential to collect rent six months earlier, than a traditional build, is appealing. This is achievable because you can commence work on the modules off-site at the same time as constructing the traditional concrete core on-site which the steel-framed modules then plug into.”

Simon Underwood, Managing Director at Elements Europe, said “Elements Europe is delighted to have been appointed by Essential Living to deliver Creekside Wharf. We have developed an industry-leading solution for Essential Living and the build to rent sector bringing together many years of experience.

“Modular solutions have been used for many years throughout the hotel and student accommodation sectors and our entry into the build to rent market is just a natural progression, bringing homes forward sooner, reduced capital construction costs, improved quality and safety of delivery.” Underwood added.

Monitoring Your Marketing Results

An article by Reed Dillon

This stage is all vital in knowing what you doing and have invested all of the time and effort into is working or not. If it is not working it is possibly time to reassess or give it more time.

Visit your County Clerk office or permit office and see how many permits are being pulled to get a view of where you stand regarding area market share.

Metrics in the last several years have become extremely sophisticated. Web traffic and stats can be measured by Google Analytics. On Google Analytics you can uncover a treasure trove of demographic information about who is coming to your site, where are they going in your site and how they got there?

After equipping yourself with that knowledge you may then devise ways in which you can leverage even more positive results.

Creating a marketing plan is not necessarily easy and it will not bring you instant results. Just like going to the gym you have to work at it before you start seeing anything in return. At the very least going through this exercise you will increase your understanding of your strength, opportunities and how you fit into your particular competitive landscape.  

We welcome hearing your thoughts regarding Marketing Plans and Strategies. Feel free to post your questions and thoughts in the comments section below.

ABOUT Reed Dillon - Reed Dillon is the owner of Creative Brand Content, - a marketing consulting company and, a subscription blog service for builders.

Reed has spent nearly two decades heading the marketing departments of some of the industry’s leading modular manufacturers and earning numerous national marketing awards. Contact can be made at or by phone at 540-488-2978.  

Parts of this blog was resourced from the blog 6 Steps to Develop an Effective Construction Marketing Plan by Michael Moore

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Developer Proposes 200 Tiny Prefab Homes that Fit Together Like LEGOs

Imagine the smallest space in which you could possibly live. Now imagine something smaller.

Can you get by in just 160 square feet?

The answer, as Berkeley based modular building developer Panoramic Interests will tell you, probably depends on what other options you have. And in the Bay Area, there aren't too many.

Panoramic has a pitch for San Francisco: Turn over just a portion of a DPW owned parking lot at 2627 Cesar Chavez and the company will build 200 new homes there in only a couple of months.

They promise that modular, prefabricated infill units can come together for 60 percent of the cost of a normal building and a fraction of the time. The same company has put up some similar tiny homes in the city before, but these would be even smaller.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Curbed - San Francisco article