Constellation HomeBuilder Systems to Introduce Game-Changing Industry Data Platform at Build Smarter Conference

Constellation HomeBuilder Systems to Introduce Game-Changing Industry Data Platform at Build Smarter Conference

Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, North America’s largest provider of homebuilding software and services, is set to reveal a new data platform that will allow builders to improve their operational insights while freeing up scarce data resources to add more value to their businesses.

With the Homebuilder Common Data Model, Constellation will be able to create a standardized set of industry metrics. By accessing the platform, homebuilders can then access highly valuable reporting, analytics, and dashboards, as well as benchmarks to compare their performance regionally. Many widely-used builder metrics, including backlogs, active selling communities, average sales price, net sales, and more, will be made available.

The platform is built to leverage Constellation’s popular construction ERP systems including NEWSTAR, BuildTopia, and FAST and to provide value across the industry.

“We’re thrilled to be able to share this important innovation with homebuilders,” said Paolo Benzan, Vice President, Data Strategy at Constellation HomeBuilder Systems.

“In this critical moment in the industry,” Benzan added, “Builders need access to timely, accurate, information and trends as they face higher costs across the board. With how expensive and hard to find data resources are, we’re proud to introduce this great way to capture insights while reducing your data footprint.”

A can’t-miss presentation of the Homebuilder Common Data Model is set for Constellation’s Build Smarter Conference. The event will be held in-person from Chicago, Illinois from November 7-9, 2022, with virtual streaming for Constellation customers available as well. The presentation will include a detailed walk-through of this new platform and the key data it will offer homebuilder finance, operations, sales, construction, and other teams. Attendees will see examples of benchmark data and learn the various options for accessing the information.

Chris Graham, President of Constellation HomeBuilder Systems, shared his excitement about this announcement. “With true industry expertise behind each of our solutions, we’re proud to be a top, cutting-edge partner to the homebuilding industry. We are committed to empowering builders with the information they need to simplify building processes and maximize return on investment.”

“With the Homebuilder Common Data Model,” Graham continued, “We are powering the industry to build smarter than ever at a time when its impact is needed most.”

 

About Constellation HomeBuilder Systems

Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is the largest provider of software and services in the building industry. Their innovative software solutions, available as standalone or integrated systems, empower builders with information to drive business objectives and simplify the process of building homes and condos. Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is the home building software division of Constellation Software Inc., an international provider of market-leading software and services for specialized industries, which is traded publicly on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For more information, please contact:

Elmira Abushayeva
Vice President of Marketing, Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
+1 (289) 859-4866
eabushayeva@constellationhb.com


How Can Homebuilders Differentiate Themselves

3 Ways Outstanding Homebuilders Differentiate Themselves Today

New home construction can be a little like riding a rollercoaster. The highs are exhilarating and make you feel like you’re on top of the world, but inevitably the lows follow along with a sense of foreboding and worry. Every homebuilder gets caught in this cycle at one time or another but the outstanding ones have learned how to navigate the ride.

The Secret

Top homebuilders understand that the secret to thriving in a construction environment is to increase efficiency and make every aspect of the homebuilding operation more productive. They need to differentiate themselves from the competition while making the company recession-proof.

Today’s challenging economic conditions, interrupted supply chains, and vendor shortages are testing even the most seasoned homebuilders. Outstanding builders create strategic plans that focus on the customer, quality and efficiency of building processes, while continually improving marketing and operating areas.

The Goal

The goal for every homebuilder is to get potential buyers to act. Standing out from the rest of the “builder field” takes more than just offering open floor plans, energy-saving features, and a new home warranty. Home buyers expect that you’ll offer those things and your competition will copy it. To differentiate your company from the others, you need to establish a brand that tells your unique story and a plan to get the message out.

So, how do you do that? Here are 3 ways you can put your company in the spotlight:

#1. Offer Unique Service/Product

Design Center software for homebuilders

If you’re a production builder that offers a few floor plans and options to keep prices down, it may be time to see what customers really want and will pay for.

  • Put together some pre-established option packages like a remote learning/workspace that has a built-in desk/workspace and includes a tech wiring package for high-speed internet, a router, and a monitor for convenient virtual meetings.
  • Or consider offering a home efficiency package that bundles a Nest thermostat, tankless water heater, and high-efficiency furnace/air conditioning.
  • Let your customers know that you care about their well-being by creating a Health and Wellness package that includes a state-of-the-art air purification system, antimicrobial countertops, increased window sizes for more natural light, and touchless appliances/faucets to reduce the spread of germs.
  • Set up a Design Center with professional interior design staff where customers can make all home selections with guidance. This will provide peace of mind and facilitate a faster selection process. Collaboration with vendors can improve product offerings and displays. This will provide the perfect opportunity to sell upgrades and possible rent contributions from vendors as an additional revenue stream.

To better implement personalized features without hurting your bottom line, consider adding construction estimating software. The benefits of construction management software are improved productivity, enhanced efficiencies, and streamlined operations. The estimating component can help your company find the most cost-effective items for personalized packages.

#2. Deliver on Your Promises

customer experience management software

You’re only as good as your customers say you are, so you must deliver on your promises. Building a home is a complicated process and can be intimidating to customers. Your company’s number one priority is to make the process as easy as possible. That doesn’t mean that it’s any less challenging to provide a well-crafted home of their dreams, but you must earn your customer’s trust. To do that, do what you say and say what you do.

There are a lot of moving parts, so problems occur—they can’t be avoided. The critical step is to communicate with your customer. Let them be part of the process. Help them understand what happened and what you’re going to do to correct it (and then do it.)

With so many delays due to supply chain issues and contractor shortages, the construction schedule may slip. Avoid over-using these reasons or they’ll start to sound like excuses. Instead, address the issue directly (don’t text or email) and respond to questions and concerns.

No matter what, abide by the terms of the contract, and deliver the home on time and on budget. Customer experience management software can provide the tools to keep your projects running smoothly. Use vendor management system software to ensure timely material ordering/deliveries, subcontractor scheduling, specification/selection implementation, and costs under control.

