Friday, January 24, 2020

This Will be Modular Housing's Breakout Year

From everything I saw and the people I talked with at this week's IBS in Vegas, I think our industry is ready to begin an upward spiral that will continue way into the future.

"Hey housing industry, are you ready to wake up?"

Wednesday, January 22, 2020


Seeking sale of modular residential and commercial manufacturing business.

Annual revenue peaked at $18mm. With current product offerings and recently modernized facility, management is confident that revenue of over $50mm is attainable if properly capitalized. Average per modular revenue of $35-40k. Production capacity of up to one module per hour.

  • Offsite construction / modular building component manufacturer serving the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic markets
  • Reached 1 module every 2 hours prior to the 2008 Recession
  • 115,274 sq. ft. Manufacturing Facility on 53+ Acres
  • Non-Union Employee Base – Great labor potential in the area

  • Innovative product offering with a compelling customer value proposition.
  • Ample manufacturing capability at its facility – capacity to exceed $50 million annual revenue based on a single shift.
  • Experienced management team

Assets Include
  • Substantially all assets: Real estate, M&E, Inventory, AR, Contracts, Intellectual property including existing designs and multiple state pre-approvals

Equity Partners, a division of SC&H Capital
Debbie Beall
Ph: (443) 951-4854

Accelerated sale process is underway. Bids due in early February.

Offered by authority of the US Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of Virginia,
Case #: 19-36275-KRH.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Little Help in Understanding the Millennial New Home Buyer

There are three types of new home builders; the multifamily, the tract and the single family home builder. Each has a very unique place with the Millennial new home buyer.

Let’s take a look at how they are impacting each of the three types. The multifamily builder/developer can’t seem to build enough two and three story townhouses to fill their needs. As you drive closer to urban areas you will see more popping up as far as 50-60 miles out.

These are inexpensively massed produced by some of the biggest homebuilders in the country and they all have the same game plan. Build as many as you can as fast as you can, make them look nice built near an urban area where tenants and homeowners can find all the amenities needed by this generation,

Good restaurants, brew pubs, active social areas and as often as possible, public transportation. Millennials are probably the most social generation to ever buy and rent new housing.

If a developer can’t find enough shopping close to where they want to build their project, they simply add a couple of strip centers and up pops mostly Millennials to fill their project. Or the developer may see an opportunity parcel(s) that first needs built out to support the Millennial demands which might include a supermarket, drycleaner, a couple of good restaurants that deliver and maybe even a Gym or an urgent care facility.

Living just 70 miles from both Baltimore and Metro DC, I’ve seen first hand what I’ve just described. In a very rural area just 7 miles south, I first noticed a supermarket and a convenience store being built in a very rural setting. Over the last 5 years not only have the three story townhouse projects shown up directly across the street, now there is a huge new one being built surrounding the entire shopping complex. Meanwhile townhouse and townhouse communities began showing up 3 miles south of the first area.

This one went a bit further. Not only are they building these homes next to a Walmart Supercenter, they’ve attracted not one but two multi-story competing medical centers directly across the street from each other.

And all this activity is only a 90 minute drive from Metro DC, the hottest area on the East Coast.

Second type of housing is the tract builder. This group of builders, the top 100 home builders in the US are almost always the same players found in the first group. That’s why they are the Top 100.

They are still building communities across America but given a choice many of them would switch to building multifamily. First, the demand for luxury homes is still strong but it’s definitely slowing down, It’s not what Millennials really want or more importantly, can afford at the moment.

They are usually built near shopping and the other amenities that Millennials want and have sidewalks, some type of walking and bike paths, and open areas. Again things every person says they want. But the appeal of having to pay a high price to live in a home separated from each of their neighbors is not entirely appealing to Millennials any more, and of course you have to cut your own grass and other things townhouse living doesn’t require.

It’s not that Millennials are lazy, it’s just that there are better ways to use up their week than mowing grass.

And that brings us to the single family new home builder. Most build less than 20 homes a year. Of course there a quite a few that build a lot more than 20 but it’s not enough to keep the average above 20 or less a year.

