Certainly Certifiably Certified

A LOT more than a sheet of fancy paper.

posted Nov 3, 2011 by

We like to keep our clients in the light when it comes time to topics that can and will benefit them. Many home builders talk a big game about things like "quality craftsmanship", "only the best materials", and other abstract, often subjective marketing babble. But many times, they fail to tell you when you need to know something muy importante. Like whether or not they are a Oklahoma State Certified Professional Builder. Or the fact that in the state of Oklahoma you don't have to be licensed to be a builder. So, we think it's totally cool when the boss-man, Jeff Click, gives an interview (direct from the sweet JCH design nook at the office) on the importance of the topic, and why he deems it necessary for this voluntary certification.
The Oklahoma State Home Builders Association is launching a campaign that brings more awareness to its "Certified Professional Builder" program that will, in itself, educate the consumer. What Jeff talks about in the video is why he decided to become a Certified Professional Builder. It's pivotal, and in 2009, Jeff was the President of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association (which is the OKC-area local association) now he holds the Vice President spot on the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, and will serve as President in 2013.

Why Jeff chose to hold these positions isn't just so he can say so, either. There's important reasoning behind why. He believes in observing core values within Jeff Click Homes, and a couple of them are progress and excellence. He explains that progression equals learning and continually striving for proficiency within the company, and in doing so, excellence follows. The Certified Professional Builder program is just one way he strives to achieve this.

A builder doesn't just take a test and "BAM!" he/she is certified. It takes a long-term commitment and careful criteria which includes continuing education, carrying the proper types of insurance, knowing and adhering to codes, and employing best practices and the latest in building sciences. Any builder can vouch for the quality of their homes until the cows come home, but the certification label gives a peace of mind to the consumer, that the builder is, in fact, legit.

"I believe that to the consumer, that shows a certain level of commitment to being not only legitimate, but to excelling, seeking the highest standards and being more in-tune with the latest best practices, the latest codes and hopefully that translates into abiding by them and a better outcome altogether for the consumer." --Jeff Click

We expect that our consumers do their research just as much as we continually do ours at JCH. And, we feel it's vital to you, the consumer, to know that our standards are equally as high.

The OSHBA Convention

Not a sci-fi seminar, so leave your light sabers at the door.

posted Jul 18, 2011 by

July 2011. The Oklahoma State Home Builders Association Summer Convention. Jeff Click, attending this very summit for the past several years, but this year being his first as a Sr. Officer of the Association. Yep, he's now Vice President/Secretary, and is maneuvering on up the ladder to become State President in January 2013.
It may be ridiculously sweltering outside in July in Durant, Oklahoma, but it sure is fresh and cool inside of the Choctaw Casino where the annual convention was held this year. Is it somewhat paradoxical that a home builders convention is held at a casino? One would think, but Jeff counters by clearly stating that the interior design of the casino is mega! In fact, dozens of material choices were identical to what is used in JCH homes. And, from a style perspective, Jeff says, "I was definitely in my element! Their wall treatments, ceiling fur downs, and bathrooms were top-notch." (I'll have to go check that place out just for that factnever mind the Craps tables.)

The lobby ceiling at Choctaw Casino
The great room of the Chief's Suite.

While there, he also got a VIP tour of the "Chief's Suite", a top-level, 2-story, 2,500 s.f. penthouse. Amazing contemporary style, huge living room overlooking the resort pool, formal dining area, and 2nd story loft study and master suite. The master suite shower had Kohler's DTS "Digital Showering" system, which was awesome. JCH has installed one such system and they are quite sexy.

So, why an annual meeting? What could Oklahoma homebuilders and association members possibly talk about for a weekendat a casino? Given the economy within the past couple of years, there's your answer. Social topics such as issues affecting the industry, continuing education classes for the Certified Professional Builder program, and for the Board of Directors to have its quarterly meeting on the business of the association. (I'll be willing to betno pun intendedthat they probably slipped a $20 or two into a slot machine, too. I mean, c'mon, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.) But for the record, Jeff's not a high-rollin' big gambler.

2011 COHBA President Jim Schuff looks into the furnace where raw materials are melted into a pool that later becomes a giant sheet of glass.

Back to the comment about it being "ridiculously sweltering" outside. While in Durant, OK for the weekend, they also got to tour the Cardinal Glass factory which is one of many throughout the country. "I wanted to tour it to both learn how the glass was produced, and to see the exact factory that the glass is made for the Anderson Silverline windows used in every Jeff Click Home." says Jeff. But, this isn't a glass station, it's a factory where one half is where the raw materials are combined, melted, and milled into a long sheet of glass.

Newly made glass cooling before being cut.
Glass is inspected for imperfections before being cut.

In this half of the factory, it's in excess of 130 degrees in ambient temperature, and even hotter as you pass certain sections of the burners. It's so hot they require that you ware pants to protect your legs from being burned. "Talk about irony." Jeff chimes in, "It was so hot on that part of the tour that it was actually refreshing to pass an open vent where the 105-degree air from outside was blowing in!" Personally, my Chicago-self would have melted directly into the concrete. Or, remained on the other half of the plant where the glass is cut and organized for shippingmuch cooler and very impressive.