#3. Streamline Your Processes for Better Efficiency

BuildTopia Homebuilder ERP Software

This is your opportunity to differentiate your company from the pack and improve every aspect of your business. Construction management software for builders has built-in optimization tools to improve communication, reduce duplication and mistakes, plus strengthen accounting, scheduling, and staff collaboration.

Regardless of size, integrated software solutions provide greater operational efficiency. Most products offer ala cart components to customize a system that works for you quickly. Add extra modules to incorporate land development software, accounting, purchasing and estimating, sales management and CRM, production scheduling, marketing, warranty management software, homebuyer portal, and analytics reporting.

Full integration of construction Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system manages the entire company for a streamlined, multi-functional process. Differentiate your business from the competition while ensuring you’re on a path to continued growth and profitability.

Frequently asked question by home builders about construction management software is “Where do we start?”

Here are the related articles that can help you:

Want to address your specific needs and see how it can help to streamline your construction management operations?

Get in touch with our dedicated experts and request your personalized Demo.


Investing Into The Dip, Now Is A Good Time For Homebuilders To Prepare For What's Coming Next

WATCH: Join Steve Nellis, President/CEO of the American Council for Construction Education (ACCE) , Will Holder, Professor of Practice – Construction Science Management at Texas State, and technology and industry expert, Sean Wilhelm, Vice President at Constellation Homebuilder Systems as they discus this topic in depth.

The past few years in the homebuilding industry have been filled with many challenges triggered by the global pandemic.  Looking back at the start of these unprecedented times, many were fearful not only for their lives and the health of loved ones, but also that we were on the verge of an economic slowdown that could negatively affect the world for years.  Fast forward just a few months, by the summer of 2020, we learned of builders getting creative using technologies ranging from electronic signatures, online design studio software, 3 dimensional visualizers, and electronic fund transfer that helped to process a record number of home sales transactions.  The demand for new and existing home sales skyrocketed home prices in most major markets across North America.  What a remarkable shift that no one could have predicted.

New challenges

Knocking things down a peg, unforeseen supply chain issues triggered by lumber-mill and glue manufacturer shutdowns and the demand skyrocketing for materials for new construction, remodels, and DIY projects (which also saw record highs), homebuilders had a new challenge on their hands; how to build all of the homes that were sold and how to do it cost effectively.

We now brace for a return to normalcy with new challenges ahead.  With rising interest rates and inflation on everyone’s mind, a correction or slowdown in the market is unfortunately inevitable.  Record low interest rates and record high home sales for another 10 years simply isn’t sustainable.  All the data that we have seen so far for 2022 points to a return to home sales rates that are on par with pre-pandemic levels which was on a slow and steady increase from 2011 to 2019.  Not a bad place to return to in the grand scheme of things.

New opportunities

As we continue this journey, the silver lining is that we all have an opportunity to prepare return to where we were before our worlds were turned upside down.  Many companies have just been too busy over the past few years to move forward with their strategic projects that could ultimately improve operations and create efficiencies in their day-to-day tasks.  A slight slowdown in the market should provide organizations a chance to take full advantage of their existing technology solutions or invest in new and innovative ways to improve their businesses, realize cost savings, and improve profit margins.

If your organization hasn’t been thinking of ways to take advantage of these opportunities, the sky is the limit.  As the leading software solutions provider for homebuilders, we are here to partner with you.  Reach out to learn about the many new features in your existing solutions that you might have missed over the past few years … our development teams haven’t stopped innovating!  Talk to us about the new products, modules, and integrations that we have developed that can take your business to the next level.  Invest in custom reports or dashboards to eliminate the manual work your employees are doing each week and to learn more from your data.  Take this time to invest in training your staff to use all the modules and features you are already paying for.  Even small investments and projects are great ways to get the most out of your existing technology investment and will ultimately provide you with smoother running operations.


About Constellation HomeBuilder Systems

Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is the largest provider of software and services in the building industry. Their innovative software solutions, available as standalone or integrated systems, empower builders with information to drive business objectives and simplify the process of building homes and condos. Constellation HomeBuilder Systems is the home building software division of Constellation Software Inc., an international provider of market-leading software and services for specialized industries, which is traded publicly on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

For more information, please contact:

Sean Wilhelm
Vice President – Business Solutions Group, Constellation HomeBuilder Systems
+1 (410) 843-3881
swilhelm@constellationhb.com


Email Marketing Strategy and Tips for Homebuilders

With BuildTopia Marketing’s flexible email marketing templates and intuitive designer, it’s now easy for homebuilders to send emails that get responses.

Email marketing allows you to connect with your target audience to promote your brand, new homes and, or services to increase sales. Email marketing continues to be a powerful tool for homebuilders, they can advertise new home listings, share some news, and run customer surveys.

One of the challenges facing homebuilders today is that they lack the skills and expertise in-house to create professional-looking emails that get clicks. People receive more and more emails all the time, and it can be challenging to stand out in full inboxes. To overcome this challenge, you don’t need to hire skilled people, just use the right tool.

Spend thousands of dollars on complex marketing technologies. You need easy-to-use marketing software that is integrated with your existing CRM system, and the ability to successfully run it without the support of a large team of IT or Marketing professionals.

With BuildTopia Marketing’s campaign builder, it’s easy to find the right email templates for any message—whether you’re listing new homes, welcoming new homeowners, or simply sharing some news or your latest residential development.

How do I build an email list?

Building and maintaining an engaged subscriber list will give you the highest ROI, when it is made up of people who want to receive your messages – in other words, people who opted in on purpose. Although building a clean list can take more work at the outset of your email marketing strategy, to help you along the way BuildTopia Marketing allows you to create campaign audience lists based on practically any defined information you already have in your BuildTopia CRM.

There are lots of ways to build your email lists, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few that work best.

How to build an email list?

