Category Archives: New Features

The 2018 Builder 100 List: How the 10 fastest-growing public builders found success after “The Great Recession”

Recent findings show we are close to reaching the all-time high in the home building industry in terms of the number of homes sold when comparing the numbers from a decade ago, before “The Great Recession”. In 2007, we had a record high in home closings of 389,902 units in comparison to 2017 with 326,984.

The numbers are a sure sign of a healthy growth year over year, especially after one of the worst market crashes since the great depression. We have explored the past decade in providing hundreds of home builders with mission-critical integrated software solutions.

We found that many of the Top 10 fastest growing public companies listed on the Top Builder 100 list not only leveraged Constellation’s software but also shared a common theme when it comes to business operations during recession recovery.

They Doubled Down on Resources in a Down Market

As company growth stalls, builders invested back into their communities to produce more homes and tried to be mindful of their bidding strategies. As the recession hit the housing market, so did all other resource assets related to infrastructure. Builders tightened up their budgets and running costs to invest in the long term. Although this has not been a complete comeback, 2017 did see higher revenues in the homes sold to due to a rise in the average home price as demand is also rising and home builders were more willing to innovate with their products for higher margins. Last year saw $133 billion in revenue versus $123 billion from 2007.

Managing a Tight Market with Automation & Innovation

With limited internal support, growing builders turned to cost-cutting strategies that streamline processes on the job site, that eliminated manual work in the back office, and provided insightful reports for better decision making – this became a necessity for every real estate investment after the recession. Many growing builders stayed afloat by spending less time administrating tasks and more time on strategy. They also leveraged software at any given opportunity, time became of the essence in investing in real-estate. Builders waited for key pockets of metropolitan neighborhoods close to a bigger builder’s community to ensure buyers would come. Builders constantly assessed and reassessed plots of land, they integrated accounting into all their business functions for increased financial analytics, scheduling became the law of these firms as any building errors were simply too much to pay for.

Simultaneously, as precision home building became more and more automated, design center upgrades became a trend. New homeowners wanted personalization from production home builders. With integrated décor centers, home builders were able to offer up “premium” finishes to home interiors that improved margins without sacrificing too much building time. Some builders have even integrated their contract addendums to their homeowner’s selections for real-time data on profits and capital costs of each home.

Also try, “Top 5 Builder Tips for Efficient Décor Centers to Drive ROI” for improved design center appointments.

Rebuilding Teams with Goals and Effective Processes in Mind

As the housing downturn affected where people worked, home builders carefully restructured their companies with key talent that understood the company’s deliverables and goals. Key members were usually sales driven and understood the necessity of streamlined processes. This new generation of builders figured out that the old way of building needed to change as new technical solutions became available, with data and metrics injected into the workplace culture of building companies. Accountability to achieve financial success was heightened, while streamlined process left more time for home product innovation.

The Verdict

The fastest-growing public home builders today are where they are because they believed in their trade. During the recession, they doubled down where they saw fit and planned for future developments. They invested in automation technology and best practices that became cost-effective ways of completing the same task with less effort. They also innovated but did so in accordance with what they can afford by measuring, tracking, and budgeting. Overall, home builders chose to innovate and offer better homes than before by rebuilding their company culture around goal setting and improved workflows.

The Housing Leadership Summit

At this year’s Housing Leadership Summit, we are proud to be supporting Hanley Wood and “Top 200” builders as a gold event sponsor. We are happy to announce that builders can now anticipate and maximize productivity with the latest advanced home building technology. From artificial intelligence to the design studio, access real-time business predictions so you can focus on improving all aspects of your work processes. We look forward to meeting all top thinking builders at this year’s event.

Source

“The Great Recession: Builders Look Back” by Jennifer Goodman | Builderonline.com

“The 10 Fastest-Growing Public Builders” by Hanley Wood Data Studio, Charlotte O’Malley | Builderonline.com

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It’s a visual world – develop your product from the inside out

This content was co-written in collaboration with Kim Bianchi, leading Décor Studio Manager at OPUS Homes

A home is where memories are made; where homeowners spend time with friends and family. These moments are the backdrop of a successful builder. Your buyers are increasingly sharing experiences online with builders for better or for worse. Social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and increasingly Houzz – are all giving homeowners a precise picture of the final product and service you are offering. Make your homes visually appealing – your builder product and brand will speak volumes in the market. What strategies are you taking to ensure your décor centre is assisting company growth?

Tip 1: Customize homes without sacrificing growth

Offer your homeowners the ability to add the final touches to their home’s interior. Do this in moderation. Successful builders understand that building custom homes from the ground up is contrary to scale. Allowing your homeowners to choose their interior selections involves you spending personal time with homeowners, allowing for interior finishes means you can increase the valuation of your homes sold. This too can be an opportunity and a differentiator amongst builders looking to secure a “premium” builder brand.

Tip 2: The homeowner is always right – interior décor demand is a sales opportunity

Customers need confident validation from the builder that interior décor is the right option for their investment. The trick to interior décor as a builder is to position the design studio experience as an educational session on their home. By now, if your customer is considering décor finishes, they must have already selected a house model. Ensure that your décor appointments follow guidelines of what fits best with their selected product. Smart builders give enough choices to their homeowners while strategically controlling what’s possible for each type of home model in terms of installation. Builders are also implementing online design portals based on each homeowners style and capabilities within the each selected home.

