Saturday, January 18, 2020

Boxabl Unfolds New Dimension In Modular Housing

Attending IBS? Make sure you visit the outside display of homes.

Front and center is a new type of modular home from Boxabl, the folding home people. Featured at IBS this year is the Casita, their basic home complete right out of the box.

The Full-Size Kitchen features: Large Fridge • Double Sink With a View • Oven • Dishwasher • Microwave • Shaker Cabinetry

​Bathroom features include: Deep shower/tub • Vessel sink • Large counter • Backlit Mirror • Sliding Glass Barn Door

​A visit to the Living Room includes: 9'6" Ceilings • 8' Huge Doors & Windows • Wide Plank Composite Flooring • Built-In Ironing Center • Washer/Dryer • Heating & Air Conditioning

Every house from Boxabl is water and wind resistant as well as mold, bug and fire resistant.

I really think there is a future for Boxabl in creating affordable housing.

When you stop by, tell them the Modcoach sent you and be entered into a drawing for a free cup of coffee with Modcoach. Of course you’ll have to pay your own way to his hometown in Maryland but that’s a small price to pay for a Denny’s coffee with the Coach!

Friday, January 17, 2020

Is Your Company’s Website Stale and Dusty?

“Nobody shops at a bakery that only sells stale donuts.”

So why do new home builders think that prospective new home buyers are going to visit their website more than once if it never changes? The power to draw them back to your site so that you have more than a fleeting chance at winning them over is entirely in your hands.
Before we venture any further into this subject, I must ask..."When was the last time you visited your website?" Surprise!

There are several things that will continue to bring people back to your site until they either contact you or stop looking. Here are some areas that you can improve to help not only in keeping your prospects coming back but also encourage new visitors to return again and again. Use social websites like Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to keep your name in front of people looking for a new home. Get them to “Like” you, comment and most importantly, include your website address so they can visit you. Continually update your website’s information with special offers, pictures of homes that are either in the process of being finished and also completed ones, news and links about modular housing and occasionally put something personal about you so that people can get to know you.
Once you get someone to visit your website, which is what you really want, do they find stale donuts or fresh ones? If you haven’t done anything to your website in the past month, chances are your visitors are not going to come back more than twice. Keeping it current is not a hard task but it does require a little time and effort. Update your pictures, add a special offer (make sure you delete it after it is over), add a monthly featured floor plan, have a link area where you keep adding new and interesting things that will help your visitors understand modular construction, add a “call to action” button for quick info about a special you’re running or maybe consider writing a blog that gets a new article or link once a month. Any of these is better than doing nothing and hoping for improved results. Remember, “There’s nothing older than yesterday’s news.” If you are still peddling the same website that you have been using for the last two or three years, you have nobody to blame but yourself if your website isn’t generating enough inquiries and appointments to keep your sales funnel filled.

One way to get out of the rut is to have someone else be responsible for all your website updates, blogging and specials. If you are looking to become a new home builder or are already building homes and want a better way to market and sell homes, check this out.

Developer Decides to Cut Out the Middle Man by Building Modular Factories

Apartment Developer Plans To Build Modular Housing Factories Across The U.S.

A BISNOW Article:

For years, Place Properties developed its apartments the traditional way: find a site, bring in the materials and use crews to build it from the ground up.

But Place CEO Cecil Phillips is now all-in on a new way of developing apartments: assembling them in a factory hundreds of miles away, then putting the pieces together like a puzzle on the site.

The method is called modular construction. Phillips calls it the future of the housing industry, and he's placing a more-than-$30M bet that he's right.

“America, like in a lot of other places, we want what we want, we want it right away,” Phillips said at a Bisnow event in Atlanta last week. "Modular construction does more to scratch that itch, if you will, than traditional construction ever will."

Place Properties owns and operates 3,200 apartment units in Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Virginia and has developed or owned 50,000 student housing and military housing units since 1995.

It is putting the finishing touches on its first modular housing project in Atlanta and has plans to break ground on its first modular townhome project this spring. The firm is also in talks to acquire a site in Metro Atlanta where it plans to build a 125K SF modular housing manufacturing facility, Phillips said.

He declined to disclose the specific location until the deal is finalized. He said he's formed partnerships to help fund the development, which he expects to cost $32M, factoring in the factory's equipment. Phillips expects to spend $3.3M a year to operate the plant, including training workers prior to opening.

At full operation, Phillips expects the factory to employ upward of 200 people and will be able to produce a single-family dwelling every three to four days and eight apartment units a day. The plant would not only be used for Place projects, but also be open to third-party developers and owners of housing and apartments.