  • Create a signup form on your website. When people come to your website for the first time and are interested in the homes you are building, they’ll want a way to stay in the know about your brand. Simply create a form for newsletter signups next to your listings page to collect customer data from your visitors.
  • Use a good old-fashioned signup sheet. Whether it’s at your show house, design center, or an event that you’re hosting or attending. When you’re surrounded by people who are interested in what you do, provide the opportunity for them to sign up and learn more.
  • Gain signups through social media. If you have an engaged social media following, tap into that resource to see your email list grow. Share your signup form on your social channels.

Want to add more subscribers to an existing list?

  • Host a contest or offer a discount. Offering people an incentive to sign up for your email list—like a contest, works great. Try offering a discount code for a first-time buyer or a prize for some lucky new subscriber.
  • Make your emails informative and nice to share. When you create beautiful, compelling emails, with a lot of valuable information, such as “new home purchasing tips”, people will want to share them. BuildTopia Marketing gives you features that let the word about your emails spread quickly (like share buttons to forward emails and social media).
  • Build a referral program. Referral programs offer one more way to grow your email list. Using referral codes for subscribers to invite their own contacts for the chance to receive a reward for a successful sale, can drive email signups way, way up.

Email Design Tips

As the adage goes, “presentation is everything”. You only have one opportunity at a first impression, so we’ve compiled our best tips for homebuilders who want to send emails that subscribers click. Design is as much science as it is art, and by using BuildTopia Marketing’s ready-to-use email templates, we take the guesswork out of what can seem like the most challenging part of sending good emails.

Design Tip 1: Use a template or start from scratch

Sometimes it’s easiest to start from an existing template and make it your own. Select the starter template that best matches the layout you’d like to use, then use the drag and drop editor to add other content and apply colors and styles. Starting from scratch often leads to formatting headaches that can be avoided by modifying an existing template to suit your needs. Most importantly, instead of starting over every time you want to send an email, save this template you created so you can use and modify it again and again.

Design Tip 2: Brand recognition and continuity

Make sure the reader knows who the message is coming from by simply glancing at your emails. This can be achieved by putting your logo or company name at the top of the email, but also the colors you use. Be consistent. The fewer colors you use, the cleaner your design will look, which means the reader won’t be distracted from your message. Pick colors that your brand uses elsewhere and stick to just one or two colors for your emails.

Design Tip 3: Create a structure through hierarchy

Use headings and bulleted lists to divide content into sections that are easy to understand by putting the most important information first for people who are short on time and simply wish to scan through the content.

Design Tip 4: Use visual aids

Nobody likes reading a long, text-heavy email! Make a statement with beautiful photographical images.  When selecting photos to use, try paring down the color in the surrounding design to make the images the central focus. You don’t have to be a photographer to get professional quality photos. BuildTopia Marketing offers you numerous free stock images to choose from, or simply upload your own. Just make sure your images are sized correctly to avoid squishing or stretching and include only the most essential images to keep the email file size down.

Bonus Tip: Choose a font that matches your brand and keep body text size within the 14-16px range to keep it legible. Serif fonts tend to suggest sophistication, while sans serif fonts feel a little more casual. Arial font is a good middle ground. You can use a mix, but we recommend limiting your email to two fonts tops.

Design Tip 5: Keep your message concise

Some of the most effective emails have one clear message. If you have multiple messages to send, consider breaking them up into a series of emails instead and reduce the length of your email until you can simplify no more.

Design Tip 6: Prioritize content from top to bottom

Most people spend less than 10 seconds reading marketing emails, so keep it short and to the point, prioritizing your content from top to bottom and use plenty of white space to give your content some breathing room.

Bonus Tip: When it comes to aligning your content, centering work best if your content is minimal (for example, one large photo and just a few sentences). Left alignment works best if you have more content, it will make it more legible. To maintain harmony, always keep alignment consistent across the entire email.

Design Tip 7: Have clear Calls To Action

“Calls to Action” or simply CTAs, as the marketers refer to them, either link readers to external content or ask them to do something. You can link buttons, text or images. Just don’t include too many CTAs in one email or readers won’t know what to click. Keep CTAs clear and short, to tell them what they should do, using active language (for example: Buy Now or Sign Up).

How to improve your email deliverability

If your emails aren’t getting to your customers’ inboxes, then there’s a good chance that your email program needs some refreshing with these email deliverability tips.

What is email deliverability?

Deliverability measures how frequently your contacts receive your emails into their inbox. It’s 1 of the most important factors for email marketing success, as it’s the ultimate metric that everyone cares about because landing in the inbox is how your messages get opened.

Common email deliverability problems

There are several factors that might negatively impact email deliverability, including bad list quality, missing email authentication, or low engagement. Improving your email deliverability often starts with identifying what’s wrong, which can often be a combination of two or more of the above. Here is an attempt to simplify this:

  • Engagement rate – inbox providers (such as Gmail, Outlook, etc.) look at how users engage with the content of your emails. Open rates and click rates are both positive engagement signals that inbox providers will look at when determining where to send your emails.
  • Email list quality – Bad email list quality can cause deliverability problems. If too many of the recipients block your emails, your domain could end up on an email blocklist like Spamhaus, causing inbox providers to send your emails straight to the spam folder, if they accept your message at all.
  • Domain reputation – Blocklist providers and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) keep a list of spam traps – email addresses that aren’t operated by real users – that are designed to catch senders with poor sending practices. If your email domain ends up in on these databases, your emails will be blocklisted and won’t reach their intended destination.

