Just 10 years ago the housing industry officially went into the fetal position. Modular factories started shuttering their doors, builders went bankrupt or simply left the business and new home buyers were nonexistent and homeowners watched the equity in their homes disappear.
It’s been a rough decade but there is hope for modular housing again. Factories are running at near capacity, commercial projects like hotels, apartment complexes and senior housing are replacing a lot of the capacity that was once the domain of the single family modular home builder.
Most of the builders you see in business today weathered the years after the housing recession and are back bigger and and stronger than before.
This is not to say that there haven’t been a few problems along the way. Excel Homes, one of the largest custom modular home factories in the East, filed for bankruptcy twice since the recession. It’s finally in good hands since its purchase by Champion Home Builders.
Local Home Shows also suffered over the past 10 years. If you haven’t been to one in a couple of years let me tell you what you will see this year.
Every Realtor will have a booth filled with people that really don’t want to be there and end up talking to each other while they hand out candy, pens and mini calendars to everyone. Banks are also everywhere you look manned by staff that really doesn’t like giving up their weekend just so that the attendees can spin the wheel and maybe win a pen, a refrigerator magnet or the big prize of dinner at Red Lobster.
There will be a mix of craftspeople showing the woodworking skills, local gift shops, people selling packets of salad mixes, plumbers, closet organizers, garage door salespeople and on and on and on.
What you won’t see are local homebuilders. There might be a couple of tract home builders like Ryan Homes with a booth displaying their latest acquisition of land and handing out literature but you will see very few local builders.
There are two reasons for this. First the number of independent new home builders has dwindled to record lows and secondly, cost both in time and money.
Today’s local builder knows that having a good presence on Facebook is better than sitting at a Home Show trying to grab sales from the people that are there just to have something to do on a Saturday or Sunday when there is no football on TV.
Local builders are also using their website to attract people to their homes. A lot of really great websites have been developed over the past 10 years by builders that understand that most, an estimated 95%, prospective new home buyers begin their search by Googling for builders in their area.
Today many Home Shows have been renamed “Home and Garden” or “ The Spring Show”. The builders that used to show up, built an elaborate display and maybe sell one home from the Home Show are gone.
My advice. Take the money you would have spent on being in the Home Show and hire a good web designer to refresh your website, learn how to promote yourself and get free exposure on Facebook and post lots of pictures of your homes which will find their way onto Pinterest.
Starting writing a blog. It’s free also.
Just don’t waste your time on being part of a Home Show at your local Community College, Mall or Fire Hall.