This group is coveted by suppliers and vendors but lately, not so much by Millennials. Often called scattered lot builders within the trade, they struggle to effectively use marketing that could attract the Millennial new home buyer, are having a hard time finding good labor and subcontractors that aren’t working for a bigger builder.

Many single family home builders are turning to new ways to build their homes. Prefabricated walls, trusses and even floor systems have begun taking some of the labor problems off their plates but not enough. Being a small SFH (single family home) builder also means your voice is small compared to the larger builders.

Need an electrician? You might find one that could squeeze you in. Again something from my local area tells me subs control the flow. A small regional SFH site builder near me builds some really nice homes, mostly brick upscale ranch style. I recently learned he is down to one electrician and two plumbers. All three are in their early 60’s and are looking at retiring soon.

He must be desperate because he reached out to me for help in finding people to replace these men. Just because we go to the same church means I have any insight as to where to look.

Just in case you’re wondering why the Modcoach hasn’t mentioned modular once so far it’s simply because I like waiting till the end to say “told you so!”

Most site builders are still brushing off modular as some kind of lesser quality but in reality the opposite is true. Quality, sustainability, energy efficiency, predictability and having 75% of a home built offset and delivered just doesn’t seem that appealing to most site builders. The truth of it is the Millennial that can afford and desires a new SFH actually likes all those things. They watch YouTube, communicate with others socially and have learned more about modular construction than any previous generation before them.

Site builder are a hard bunch to convince to switch and with little or no training provided them by the modular housing industry many try one or two homes and go back to site building with all its faults. “The devil you know”

Building with modular construction is not like turning on the “modular” switch and everything works better, No, it’s a true method of construction that has to be learned and practiced.

It takes practice to become a good modular home builder and there are simply very few sources to learn how to do that.

The Modcoach mantra for becoming a good modular home builder is “Practice Makes Perfect”. If you’re a site builder that has given some thought to switching to modular or someone that wants to become a modular new home builder and can’t find anyone to help you, let me know and I’ll send you to websites and factories that will help.

Contact me at I promise I will get right back to you with some answers.

Monday, January 20, 2020

IBS, the Day Before Opening Day

The day before any major production happens is always some degree of organized chaos and that's what I found this morning in the South Hall of the International Builder Show here in Las Vegas. To think in less than 12 hours IBS will open its doors and all the exhibitors will have their booths complete and ready to go.

What struck me was the amount of prefabricated and modular parts every exhibitor uses. 

Hope to see you there tomorrow at the Express Modular Franchise booth (SU1236) where I would like to hear your thoughts on modular home construction, I'm there from 9:00 AM to Noon every day of the show. 

Is This Modular Construction’s Year at IBS?

How does one measure success at IBS? 

Is it the number of people simply attending something like IBS? If that is a criteria, I suppose getting over 100,000 construction people to come to Vegas for 3 days, walk a thousand miles visiting all the exhibitors and attending endless meetings, then this will certainly be a success. 

I have attended the International Builders Show quite often but never as an exhibitor, simply a member of the press. 

This year will be different. Express Modular Franchising asked me to attend the show as part of the team promoting one of the best things that could happen to the modular housing industry. A way for people to become entrepreneurs in what is becoming a very big part of both residential and commercial construction, MODULAR! 

If you would like to talk about what is happening in modular, stop by and chat.

Hopefully this will see a lot more exhibitors looking to show attendees their latest and greatest in what they can offer modular construction, or not. 

That is my mission for the next four days, meeting the exhibitors today while they are setting up their booths, trying to learn if they have been bitten by the modular bug or are they doing the same as past years. 

 I’m also going to be on the lookout for exhibitors using their booths to attract the modular industry crowd. 

In years past modular had houses in the parking lot set up with thousands of people tramping through them, all gushing over them but few, if any, sales that could be attributed to IBS. Very few modular factories including commercial modular have ever sent people to attend the show. Modular factories, especially in the East and Midwest have not been big proponents of IBS. 

So this year I will put on my Sherlock Holmes disguise and try to learn if this is the year modular construction becomes the star of the show or just another “Why should I go to IBS?” year. 

Hopefully it will be modular’s breakout year but only time will tell.

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!