Tips to improve your email deliverability

So, what can you do to ensure your emails end up in your subscriber inboxes? Here are a few tips:

  • Tip #1: Keep your mailing list up to date – Older mailing lists contain outdated, abandoned, and uninterested recipients that can have a negative impact on your email deliverability rates. Avoid the Spam folder by validating your subscriber emails regularly and removing inactive subscribers.
  • Tip #2: Have new subscribers verify their address – We’ve all mistyped our email address or perhaps we deliberately gave an incorrect email address to avoid being spammed. For a variety of reasons, it is important to request new subscribers to validate their email before being placed on your mailing list. The simple solution to verify the email address at the point of interaction using a double opt-in tool.
  • Tip #3: Adhere to subscribers’ expectations – Recipients’ expectations are at the heart of email deliverability. Don’t invade your subscribers’ inboxes with your content on a daily routine. It might improve your brand relevancy today, but will hurt your sender’s reputation in the long term. Why? Because these subscribers didn’t request to receive regular emails and may ignore the message, mark it as spam, or unsubscribe. ISPs will also pick up on this low engagement and downgrade your sender’s reputation, hurting your overall deliverability rate.
  • Tip #4: Monitor engagement metrics and spam complaints – One person may not care if they receive several reminders or new home offers from you, but another may protest about their full inbox. But how exactly do you know if your subscribers still want your communications and are engaging with them? Open and click-through rates, as well as unsubscribes and spam complaints, can help you understand whether your audience is finding your emails valuable or not. BuildTopia Marketing’s integration with Mailgun, ensures your emails reach their intended destination. This is made possible through using Mailgun’s proven sending infrastructure, IP warmup, reputation management and more.
  • Tip #5: Don’t attach PDFs to your emails – By attaching a PDF to your mail, you may think you’re making things easier for the intended recipient, but this could give yourself a one-way ticket to the spam folder and a lower delivery rate. Instead, offer a link to where it can be downloaded, and if they’re really necessary, find a way to send them within the body of your email. This leads to less spam and better deliverability.


Key takeaways

Email remains an incredible standout opportunity as a digital marketing channel for homebuilders looking to stretch their marketing dollars. With tools such as BuildTopia Marketing, sophisticated marketing technologies are now accessible to smaller builders offering them the power to engage with their audience on a higher level, and outperforms social in regard to reach, personalization and content value. In fact, it has the highest ROI of any marketing channel, typically with a 50–100 times higher click-through rate than Facebook and Twitter. For more information about BuildTopia Marketing, Click Here.


4 Things You Should Consider Before Buying a New Construction Management Software

In the second part of our software selection journey, we will look at what is most important when considering buying a new homebuilder management software to run your back-office operations. When comparing software platforms and vendors, it helps to employ a framework to ensure that your team emphasizes the correct areas of the search. It is best to consider this framework as levels of building a pyramid. The base levels of the pyramid are necessary to support the upper levels which are the true keys to success. Once you’ve established your internal operational needs, there are four key points to consider when evaluating a construction management software.

The 4 key considerations when evaluating construction management software for homebuilders

#1

Product

Does the software enable your company to meet the objectives outlined in your 5-year plan? While features and benefits are important in making a final decision, they should not influence the answer to this fundamental question. Software should help the organization achieve its goals rather than hinder them. Does it integrate/work with your Accounting Software?

With BuildTopia, a powerful cloud-based construction management software for residential home builders, you won’t have to spend time learning a whole new accounting system, you can simply continue using the software you prefer. This is due to BuildTopia’s seamless integration with popular construction estimating and accounting software for builders, like QuickBooks, Sage, and Microsoft

#2

Price

Consider how many homes you build in a year, then forecast the next five years. Determine how much you are willing to spend on the software for construction management – per home – and how you expect that platform to return your investment by increasing your operational efficiency and profitability. Consider the cost of software implementation, including computer hardware, software licensing, maintenance, and the time it will cost your team. Consider the cost of not implementing a construction project management software.

#3

Partner

When you choose a Homebuilder Management Software, you are also choosing a software company that will become a long-term partner in your company’s success. Ensure that your software vendor is stable and has the necessary resources to stay in business for the long run, is committed to improving its software by incorporating new technologies, capable of implementing and continuing to ensure that the software is used effectively throughout the organization by providing the desired levels of support and training for your team.

#4

People

Without skilled hands to operate it, even the most advanced and comprehensive Homebuilder Management Software platform is ineffective. Effective User Adoption is the key to any successful ERP software implementation. To ensure effective software adoption across the organization, every employee in your company must understand the importance of the software to the organisation’s bids, estimates, project scheduling, and cost management operations, not just in their department, but across the whole organization.

ERP software implementation

Now that you know what to look for when considering buying a new homebuilder management software, you can prepare your business for new tools and begin your journey to selecting the most suited construction management solution for your homebuilder needs in just four simple steps, as well as learn how to determine whether it meets your technology needs. In the third part of this five-part series, we’ll go over the first two steps to selecting and purchasing construction estimating and project management software.


home builder software

5 Benefits of Construction Management Software

While most homebuilders would acknowledge that they require a complete construction management software solution, many are still piecing together various spreadsheets and tools to handle their operational needs. In this 5-part series, we will provide you with guidance to select the right software solution that fits your needs. We will also demonstrate the features and benefits of construction management software and examine the keys to a successful implementation.

constellation homebuilder systems

What is construction management software, and why do you need it?

Construction management software is a tool designed to improve productivity, enhance efficiencies, and streamline the operations of residential builders. The software is more than a construction sales leads system, an accounting system, or a home production system: the true value of the software is in integrating all these business functions together. Residential construction companies approach homebuilding in many ways – all of which can be optimized through a comprehensive management system.

The 5 benefits of construction management software

360-degree operations view

Combining all pertinent information, such as billings, costing, labor, materials, committed costs, change orders, purchase orders, and profitability displayed in a single view, provides you with the insights needed to quickly identify anomalies, correct them, and make smarter business decisions.

Complete project life cycle management

Achieve project control and accuracy by having the ability to manage estimating, scheduling and purchasing from the beginning of a project to closeout. With the added benefits of workflow and document management that captures all completed activities, tasks, reviews, and approvals. It can compile real-time actual to estimate reporting, and ensure projects are completed on time and within budget.

Up-down and side-to-side reporting

It also measures the business effectively by reporting from the individual lot level to the community, division, and company level, including multi-company and joint ventures, and automated bank reporting for loan draws.

Integrate back office and field personnel

With fully integrated mobile and document management solutions, superintendents, trades, and vendors can perform complex tasks with ease, including schedule changes, invoices, and purchase orders.

