Back in the early 2000’s I was working as a Limited Practice Officer in Washington State. The real estate market was on fire and we couldn’t close deals fast enough. Realtors were pulling in huge commissions and lenders were having a hay-day. As we crept closer to 2008, home and land prices were becoming ridiculously high and I remember wondering why, and how, people were obtaining so many 2nd and 3rd mortgages.
I recall a few instances when buyers were signing documents and would say something like, “Well, I sure hope I can afford my utility bill after this.” They were joking at the time, but upon receipt of that first bill, many may have quickly realized they actually couldn’t afford the house they had just purchased, in addition to the utility bill that went along with it. By law, as a neutral third-party we were not allowed to advise buyers and sellers on anything except to tell them if they had concerns they should talk to their realtor or lender.
After leaving that side of real estate shortly after the crash, I shifted a bit and have since had the privilege of working alongside and learning from some of the most knowledgeable and forward-thinking people in the building industry. Sustainability and energy efficiency are seen now more as a standard rather than a revolutionary idea - and that’s due to the consistent work of all of you out there who have pushed the dial forward for so many years.
I was recently chatting with a new modular construction company that decided to implement IAQ and energy efficiency standards in their designs. As I sat listening to the person talk passionately about their goal of providing healthy, affordable living conditions for their customers I remember thinking: This is what it’s all about. People.
Life is busy. Doing what we do takes time. Changing long-standing “systems” can seem daunting, but if we can keep our eye on the purpose of why we are doing what we do, it will always be worth it. It’s ultimately for the people who will be living in those homes. Our knowledge, our innovation - it’s only useful if it benefits people.
Let us know what changes you are looking to see in our industry in 2019? And don’t forget to Save the Date for this year’s High Performance Home Summit in Denver (October 1-3).