The plant will have a trade area of up to 850 miles, meaning it could service as far north as New York City and as far west as Austin, Texas. The plant is just the start: Place plans to roll out a series of similar plants across the country.

CLICK HERE to read the entire BISNOW article

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Modcoach’s Top 25 Reasons People Build a New Home

New home builders are always looking for new home buyers.but I have a sad truth for you, they don’t grow on trees? At least not the type of trees builders had a mere 20 years ago.

Back then marketing was much more complicated and less immediate. Billboards, ads in newspapers, direct mail pieces and even TV and radio were used. This type of marketing wasn’t cheap and actually not very effective. You couldn’t tell if someone contacted you from a billboard or a radio unless you actually asked them.

Today almost all those types of advertising have disappeared. In their place we now have Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp, WeChat, Tumblr, Pinterest and many others but these are in the Top 10.

Let’s be honest here, if you have time to learn what each one’s target audience is, put up at least one post a day on each, answer questions and replies from people that read you posts, come up with a new thought for each day and then track each one to see how many followers, contacts and “Likes” you get every single day, you have to be one exhausted new home builder! There is a better way.

Please don't be put off by this video. Even though she may not appear to be the right fit for the particular job she's being interviewed for, she may be just the one that could learn what you do and have fun promoting it on social media platforms.

The people on your staff or the agency that used to handle all your marketing 20 years ago can all be replaced with one high tech Millennial or Gen Z that knows your business model and can develop posts for each of them, decipher all the responses and reply to them and lead the people to your website where, hopefully, they will contact you. This individual will not come cheap but it will probably be cheaper than your old, outdated marketing approach.

Below are 25 reasons most people want to build a new home. You and your marketing person should look over the list, pick a couple of personas to concentrate on for a couple of months and see what comes in the ‘front door’. It could surprise you.

If you take just one or two of these and market to the people that it affects, you will probably see a sale or two. Then go to the next one and the next one until you addressed the entire list and then start over again. Not only will you become acutely aware of what people want, you will get a better handle on who is buying homes in you market area.

Here are Modcoach’s 25 Reasons People Build a New Home
  1. To become more comfortable - sometimes even a little bit more
  2. To attract praise – because almost everybody loves a new home
  3. To increase enjoyment – of life, of business, of virtually anything
  4. To possess things of beauty – believe a new home nourishes the soul
  5. To keep up with the Joneses – there are Joneses in everybody’s lives
  6. To feel opulent – a rare, but valid reason to buy a new home
  7. To become more efficient – because efficiency saves time
  8. To escape or avoid pain – which is an easy path to making a sale
  9. To protect their possessions – because they worked hard to get them
  10. To be in style – because few people enjoy being out of style
  11. To access opportunities – because they open the doors to good things
  12. To express love – one of the noblest reasons to make any purchase
  13. To feel safe – because security is a basic human need
  14. To conserve energy – their own or their planet’s sources of energy
  15. To save time -- because they know time is more valuable than money
  16. To protect their family – tapping into another basic human need
  17. To feel superior – which is why status symbols are sought after
  18. To be excited – because people sometimes need the excitement of a new home
  19. To satisfy an impulse – a basic reason behind a multitude of purchases
  20. To save money – the most important reason to 14% of the population
  21. To be individual – because all of us are, and some of us need assurance
  22. To gain convenience – because simplicity makes life easier
  23. To leave a legacy – because that’s a way to live forever
  24. To expand - because of a growing family
  25. To downsize - to an empty nest

Meet Me at IBS!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Get Your Copy of the Ultimate LVL Handbook

Every modular factory in the world has used, is using or is about to use LVL (Laminated Veneer Lumber) on their production line.

Imagine my surprise when I came across what can only be described as the most awesome guide to LVL. The guide was developed for use in Europe where LVL is the go-to material for offsite and modular construction.

So many drawings, charts and graphs that it will take quite a while to digest its 228 pages. Trust me, you’ll be glad you downloaded this.

Simply CLICK HERE for you copy LVL Handbook Europe

Where’s Modular Housing’s Promised Growth?

A 30 year old study on housing said modular would make up 90% of all new housing by 2020 while an even earlier report predicted the cost of building houses in factories would lower the cost so much that houses and cars would cost about the same in 2020.

The award winning Genesis Cottage by Champion in 2005

I’m really not sure why 2020 was the year they all referred to as the “Pot of gold at the end of the Rainbow” but let me make this perfectly clear….It Isn’t!