Jeff Click at the Cardinal Glass Factory in Durant, OK, standing next to newly made large sheets of glass awaiting shipment.

So, in addition to all of this melting hot excitement and education, Jeff attended a class on Advanced Framing (taught by Guaranteed Watt Saver's Kelly Parker, who rates and certifies our energy efficient Urbana Series of homes) which is an emerging method of framing homes using less material and thus creating less waste, but also to improve the energy performance of the home. He also turned up at seminar taught by the former Executive Officer of the California State Home Builders Association which compared our two states as it relates to housinglearning how to avoid what led California into extraordinary housing costs followed by a major housing crisis.

Various meetings were conducted throughout the week and weekend for the OSHBA, including the Insurance Committee (on which Jeff serves as well), that oversees the insurance program which helps members stay properly insured to conduct business. The Certified Professional Builder Committee also held a meeting about their voluntary State-Certified program for builders since Oklahoma is not a licensed state. However, it's important so Jeff serves on that committee and is, yes, also a State Certified Professional Builder. BAM!

2011 Mike Means, Executive Officer of the OK State Home Builders Association addresses the OSHBA Board of Directors on Saturday at the 2011 State Convention at the Choctaw Casino in Durant, OK.

In conclusion, (with an early morning breakfast on Saturday and a bit more mingling) leaders from local Home Builder Association chapters met to discuss localized issues throughout the state, and the Summer Board of Directors meeting where decisions were discussed and voted on that affect "our" industry and membership.

Appraisal Bytes

Digital Homes Magazine Feature Story Quotes Jeff...

posted Dec 10, 2008 by Jeff Click

A feature article in this month's Digital Home magazine leans on yours truly and my friend, fellow techie, and local appraiser, Peter Fulmer, on the widening gap between true costs of advanced residential technologies and their respective appraisal values.
Fulmer sums up the conundrum well, "I understand the costs associated with putting the technology into the house because I'm familiar with the technologies being used. But that's not enough - you have to try to determine the actual value of the overall house to someone for whom these technological amenities may not mean much. This is an issue that's going to become bigger and bigger as technology gets used more and more to differentiate homes.

I would submit that the non-technically-inclined buyer Peter refers to will end up reaping the rewards of this appraisal methodology. In this scenario, he stands to first get a break on the up-front costs of the technology if it doesn't receive a dollar-for-dollar valuation. When that buyer later goes to resell the house, the technologies once considered "advanced" will, by then, be common...if not expected...and will thus place that house in better competition with newer homes, depending on the technologies in place.

That alone will stand to draw draw additional value, though it's difficult to say how much. Future value potential doesn't mean squat on an appraisal, which is a snapshot of the here-and-now.

COHBA Ends A Regal Era

Caleb wins Builder Of the Year, Jim installed as President, and one more year to go...

posted Dec 14, 2007 by Jeff Click

On Friday evening, the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association celebrated its final Christmas Banquet and Officer Installation at our building of over 40 years, closing an era at The Regal Room. It was a grand event, with friend, fellow builder, and 2007 President Caleb McCaleb awarded with "Builder Of the Year," and Jim McWhirter of Gemini Homes installed as the 2008 President. I was installed as Vice President, while Mark Dale of Carriage Homes was installed as Treasurer, and Jim Schuff of Vesta Homes was moved into the Secretary position. As this year's Vice President, I look forward to serving as President of the association for 2009.

It was a pleasure to serve on the Executive Board this past year with Caleb as President, and he couldn't be more deserving of the honor of Builder of the Year. Jim's inauguration speech was both entertaining and inspiring, and I look forward to serving on his board along with Mark & Jim as we get the new COHBA building underway, and face many hot issues in our industry.

The Oklahoman Business section ran an article in Saturday's business section, and here is the press release from the event...

The Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association is now under the direction of a nine member Executive Committee. Jim McWhirter, Gemini Homes, will be at the helm of the 2008 board. The announcement comes on the heels of the organization's final Christmas banquet at the organization's "Regal Room" facility, which has served as its home for more than 40 years. COHBA also named Caleb McCaleb as the 2007 Builder of the Year. Associate of the Year has been awarded to Kelley Ranney.

The new president, Jim McWhirter, joined COHBA in 1983 and has been a member of the Board of Directors for eight years. He says that he is looking forward to creating a united effort among board members and the surrounding community.

"I am excited about COHBA this year. There are many changes going on in our industry. I'm looking forward to promoting a united effort between our builders, developers, municipalities and legislature. Those groups working together will insure better and more positive results for our Oklahoma consumers," says Jim McWhirter, President of Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association.

Other additions to the board are: Jeff Click, Vice President; Mark Dale, Vice President Treasurer; Jim Schuff, Vice President Secretary; Vanessa Shadix, Associates Council Chair; Mike Gilles, President of Past Presidents; and John DeVere, Membership Chair.