A single version of the truth

Everyone is aligned across the business and has access to the same information. Every number entered in the software reconciles and is the same across all functional areas of the business, from accounting to sales to project management.

Laying the groundwork

Understand YOUR own unique requirements for Homebuilder Management Software before speaking with software companies or watching a single software demonstration. It is important to identify what your five-year goals are, and how software tools will help you achieve them. Keep this in mind as you set off on this journey. This software will serve as the foundation for all your company’s future business operations. In the second part of this five-part series, we will look at the 4 key considerations when evaluating a construction management software.


5 Straightforward Improvements Construction Companies (Really) Need Now

 

The real estate market is experiencing a boom nationwide with inventory in the 50 largest U.S. metro areas down by 51% and homes spending an average of 20 fewer days on the market in April 2021 over April 2020, according to Realtor.com®. In nearly every market I visit, I hear stories about how low – or even non-existent – the resale market is, so new construction is often the only game in town for buyers that need to make a life change. Residential construction has been under-supplied for years, and it will take years for us to build enough inventory to meet natural demand.

While there is a huge opportunity right now, lead times for nearly all building components are on extended time frames. Most of the industry is adapting by shortening buyer change periods and placing orders well in advance, but you can ease the strain further with excellent communication, creative thinking, and by streamlining business processes.

Here are five business improvements every builder should consider:

 

  1. Keep in regular communication with trade partners and buyers.

You can’t sit back and wait to hear from your trade partners during a shortage. Stay in constant communication, so they can keep you notified of current timelines and so you can notify them of your needs. Share your regional starts schedules and preliminary purchase orders at the time of contract to give as much time as possible. By implementing these practices proactively, you can limit exposure to uncertainty around lumber and appliances.

Buyers are fully informed on the frenzy that is occurring in new construction and understands the implication. Be candid and accurate in the delivery dates you quote, and buyers will understand. Many builders are offering creative solutions, too. For example, some builders are installing temporary loaner appliances to avoid delaying closings.

“Be candid and accurate in the delivery dates you quote, and buyers will understand.”

 

  1. Join a network.

Builders with significant buying power with manufacturers and trade partners are receiving priority treatment. If you are a smaller builder, seek out opportunities that increase your buying power by joining a network of other builders working in similar spaces. Most markets have established buying groups that charge an initiation fee and then retain a portion of manufacturer rebates to generate revenue for the administrator of the group. Franchising is also a great opportunity to increase buying power, as franchisees are able to consolidate the buying power of the franchisees to negotiate preferred supplier pricing and rebate programs that go directly to the owners of each franchise.

 

  1. Standardize your product line.

Builders that have standardized floor plans and specifications across their plan collection are more insulated from the materials issues. Settle on a handful of window models across your entire portfolio. Work with your engineer to provide consistency in your construction drawings so that you are ordering only the most common types of engineered wood. Simplify your floor plans so that framers can work through your jobs quickly, instead of designing odd corners or exterior details. Too often, builders don’t view their job sites as a manufacturing facility and don’t appreciate the need for trade partners to see consistency from house to house.

 

  1. Raise prices cautiously.

With interest rates persisting at such low levels, buyers are able to absorb higher prices to cover the cost increases you are facing. For example, we have raised prices several times in the last six months while still seeing record sales. Each of these increases, though, was moderate and just covered our cost increases. Builders should not think the price ceiling is unlimited and, instead, work on modest increases to maintain desired margins.

While these supply chain issues and inflation pressures are certainly affecting smaller builders more than larger builders, all builders are dealing with it to some degree. These concerns will likely last into 2022, so there is time to make the necessary adjustments. With demand being so strong – and expected to continue – the need to build collective buying power and standardize the offering is a long-term discipline that will reap benefits for the long term.

 

  1. Streamline your processes through fully integrated business software.

From the construction site to your office, construction management systems help facilitate good communication, reliable scheduling, and effective budgeting. While hiccups are inevitable, cloud-based software can minimize errors and delays. Automation empowers builders, customers, and trade partners at every stage of the building process, creating positive experiences across all collaborating parties.

Several of Epcon’s Franchise Builders use Constellation HomeBuilder System’s user-friendly construction management platform to manage their projects towards timely deliveries that are within budget. Systems such as theirs streamline and optimize business processes through integrated accounting practices, automated workflows, and a centralized portal where customers can access information. The entire production pipeline is managed from start to end, with financial projections, customizable reports, and clear analytics. Empowering your team with a fully integrated business management tool will reap benefits for years and give you an edge over many of your competitors in the highly fragmented homebuilding industry.

 

Disclaimer: The offer of a franchise can only be made through the delivery of a Franchise Disclosure Document. Certain jurisdictions require registration prior to the offer or sale of a franchise. We do not offer franchises in jurisdictions where we are not registered (or exempt from registration). Epcon Communities Franchising, Inc. 500 Stonehenge Parkway, Dublin, Ohio 43017. Minnesota Franchise Registration No. F-3531.


Reasons why a Homebuilding Management Software is the most powerful tool in your toolbox than a Point Solution

 

Homebuilder Management Software is a tool designed to improve productivity, enhance efficiencies, and streamline operations for a residential construction company. It is so much more than a sales system or an accounting system or a home production system:
the true value of the software is in linking all these business functions together.

What is a Homebuilder Management software not?

 

  • A Standalone Software System
    Homebuilder Management Software is more than just a single software system such as estimating, project management, or warranty management.
    While these systems offer software to complete a specific task, or set of tasks, they lack integration with the other functional business areas.

  • A System that only benefits one department
    While certain departments may benefit from Homebuilder Management Software more than others, the goal is to improve the
    business overall. A more streamlined and efficient business tends to increase productivity and profit, as well as improve employee and customer satisfaction.

