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Owner Builder Network®
7102 FM 1488
Magnolia, TX 77354

(across from Dominoes)
(281) 356-9050

Atomic8Ball e-Newsletter

Owner Builder Network® is celebrating our 20th year of business!

Note From the Founder:

It is an honor to say that Owner Builder Network has been serving a big part of Texas for 20 years now. Throughout the years many things have changed. Some bad and some good.

Let's look back and see .

  • Interest rates have dropped (I used to close deals at over 20%).
  • Credit scores have to be 630 (higher) now or above for most construction loans (we have options if score is less.)
  • Homes are more energy efficient now. (all homes were done in fiberglass insulation now only the cookie cutter homes are.)
  • We now have low voltage lighting. This is more energy efficient.
  • Most of the homes we built were smaller. Now they are larger.
  • Air conditioning is now a science to make sure it is balanced for the home you build and a manual J is done. (This is on our homes and not most builders)
  • Manufactured stone has opened more possibilities to use the stone & rock look without having to pay for a brick ledge or worry about weight load of materials.

Most of all if you wanted a home designed and built the way you wanted it, you had to go to a custom builder to do it. He had the bank financing. He had all the subs and suppliers. He knew who to call if he had problems or questions. The banks would only let him control the checkbook on your home and land. The consumer was left with "I was at the job site more than him and he made over 60k off of me." "I'm not allowed to talk to the contractors at the job site of my own home." The consumer choosing the builder based on price and he comes to you 3/4's the way through and says, "I have run out of money to build your home" and he walks off the job or you give him more money. You are left with finding someone to finish and the money to finish.

This is almost impossible for many reasons. Oh the horror stories I heard when I came to the Houston area from Austin. Perplexed, I said, "What can I do to make everyone happy?" "How can the homeowner know honestly we're all the money is going?" "How can they know everything that is really going in their home?" "How can they be able to talk one on one with the contractors and suppliers?" "How can they save money and be in control of what is most people's biggest investment in their life?" Thus, in 1997 The birth of Owner Builder Network. So, I want to thank everyone from the customers that have used us once, some twice. I want to thank all those that have referred us to friends, coworkers and family members. I want to thank all the banks, coworkers, contractors, suppliers and friends that have believed in us. It is all of you that has made us great for 20 years.

Thank you everyone.

Target Market

In the near future, healthy homes will become increasingly popular as the next big wave of home buyers—millennials—hits the market. Although baby boomers have been important innovators in the healthy home market, young buyers will take it to the next level, says Stacy Glass, vice president of the Cradle to Cradle Products innovation Institute. "Millennials are so conscious about what they buy. They want to know what's in it, how it's made, who made it, and that they were paid a fair wage," she says.

Glass, a former green building materials distributor, confirms that the birth of a baby causes a lot of women to seek out low-emitting and chemical-free products and homes. "The most feverish calls I would get," she says, "were from new moms."

Chicago builder Weiss has found that families buying their first home and retiring boomers are his best customers, and they've done their homework. "Don't market yourself as healthy if you don't understand what a healthy home is," he says. "You have to go above and beyond and look at it holistically."

Target Market

Of course, not all home buyers are 36-years-old moms, and builders will have to work to bring reluctant customers to the table, says Carl Grimes, managing director of the Hayward Healthy Home Institute, which educates builders and the public about building science and high-performance homes.

"We're starting a conversation to get people to realize, wouldn't it be great to have fresh air to breathe? Wouldn't it be great to have a new house that doesn't smell like a new car?" he asks. "Its' possible, and it doesn't have to cost much more or even more to build a lot of these features into homes now."

Source: B

What Does an Appraiser Do?

When you're considering buying a house, there are two sides to the story the seller's asking price and the actual value of the property. This is where and appraiser steps in.

What is the job of an appraiser?

An appraiser's job is to determine the current value of a property. Most of the work is done on-site where the appraiser will:

What Does an Appraiser Do?
  • Conduct a room-by-room walk-through to determine interior condition.
  • Walk the length of the property to determine exterior condition.
  • Evaluate any amenities such as a swimming pool, finished basement, or built-in bar.
  • Note any health or safety code violations.
  • Record the layout of the property.

Off-site, the appraiser may also evaluate the current real estate market in the neighborhood to help determine the value of the property.

How do you know if an appraiser is qualified?

Typically, your lender will choose an appraiser. The appraiser should be state-licensed or have other certification. If the appraiser is a member of a professional organization such as the Appraisal Foundation, he or she most likely will adhere to certain ethics codes and ruler of conduct. However, not all states require certification, so do some research before you start.

Who hires the appraiser?

Usually, the lender or financing organization will hire the appraiser. Because it's in the best interest for the lender to get a good appraisal, the lender will have a list of reputable appraisers whom they have hired in the past.

Who pays?

The loan agreement normally contains a set value for the appraisal of property. Whoever takes out the loan pays for the appraisal, unless the contract specifies otherwise. Then the buyer pays the fee in the closing costs. If a seller is motivated, he may pay for the appraisal himself to back his asking price, which benefits the buyer by reducing closing costs.

The lender may not adjust the fee after hiring appraiser. Expect an average range of $300 to $600 depending on the size, property value and location. Different appraisal report types take various amounts of effort, which may affect the price.

How long does it take?

One or two hours is the average time spent for most appraisals for property. You should most likely receive the report in three to seven business days on average. The amount of time it takes can depend on the type of report, size of property, and other factors.

What are the benefits?

Think of the appraisal as an investment of your time, money, and effort. It is important to know what your house is worth, and it will help you get your loan approval. Hopefully, this step and the rest of the house-buying process will go smoothly.

Source: Angela Colley

This explains it:

Good news is as of July 2017 they are going back down.

U.S. Department of Commerce to Increase Tariff on Canadian Lumber Imports

Increased cost of materials will negatively impact home affordability

In response to what the United States government views as an unfair advantage for Canadian lumber mills importing their product into the U.S., the Department of Commerce announced in April that they would be adding duties or tariffs of up to 24 percent on shipments of softwood lumber from Canada.

These new tariffs are a result of concerns that domestic lumber producers and the U.S. government have had for decades.

In the United States, most of the forest lands and standing timber are privately owned. Those producers are subject to free market rates in selling their lumber.


In Canada, most of their timber is government owned. That affords those provincial governments the ability to subsidize their forestry industry by charging low royalty rates for cutting trees. The results is that some Canadian mills are able to bring their product to market at below market rates.

The trade agreement that regulated Canadian lumber imports beginning in 2006 expired in October of 2015. There was a subsequent year extension that lapsed on October 2016 with the two governments unable to work out a new deal. The result of that inaction led to the recent tariff hikes.

These new tariffs and lack of certainty will hurt new homebuyers and the economy by increasing the price of a home. Following the lapse in the trade agreement last October, the NAHB estimates the lumber price increase in the first quarter of this year has added almost $3,600 to the price of a new home.

By the numbers:

  • 33% of the lumber used in the U.S. last year was imported
  • More than 95% of the imported lumber came from Canada

A 19.88% tariff for the remainder of 2017 will cost:

  • $ 498.3 million in wages and salaries for U.S. workers
  • $350.2 million in taxes and other revenue for governments in the U.S.
  • 8,241 full-time U.S. jobs

As the two sides continue to work on a new trade agreement, the Department of Commerce is expected to address additional tariffs in again June and September, respectively.

In addition, the NAHB will continue to work with our federal delegation and the new administration to oppose these tariffs and develop solutions that will help keep housing affordable in Texas.

Source: Houston Builders

Owner Builder Network®
A better way to build since 1997.