Tip 3: Get personal at décor appointments – ditch the paperwork and go digital

Décor Studio Manager, Kimberly Bianchi of OPUS Homes shares the value of an integrated design centre solution. “Design Studio Manager is easily customizable for our growing décor selections. The software provided us with an efficient and logical workflow for our appointment sessions”. OPUS Homes clients have the opportunity to access an online portal, before meeting with Bianchi to complete their décor selections, where they can view available finishes options for their particular model of home and save any “wish list items” to be further discussed the day of the appointment.  Bianchi carries a tablet around the décor studio which allows her to be mobile with her clients while she educates them on their finishing options.  She is logged onto the design agent portal and utilizes it as a tool to guide the homeowner through the décor studio’s product library. Each client takes home a detailed document of all selections added. This method provides OPUS Homes with meaningful real-time data. In the future, Bianchi is excited to implement the floor plans module which allows for digitally integrated redline floor plans that communicate back to NEWSTAR for drafting contract addendum items.

Tip 4: Integrate décor appointments to all your departments

Great software ultimately should ensure customization in a manner that is logical, that brings efficiency out of décor appointments and integrates the customer data to all other departments. OPUS Homes design studio software pushes the data out to their accounting platform for updated production costs, warranty information is logged for interior selections for possible future claims, trades are also notified and their schedules are customized so the interior selections can enter the home after the initial build so there are no damages. It is always costly when materials are installed incorrectly or worse, products must be destroyed and re-added if critical infrastructure is yet to be set up.

Tip 5: Join the décor studio expert panel on modern design studio appointments

Hear from builders how new technology is improving the design studio experience. We are hosting a free webinar with a panel of sales, marketing and design studio managers will discuss how Design Studio Manager has transformed their customer’s experience of the design studio, as well as preliminary impacts on sales of options and upgrades.

WHY: Hear 3 Builders Share The NEW Design Studio Experience

WHEN: April 25, 2PM EDT / 11 AM EDT

Register NOW

The Verdict

Interior customization in moderation can make you a more profitable builder if integrated correctly, reap higher margins and position your product as premium in the market. The right software allows options available for the homeowner that is pre-established for each home model. The right system allows your homeowner to get creative and become part of your building team. Select software that showcases your selections in a logical order that reflects the building process once the interiors are ready to enter the home. Finally, Your décor software should tie all departments back to everything that occurred at the décor centre. Accounting should have an accurate amount of the home price, the warranty department needs the selections information logged in case of future incidents, and trades need their schedules set out in accordance with the selections and the building process. Homeowners expect high-end products, a standardized décor studio process is key to meeting this demand.

Source: Custom Builder Talks Design Centers and Trends That Sell | Builderonline.com – Leah Demirjian

Posted in Best Practices, Blog, Case Study, Customer Story, Events, Media Coverage, New Features, NEWSTAR | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

 

Conasys Inc.

Today we are proud to announce the acquisition of Conasys Inc., a market-leading technology company whose interactive homeowner care platform helps homebuilders to nurture relationships with their homebuyers as they ease into their new home. We welcome the Conasys team to the Constellation HomeBuilder Systems family!

“At Constellation, we strive to provide our clients with technology that will enhance their business and customer relationships. The Conasys homeowner care platform is a perfect example of that,” says Chris Graham, Vice President of Constellation HomeBuilder Systems. “Conasys is the industry’s benchmark – a testament to their commitment to innovation.”

Conasys will continue to operate and grow out of its Vancouver offices, and will continue to develop and enhance its existing product line, which includes web portals for homeowners and builders. The platform allows builders and developers to provide their new home and condominium buyers with an engaging, easy-to-use portal to instantly access the information they need. Constellation welcomes all Conasys customers and will continue to provide world-class solutions and services as a long-term technology partner in the homebuilding industry.

“For us, this acquisition is of incredible significance” says Jerry Bauer, CEO of Conasys. “Being acquired by the largest technology partner in our industry validates the direction we have taken our platform, but more importantly it will also allow us to accelerate our product innovation and market penetration.”

Constellation is your homebuilding software partner, and our team is excited by this opportunity to enhance the software solutions we provide to builders and developers across North America.

 

About Conasys: Conasys Inc. is a forward-thinking technology company whose cloud-based homeowner care platform is designed specifically for new homebuilders and developers. Their industry-leading platform includes homeowner and builder specific portals that provide instant access to detailed unit-specific home information. Each portal includes a suite of efficiency and communication tools designed to enhance the understanding, service, maintenance, and management of individual homes and condos.

Media inquiries: Lauren Hughes

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The HomeDev Pro Customer Portal provides your discerning custom home buyers with access to schedules, documents, warranties and more, keeping them informed and engaged throughout the build cycle. Now we’ve updated the HomeDev Pro Customer Portal with options selections and change orders to further engage your customers in the construction of their perfect home.

HomeDev Pro Customer Portal with Options Selections

SELECTIONS

Customers can now view all options available for their home under the “Selections” tab in a simple to use interface with green/red indicators for accepted/rejected options. Customers approve and reject options through the Portal, and email notifications are automatically sent to the applicable internal and vendor contacts.

Homeowners appreciate the control that they feel in the process: once they have approved an option, they feel comfortable that it will be completed as scheduled.

CHANGE ORDERS

Move from selections to change orders in HomeDev, and the change is automatically emailed to the customer. Photos and changes are detailed in the Customer Portal to be approved or rejected by the home buyer.

WHAT’S NEXT: EMAIL & YAMMER

Coming soon is full email functionality within HomeDev Pro, for advanced tracking of all communications related to a project, customer or community. We’re also busy building a private social network into HomeDev. Stay tuned!

Combine these new features with HomeDev Pro’s industry-leading job costing and estimating features for a powerful management tool for custom builders that offers visibility and control to home buyers through the personalized customer portal.

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