This year's Christmas Party and Installation of Officers has a special significance, as it will be the last one of its kind for COHBA. Historically, the Association’s facility has been at 625 North West Grand Boulevard since 1965 and has provided banquet facility accommodations for many community businesses, civic events, chambers and community events over the past forty plus years. The Association feels a sense of sadness as they leave a building with a tremendous amount of history, but they are excited about the future as they begin the process of building the new facility which will be located on Britton Road east of Broadway Extension.

"The most exciting project for the association is the upcoming groundbreaking and building of our new state-of-the-art headquarters and learning facility. Our new home for the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association will be a flagship for generations of builders and building associates to come," says outgoing president, Caleb McCaleb.

McCaleb believes the largest challenge in the next year or two for COHBA and its incoming leadership will be overcoming the national perception that real estate is in crisis all around the United States.

"In fact, OKC has been doing well during this national slump and we anticipate a positive real estate market for the foreseeable future in our area," says McCaleb.

The Oklahoma City Home Builders Association is a not-for-profit, professional trade organization, which is an advocate for the Oklahoma City housing industry and serves 1400 members. The association is a corporate channel through which builders contribute time, money and services to local community service projects and education initiatives.

COHBA is an affiliate of the Oklahoma State Home Builders Association, a federation of more than 12 associations statewide with more than 3,000 members. COHBA members include builders, remodelers, developers, suppliers, manufacturers, architects, engineers, real estate brokers, lenders, attorneys and other industry professionals.

Raining On Our Parade

COHBA votes to reschedule the 2007 Parade Of Homes

posted Jun 28, 2007 by Jeff Click

Even if you have been living under a rock for the last 12 weeks, odds are you've been soaked and are fully aware of just how long the Oklahoma City Metro has been treading water due to record amounts of rainfall. As builder's, we're keenly aware of how weather can affect construction processes, and at this point, it's beyond just delaying a home's completion a few days to plug the leaks in the schedule.

This past Wednesday, the Board of Directors of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association unanimously voted to reschedule the 2007 Parade Of Homes to October 20-28, rather than its originally scheduled dates of September 22-30. The vote took place on the recommendation of the Executive Board and this year's Parade Chairman and builder-friend of mine, Jason Schuff, who issued a survey to the over one hundred builders participating in the Parade. Survey results concluded that nearly two thirds of the 170 homes entered in the Parade have suffered from scheduling delays significant enough to jeopardize the likelihood of completion in time for the event's September deadline.

As two-time past Chairman of the Parade, I voted in support of the date change, despite having the Jeff Click Homes entry for this year's Parade nearly complete and somewhat unaffected by the extended rains. One important component of a successful Parade Of Homes, in my experience, is to insure that as many houses as possible are complete. The viewing public deserves and prefers homes to be finished, and I've personally fielded complaints during my terms as Chair regarding homes that weren't complete and ready for tours.

As a builder that takes my responsibility to deadlines very seriously, I've often likened the Parade of Homes deadline to Christmas. We know every year that it's coming, and there's little excuse for not being adequately prepared in time for it. This year, however, is a rare exception to that sentiment, given the lack of control we have over such excessive inclement weather.

On the up-side to the change, we can look forward to cooler weather for home touring, which has been something longed for in the past during hotter Septembers. We also don't have to be as concerned with other competing events during the new scheduled dates, which don't conflict with the State Fair of Oklahoma, or with any major OU or OSU football games (the 20th are away-games for both teams, and no games are scheduled for the 28th).

So while it's raining on our Parade schedule right now, hopefully when October 20th gets here, we can look forward to clear skies and a great showcase of the finest new and completed homes in the Oklahoma City Metro.

Full-Court Press

Commenting On Aubrey McClendon, and on our market

posted Apr 21, 2007 by Jeff Click

This week has been a good media week, with the opportunity to participate in both a print feature in The Oklahoman, and a syndicated television news story.

Richard Mize of The Oklahoman penned an insightful feature on Chesapeake Co-Founder & CEO, Aubrey McClendon, who continues to build his impressive portfolio of choice real estate in the Oklahoma City Metro. Quoted as the Vice-President, Secretary-Treasurer of COHBA, I commented on what I perceived to be general sentiment of the real estate community in regard to his acquisitions of property, and whether it has upset anyone that he's holding the land.

My thoughts beyond the quotes as a simple observer from within the industry, and as someone who doesn't know Aubrey personally: Given his role in bettering this community, and his generosity to sellers in the purchases he's made, it's difficult to criticize a guy for taking that approach. I think it speaks highly of where this city is headed to have someone like him making such significant reinvestments in our community, and it would be nice to see others follow his lead in corporate citizenship.

While Aubrey's buying, some still seem to want to question whether or not anyone else is. KOCO/Channel 5 is producing a news story for national syndication about how the Oklahoma City real estate market is weathering its supposed slowdown from the recent nation-wide housing boom of the past few years. As I've said many times, Oklahoma City's market remains strong and continues to make gains for property owners. Interest rates remain low, permits are still at above-normal levels, and home prices continue to increase at a healthy rate. The story will air in May on Channel 5 and across the nation.