  • A Short-term solution
    Homebuilder Management Software is not something you buy or use as needed, rather it is a complete solution that becomes the lifeline of your business. With the ability to automate and integrate the functional areas of any
    residential construction business, Homebuilder Management Software quickly becomes a solution that is heavily relied upon.

 
homebuilding-software-vs-point-solutions
 

Benefits of Homebuilder Management Software

  • One Dashboards, 360-Degree View
    All pertinent information, including all billings, costing, labor, materials, committed costs, change orders, purchase orders and profitability is displayed in a single view.
    Drill down on each item to find and correct anomalies quickly and efficiently.

  • Integrate Back Office and Field Personnel
    With fully integrated mobile and document management solutions, superintendents, trades
    and vendors can perform complex tasks with ease, including schedule changes, invoices and purchase orders.

  • Report Up-Down and Side-to-Side
    Measure the business effectively by reporting from the individual lot level to the community, division, and
    company level, including multi-company and joint ventures, and automated bank reporting for loan draws.

  • Single Version of Truth
    Everyone is aligned across the business and has access to the same information. Every number entered into the software reconciles
    and is the same across all functional areas of the business from accounting to sales to project management.

  • Complete Project Life-cycle Management
    From the beginning of project, manage estimating, scheduling and purchasing. Workflow and document
    management enables capturing all completed activities, tasks, reviews and approvals, compiling real-time actual to estimate reporting, ensuring projects are completed on time and on budget.

 

Let Constellation help you chose the homebuilder management software solution that is right for your business

These are just a few examples of the benefits of adopting modern homebuilding software and services, and how it can help you simply the entire home buying process. By utilizing
Constellation HomeBuilder Systems Software and Services Ecosystem you’ll ensure you’re always an industry leader.  

If you want to get started with fully integrated systems and standalone solutions for builders, vendors, developers, and buyers, schedule a demo now.


How Digital Technology Helped Home Builders During the Pandemic

 

If you know these proverbs about change: “If it isn’t broke don’t fix it”, “Why change something that’s always worked?”, “Don’t improve what’s efficient.” – the list goes on and on.

Other than the Homebuilding industry can you name an industry that adapted to technology more slowly?

What happens when industries don’t change? They became obsolete.

Still it nearly took a global pandemic for the homebuilding industry to go digital!

 

Digital trends for home builders

Pre pandemic contractors or homebuilders that felt a little hesitant about adopting or fully embracing new technology have had to adapt fast. They now agree they are seeing the benefits.

Saying that construction software and cloud-based platforms have revolutionized the entire construction process
during the pandemic is an understatement.

  • Communication has been streamlined: Cloud-based software houses all communications, proposals, CRM’s, and more in one single location.
  • Cost control and budgets are better managed: Utilizing construction software ensures home builders meet their target budget.
  • Internal team communication has never been easier – whether you’re a trade, vendor, a home builder or in corporate management, you’re able to get valuable insight on all your current projects in real-time.

Even so it almost took a global pandemic for the homebuilding industry to quickly learn how the right software makes the difference.

 

Keeping an eye on your ROI

With so many changes in the last year it’s important to take a step back and assess your results.

Growing companies need to optimize productivity, visibility, and collaboration in order to maximize revenue.

Big Question: How do you know what platforms are providing you with the highest ROI?

Through using online platforms that are built and track internal metrics, you can easily push operational efficiency throughout scheduling, estimating, and purchasing through to sales management and CRM’s and also include websites and digital
marketing.

Evaluating your tasks’ ROI’s helps you determine which practices and platforms work best for your company and which ones can be retired.

Find out how our homebuilding software and solutions can provide you with the highest ROI

 

How Technology Is Impacting The Home Buying Process

If we’re already buying everything online, why should purchasing a home be any different? Since social distancing has become the new norm -- voluntary or not -- technology is more important than ever. Or is it?

From virtual open houses to contactless home inspections and never-ending Zoom meetings, how we approach the home-buying process post-pandemic has changed. GONE are the days of opening and closing every door to ensure they don’t rub or squeak
to knocking on neighbors’ doors for a friendly conversation during the due diligence phase and running our hands over every surface, checking for hidden repairs during our final inspection.

Real estate is quickly becoming a digital asset.

In the coming decade don’t be surprised if you see real estate sales taking place entirely online, iBuying growing in popularity
or properties being sold for cryptocurrencies.

Remember it wasn’t that long ago when real estate agents had to drive to get all the signatures.

 

Let Constellation help you bridge the gap between Homebuilding & Technology

These are just a few examples of the benefits of adopting modern homebuilding software and services, monitoring platform ROI and how technology is impacting the home buying process. By utilizing Constellation
HomeBuilder Systems Software and Services Ecosystem you’ll ensure you’re always an industry leader.

If you want to get started with fully integrated systems and standalone solutions for builders, vendors, developers and buyers, schedule a demo now.


Top Strategies & Technologies for Multi-Family Home Builders

Improve your Multi-Family development process, construct the right mixed complex project for your land, and manage your construction effectively. 

As a multi-family home builder, you understand the extra amount of back-office technology, time and resources needed to bring a multi-family production to market. Whether it is a high-rise condominium or a community of town-homes, managing all aspects of the production is critical to attracting modern buyers to your multi-family project and will ultimately allow you to offer a high-quality condo or unit at a reasonable price.

Research Your Land Options & Maximize Your Project Construction Potential

The building process begins with land development. Due to the increased complexity of bringing a multi-family complex to market, homebuilders should always compare various plots of land prior to the purchase. Factors to consider include the location of the community, its surroundings, and which possible project styles can be developed with the unique attributes of each plot of land.

Homebuilders should be looking at the various ways product design can be optimized to improve the quality of life for homeowners in addition to how profitable the project can be when the community goes up for sale. For example, if you have a land option by a body of water with a nice view, consider optimizing your project design to include a high-rise portion, this way, you can offer a premium value add-on to the high-rise suites by charging extra for the units with a view. If you are considering a rural area, perhaps offering townhomes to allow for more living space for prospective buyers that are families might be a better option since families tend to enjoy more space.

Don’t leave the process of planning the development to chance, you should always leverage tools that allow you to compare building scenarios based on the types of land available against the profitability of the construction type. This ensures that you are purchasing the right land for your business goal, creating an estimate of which construction project is possible on the land, and forecasting how profitable the project will be if you acquire the land.

