Home Builders Association Embarks on New Chapter

2013-04-14T00:00:00Z Home Builders Association Embarks on New ChapterMichelle Krueger Times Homes Columnist nwitimes.com
April 14, 2013 12:00 am  • 

When the Lake County and Porter County Builders Associations merged in 2011, the goal was to come together and forge a stronger future for all. Now the Home Builders Association of Northwest Indiana (HBA), a nonprofit trade association of builders and associated industry professionals dedicated to promoting the American Dream of homeownership, is well on its way.

“We’re all here to work together and create opportunities for everyone,” newly elected Board President Jeff Brant of Brant Construction in Schererville said. “Merging was a very time-consuming process. There were many different viewpoints to consider, not to mention the fact that the last few years were very difficult in our industry. Now, thanks to the efforts of our immediate Past President Todd Olthof and Executive Officer Vicky Gadd who really runs the show, we have refocused our efforts on promoting the quality builders here in Northwest Indiana, making it worthwhile for them to join the Association and having some fun in the process.”

For example, the HBA is now sponsoring Home & Lifestyle Shows in the spring (Porter County) and fall (Lake County).

“Associate and builder members have the opportunity to set up booths and interact with the public during these events,” Brant explained. “In most cases the public is interacting with the small business owner or the people that will be doing the work in their homes. Many people enjoy these shows and the personal touch rather than visiting the big box stores.”

The annual HBA Parade of Homes is scheduled for June 1-9 and will once again be a scattered site show, with the hope of getting back to a single-site Parade in a year or two, according to Brant.

“Our Association was the first in the area to feature a scattered-site Parade format,” he said. “It provides a great opportunity for builders to display their newly-built homes to the public and gives the public a chance to see what’s new in Lake and Porter counties.”

Along with the annual housing industry update from three perspectives (real estate, lending and building), the HBA is looking forward to providing additional training and educational opportunities for members over the coming year. The HBA’s new office location at 800 East 86th Avenue, Suite A in Merrillville gives them the great opportunity to share training space and other facilities with their new neighbor, the Greater Northwest Association of REALTORS®.

“So far, there will be training on the state’s mandatory residential energy codes and a fall prevention seminar,” Brant said. “We are also investigating a program on advertising techniques and ideas for today’s market as well as offering one of the Indiana Builders Association’s certification programs. Our group is also active with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, and we’re looking forward to some great social events like our golf outing in September and Holiday Party/Installation Banquet in December. We want to make it worthwhile to be a member.”

Pillars of the Community: Coldwell Banker sales associates, managers and staff hosted a charity fundraiser luncheon this week as part of their ongoing efforts in support of the Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation. Established in 2007 the Foundation has raised over $600,000 and supports Ronald McDonald House® ($100,000 was earmarked for a unique toy closet at the world largest RMD House near Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago) as well as 28 local charities in the communities the company serves along Lake Michigan from Milwaukee, WI to New Buffalo, MI.

“We have something special internally to raise money for the foundation every month,” Branch Manager Donna Zisoff said. “Last month it was a 50/50 Easter basket raffle. This month, India (Castaneda) put together a fabulous luncheon – she made gallons of excellent potato soup, and we also had people contribute homemade rolls, fresh salad and homemade baked goods that we sold like a traditional bake sale. Along with people from our office, we invited a few other colleagues and friends. The turnout was amazing, and there were some very giving people. We raised $586. I never thought we could have raised that much money in such a short amount of time.”

“Our local charity is Haven House, and we are very proud to be presenting them with a check for $4,500 from the entire company’s efforts last year,” Castaneda added. “Real estate is a local business, and we are a local office. The Coldwell Banker Charitable Foundation raises funds to provide financial assistance to housing-related causes that directly benefit the needs of the people and communities we are privileged to serve.”

Haven House Domestic Violence Shelter has been providing twenty-four hour temporary emergency shelter for domestic violence victims and their dependents for 30 years. In partnership with the city of Hammond, Haven House is looking forward to adding new transitional housing and services. While the emergency shelter provides all the essentials for everyday living, the length of stay at 45 days only allows enough time to stabilize safety and begin the search for permanent housing. Transitional housing will provide a much better time frame from 18-24 months for continuing education, upgrading and acquiring job skills as well as finding a job that will eventually provide for self-sufficiency.

To submit real estate news, community connections and special event/model information e-mail krueger.dm@sbcglobal.net.

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