Modular housing isn't 90% of all new house starts, it has actually slid down from a high of almost 5% of total housing in 2007 to less than 3% today. Manufactured HUD homes now stand at 10% of new single family homes. OOPS!

So what happened? First we had the housing crash of 2008 which almost killed the modular housing industry. Many factories closed their doors and probably 75% of all modular new home builders left construction. Visit a Lowe’s, where the contractor that built your new home in 2005, is probably working in the lumber department.

Even today single family modular home factories are closing their doors. And on top of that, when was the last time we saw a new single family modular home factory open? And please don’t mention you know of a modular factory opening somewhere in the US building single family homes. Of all the new ones, most can only supply a very limited number of modules a week.

What we need are SFH modular factories capable of producing 40-50 modules a week, not like those new ones that can take up to 8 weeks to build a single home. That’s not really a modular home factory, that’s a builder simply moving their operation under roof.

What we’re getting however, which isn’t bad for affordable housing, are modular factories designed from the ground up to produce up to several hundred similar, stackable, multi-living units which will be shipped to large cities to ease the housing crunch.

Yes, they are modular and yes, they are affordable and yes, many will see the latest in automated production being used. However, if there is a single new modular factory gearing up to build single family custom homes, I haven’t heard of it yet.

Even the most established modular housing factories in the US began building cookie cutter modules they hope will help insure their factory doors stay open. With Marriott hotels leading the charge for modular, a lot of factories that used to produce truly custom homes are welcoming those mega projects deals and in some cases turning their backs on custom single family homes.

To make matters worse, the aging builder base that used to sell custom modular homes is not being replaced as fast as they depart the business. Millennials and entrepreneurship are terms not often mentioned in the same sentence today. Becoming a modular new home builder isn’t on many of their radars. Because of that, only a couple modular factories offer any type of training to become modular home builders.

There is a new program being offered by one of the largest modular home builders in the country and they hope they can reverse this trend and once again bring custom modular single family homes back on the track to becoming a dominant force in housing.

As everyone knows, success breeds success, and if their efforts take root, be prepared to see single family modular home factories opening to meet their demand.

And where does the modular housing industry stand on building homes that cost as little as the automobile? Well, if you want one of those, you need to buy a manufactured home (single or double wide) and place it on a rented lot with no basement or permanent foundation.

Today’s modular home is basically the same price per square foot (the public’s benchmark) as a stick built site home, about $100 per square foot. That is considerably higher on the West Coast where even basic housing of any kind starts at $200 per sq ft.

The added costs of regulations by the IRC code updates, energy conservation, sustainable building materials, state reviews, regulations and approvals by everyone from the housing plan review Gods to the transportation Secretary to the janitor that throws out all those red stamped plans that get sent back to the factory again and again to be revised have all kept modular housing from being the economic benefit they saw just 30 years ago.

And here’s one last thing that has kept single family modular housing from becoming “all it can be.” There is no national modular home marketing program by anyone, anywhere.

That has led to the misunderstanding by new home buyers that modular and manufactured housing are synonymous. And that is nobody’s fault but the modular housing industry itself.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog   
and industry speaker/consultant.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A New Tiny House Ordinance Could Soon Sweep the Country

Moscow, Idaho will soon allow modular homes and certain tiny homes in mobile home parks and the six-month stay limitation for recreational vehicles in RV parks will be eliminated.

It all started when the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission was asked to consider removing the six-month limitation for RV occupancy.

The commission also began looking at recent housing trend examples, such as tiny homes and modular homes, that might fit in manufactured housing parks and provide an opportunity to better utilize the older and smaller-scale manufactured home parks in the city.

“I think the commission felt this was maybe opening the door to allow for repurposing of some of the older mobile home parks with some different housing options and certainly those that may be considered to be more affordable as well,” Bill Belknap, Moscow deputy city supervisor of community planning and design said.

Besides allowing modular homes, or prefabricated buildings, in manufactured home parks, tiny homes that are on a chassis and wheels would be allowed at RV parks and manufactured home parks.

A public hearing will take place Jan. 21 and a decision on the proposed changes.

If this passes, look for other cities across the country to take a closer look at this ordinance for their towns and cities.

A Career in New Home Building Awaits You!

It seems like every modular home builder views themselves not as an entrepreneur or being in the building profession but rather as someone with a career.

Being a new home builder, either as a site builder buying raw materials from the local Lowe’s,as a prefab builder having all the wall panels, trusses and floor panels delivered to the job site or being a modular new home builder, means you have chosen a career in one of the last industries where you totally control your future.