Make Informed Decisions Through Integrated Accounting

Your accounting team should have clear oversight. Your accounting division should become preemptive regarding company purchasing & costs of resource acquisition and construction. They should be able to forecast profits from the sales opportunities existing in the company pipeline as well as project profits from upgrade offerings sold in your multi-family projects.

All your business functions and processes should tie back into your accounting department. When this process shift occurs, decision makers at your building firm will begin to understand clearly each of their department success metrics, and how to be more efficient to ensure the company meets pre-determined goals. Sales teams will become results driven, your construction team will become time sensitive, and your purchasing team can become more strategic about how they acquire assets for construction. Ultimately, this efficiency in your build process will allow you to offer the suite or unit at a reasonable price while securing your forecasted profit.

Establish a Dynamic and Profitable Operation at your Multi-Family Sales Centers

Making the needed sales records and upgrade revenue is critical to the bottom line for the multi-family project profitability. But multi-family homebuyers often expect special amenities, this is especially true with high-rise productions where homebuyers are still investing large sums in their mortgages for a shared community. Also, décor studio management is a trending must for builders and it could potentially become complicated as the number of units increases in multi-family production in comparison to a single-family project.

Implementing a tight-knit process amongst your sales and décor studio staff is a critical element to the multi-family puzzle. Visiting sales centers has become a ritual for the modern home buyer. Prospects expect to be in awe when they enter a sales center and they want to see the various unit options, amenities and upgrades that are available. Implementing a sales and décor management solution that allows homeowners to create their dream space while still allowing you, the builder, to commit to those upgrades in your build cycle, is key. Your sales and décor management software should digitize the sales an upgrade selections process. It should allow builders and their homebuyers to focus on the experience of enjoying the product offering inside and out instead of being too overworked with paperwork and product catalogues.

To hear a panel of design studio experts and homebuilders discuss décor center management technology trends, watch “The All NEW Design Studio Experience” recording.

Select a system that showcases all your available suites/units for sale in real time, your system should allow your décor agents to link upgrade packages to a homebuyer’s contract and seamlessly drive that data from the sales center to the job site where construction has every detail needed to deliver these upgrades. After all, if there is one thing that should be autonomous and accurate is the process between sales to construction.

Manage More Deficiency Requests while Optimizing Your Customer Experience

If you are a home builder considering the production of a multi-family project, be aware that you will be catering to more homebuyers since you would be building upwards as well as outwards. How can home builders manage deficiencies or warranty requests in large amounts? The secret can be found in homeowner portal technology, perfect for multi-family projects and popular amongst condominium property managers. These portals allow homeowners to self-serve their warranty needs directly with the product vendor – and can issue claims through the portal anytime, anywhere via mobile. This eliminates long hours on the phone and standardizes the way builders manage and fix homeowner deficiencies. After all, a modern multi-family project needs all the smart features and technology that will enhance your home quality and still prove to be helpful in managing large amounts of warranty requests the modern way.

The Verdict

If you are interested in an integrated solution for your next multi-family project, feel free to contact us. Learn more about NEWSTAR’s capabilities for multi-family productions. Whether you are an existing Constellation customer or a home builder, find out how NEWSTAR can support multi-family builders in various building functions.

 

Source – The Many faces of Multi-Family


Proven Strategies to Dominate the Customer Experience Space

Customer experience leaders weigh in on the best methods for tracking and improving the homeowner experience. 

When 87% percent of home builders expect to earn new business through word of mouth referrals, excellent customer experience is not only a company attribute, it’s a success metric.

The homeowner journey is the logical and emotional perception your buyers and homeowners have of you during the sales, construction, the home closing process, and long into home ownership. This means that customer experience is a team effort that needs to be planned and measured for effectiveness with your sales teams, your construction teams, your internal members and your warranty agents.

Understanding Your Homeowners at Critical Moments

Every company handles surveys and uses that information to learn more about themselves, their brand, and the product. Homeowner surveys are excellent ways to understand the complex and long process of bringing a home to market from the customers’ eyes. Customer experience professionals recommend at least 3 surveys: a survey during the construction process, a survey a few days after the home closing day, and a survey 1 year after home closing.

The reasoning behind this is simple, the survey during construction is set to understand the worries homeowners might have about the plan for construction and your company’s overall sales performance. A survey after home possession is far more accurate than the day of home closing since it illustrates a genuine critique untainted by the excitement of getting their new home.  The final survey is set far into the future after home closing, to get the homeowner thinking about you collectively and about how you handle warranty claims. By gauging your homeowners at the moments where they are most vulnerable, you can expect to get a true reflection of how your organization handles those key home building milestones critical to production. The image below helps illustrate the varying levels of homeowner satisfaction throughout their journey. Advanced home builders are indeed measuring their success by the weakest links in their process where the homeowners are most vulnerable.

homeowner Journey

Analyzing your Customer Care Performance and Automating Processes

All team members should work together with the goal of “making your homeowners dreams a reality”. As a company, track and learn from comments in the surveys discussed earlier to gauge your employees. Great comments should be celebrated, and negative comments should be learned from and used as motivation for future sales and interactions. As leadership, making customer experience a discussion or a “nice to have” in your company culture isn’t enough. You need to implement a quantifiable way of measuring each members performance through the customer satisfaction surveys, as well as reward the key performers by giving them a higher stake financially within your company based on that performance. Instead of rewarding sales representatives who bring new business, realize all employees act as facilitators of the business relationship with homeowners. After all, your homeowners are likely interacting with many team members outside of your sales team.

Giving your team members the right tools to serve customers is also crucial, the right to earn a homeowner’s referral is fermented long after the home is sold, built or owned. Homes today carry a hefty price and therefore homeowners mandate the builder be involved in fixing it for cases that are related to its manufacturing. Leaders in customer experience are known to have implemented technology solutions such as online homeowner portals for assistance with warranty claims. Popular with developers in the high-rise condominium business due to the volume of potential warranty claims in a smaller setting compared to a residential neighborhood, the concept can also be applied to detached communities and everything in between. Homeowner portals not only simplify your organizational method for warranty but also allow you to help your homeowners to help themselves first with an online manual.

Competing in Customer Experience

A little healthy competition doesn’t hurt! Getting together with your peer builders is an excellent way to exchange ideas and to further understand the different techniques home builders are using to make their clients’ dreams come true. The CustomerInsight Home Owner Mark of Excellence Award is an event that allows homeowners to publicly assess their builders and trades and recognize the best of the best. Although a company should strive to improve amongst itself, awarding the best of the best allows builders to share ideas, celebrate wins, and provides an industry benchmark to aim for year over year.

The Mark of Excellence Home Awards

The H.O.M.E. Awards is an annual competition that celebrates excellence in home ownership experience. Each year, the industry’s top home builders and trade partners are honored by their customers at this prestigious event. Winners of these awards are builders who strive to not only build beautiful homes for their customers but to ensure the best possible experience every step of the way. These builders represent excellence in both products and services in the residential building industry. The Awards are named after those who matter most, the Home Owners.

Click below to attend this red carpet event and learn more about customer experience with your peers in home building.


Top 4 Homebuilding Topics to Consider for 2019

The residential housing market is healthy, but there will be obstacles during 2019. Prices for new homes may be slowing but there still will be a great opportunity for home builders with the right strategy for the upcoming year based on what builders have learned from 2018.

Residential home builders and developers learned many great lessons in 2018. News headlines suggest that new home prices are declining but the market will still be competitive going into 2019. Coupled with advances in technology, the labor shortage affecting all blue-collar industries, and new emerging trends in home building – builders have many topics to consider for the coming year. Read the top 4 topics builders will face in 2019 and what builders need to know about them to prepare.

A Strong Building Process Will Be Paramount

In a thriving market, home builders may feel safe that their products are a sure sell, but as prices begin to cool and competition rises – you can bet your market competition is coming up with new ways to bring on new homeowners. Whether it is perfectly aligned construction schedules to maximize building efficiency or a customer experience that will have homeowners referring you to their friends and family, expect technology to become part of the solution. With a tight process, expect homebuilders to become more scientific with the way they do business, reports will become their best tool under their belts. For example, for your sales team – tracking monthly new home sales and upgrade sales by each sales representative could make for a competitive company culture. In regards to bidding and purchasing, perhaps establishing a report on costs for resource versus the cost of production could allow you to make better decisions when selecting vendors for your homes’ materials. In accounting, a high-level dashboard report for projected revenue could also become a critical tool for executives to understand the overall company performance. Assigning metrics to each building functions role will become paramount as home building processes take a methodical transformation, with home production optimization comes growth for the builder.

For the complete guide on selecting and growing your building firm through integrated management software, read the complete “Homebuilder E-Guide: Selecting Management Software”.

Labor Shortages – Getting Creative During Construction

Construction and scheduling trades are critical phases in a home builders’ job. It is what brings homes to market for homeowners. The current state of affair for builders is finding the right trades who are committed and fair in terms of their compensation. Due to the lack of interest from millennials in the trades and their higher educational qualifications in comparison to their parents (baby boomers), expect the labor shortage to last a while unless the societal outlook changes on blue collar labor. Expect pre-fabricated housing to emerge as a staple supply chain asset for homebuilders. Manufacturing companies have already come into market and operate as factory line warehouses that manufacture the different parts of homes. The home frame, roof, panels, and decks will all become manufactured offsite and shipped to the lot for assembly. The role of operations managers and superintendents will become more paramount as their role becomes more logistics based than technical in terms of managing home builds.

Interior Customization and Home Upgrades

Interior décor and amenities for new home buyers have become the new expectations from building firms. Home buyers desire the experience of going to a home builders sales office and choosing the different finishes to customize their home interior. Managing these décor appointments also is proving to have taken an interesting turn for 2019. We are seeing many new technologies appearing in design studios, virtual reality has been a tool to showcase alternate finishes to homeowners, we are seeing tablets and mobiles used for quick spec lookups on products. Even the main process has become automated, the focus is now on homeowners and their wishes. As interior décor catalogues become digitized, digital product libraries are helping builders serve contracts to homeowners quicker than ever.

For the complete guide on design studio trends developing in the residential homebuilding industry, read “Top 2019 Design Studio Trends for Homebuilders”.

Navigating a Lucrative Market in 2019

Although the headlines regarding real estate costs are telling us there will be a slowdown in the housing market, the market itself is steady and great for business. There are few factors at play here, Americans are generally feeling good with their job security, the employment to builder permit ratio is above average across the country, and millennials are also entering the homebuyer market and surprisingly choosing to move farther out from the main city’s and selecting smaller entry-level homes in comparison to their parents, the baby boomers. The vacancies in trade jobs have allowed trades professionals to capitalize on the job crater. This intern is driving up costs for builders and ultimately home buyers. Although prices and new homes sales are decelerating don’t expect the market to collapse! During a market like this one, it is time to consider all facets of the business of home building. Customer experience is no longer optional but an edge that will determine which builders gain control of the various markets. Process becomes crucial and the technology driving it as time becomes of the essence during construction, the lack of skilled labor will also pose a choice for builders as their trade base evolves to include wholesale building material manufacturers. One thing can definitively be said, this market will require creativity and commitment to all facets of home building.

For 2019 residential market statistics and opinions from building executives – watch the webinar on “2019 Industry Predictions and Building Trends”.

 

The Verdict

The market is healthy for homebuilders but there will be challenges along the way. Regardless of the challenge, whether it is dialling in a steady construction process, optimizing building strategies to bypass the lack of available trades, or optimizing your customer experience and product selection to cater to the wishes of homeowners. Builders will need to get creative in the business, embrace innovation and technology, and keep homeowners at the forefront of everything they do.

Sources - Why Millennials are Not Interested in Trade Jobs