So why do I say a “career” and not profession? The definition of career is the progress and actions taken by a person throughout a lifetime, especially those related to that person's occupation.

That defines almost every new home builder I’ve ever met. Their business grows through their personal dedication to learning every aspect of constructing a new home. Years of going to work where each day is a different learning experience.

I was a new home builder before I went to work for Champion’s Genesis brand as a sales rep. Even though I wasn’t actually building new homes myself I was able to understand the builder’s needs and help those builders that chose to use modular construction methods to build homes for their customers.

The transition to becoming a new home site builder usually follows the same path for all builders. They work for a site builder after school or college, worked hard to learn all facets of home building as they went from laborer to foreman and probably moved into management. At that point they might be ready to strike out on their own.

A good career path for them to become a site builder.

But what about those whose career path started in management and after a few years realized they were never going to do anything to advance in that company? Or maybe you were a Veteran returning home after 3 tours in the Middle East like my son with no training in real world occupations or a Real Estate agent looking to become a new home builder and not just selling everyone else’s house. There are so many people looking for a career in something who wouldn’t consider new home construction as the next step in building their future.

And that’s one of the best kept secrets of modular housing. A career in building modular homes doesn’t require quite the same skills as the site builder who must do everything themselves or pay someone to do every single part of building a home.

We’ve all heard that 70% or more of the finished home is completed in the modular factory and the modular home builder is more a management and sales professional than they are a true site builder.

That 70% only refers to is how much of the finished home, from the sill plate up, is completed on the factory’s production line.

The sales part of both the site builder and modular new home builder from the first meeting to ready to create a floorplan is very similar in both time and knowledge. The sales side is both the hardest part and the usually the quickest part of the process. What happens after that is where the site builder and modular home builder take slightly different paths to the finish line.

One of the most often overlooked aspects of being a modular home builder is freedom. Let me explain.

If the actual sales part of the process is the same for both, the next stages take completely different paths for the majority of what's left to accomplish.

Site builders have to become involved in all aspects of the entire house from creating working floor plans to take-offs through ordering materials, coordinating subs for every single part of the home and code inspections for every stage of the home.

Meanwhile the modular factory takes on a lot of those responsibilities normally assigned to the site builder. Plan drawings, inspections, ordering materials including those nasty special orders every customer seems to want and of course building up to 70% of the home.

I hear a lot of modular builders complaining about how long it takes for their modular factory to process and produce their homes and honestly it really does seem like a long time but would you, as a builder, rather spend your time doing all those tedious chores your modular factory does or would you like to use that time for scheduling appointments and selling a couple more new homes?

This secret is missed by a lot of people when they decide it’s time to start a home building career.

A career as a modular new home builder is not without problems but through training and help from the factory or franchiser, you will soon realize the freedom modular construction can bring to your business.

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer of Modular Home Builder blog and industry speaker/consultant. Contact

Monday, January 13, 2020

I’ll Be in Vegas Next Week, Will You?

It’s still not too late to register for the International Builder Show in Vegas next week. But why would you want to?

For one thing, I will be at the Express Modular Franchising booth every morning till noon. Ken Semler, the owner of Express Modular, asked me quite some time ago if I would like to see IBS from “the other side”, meaning instead of walking through one of the largest convention exhibit areas of any industry, I could learn what people that stop at an exhibitor's booth are looking for.

In this case, the people that stop by Ken’s Express Modular Franchising booth will be looking at how to become a modular home builder. It’s really that simple. Invest in a franchise and learn what happens when you don’t have to experience the pitfalls someone will most likely face trying to do it on their own.
I’m also curious who will be asking about his franchise opportunity. Will they be site builders, veterans, women in construction, Architects, etc? Becoming a modular home builder should be something that appeals to quite a wide range of people.

Stop by to say hello and let me know what questions and observations you have about the modular construction industry. Many of you may soon find yourselves posted in an article on my blog as the questions you ask are probably the same as those that can’t be there.

In the afternoon, I’ll be back on the other side of the booth, walking and talking to the people manning their booths. I’m truly excited to learn what’s new and what products and services are about to hit our industry.

And don’t forget the outside exhibits featuring modular homes and be sure not to miss all the great speakers at IBS.

With 1,500 exhibitors, this is one show I won’t miss and I hope you don’t either.

If you would like a FREE Pass to the exhibit area, simply click here and I’ll make sure you get one immediately!

Gary Fleisher is a housing veteran, editor/writer
and industry speaker/consultant.