Kalamazoo Builders School Home Buyers on Tax Credit
With preparation the key for the Home Builders Association of Greater Kalamazoo (HBAGK) in Michigan, when President Bush signed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 on Wednesday, July 30 the association already had the tools to get the word out to its local market on the financial benefits of the home buyer tax credit.
“We put a lot of effort and time into the planning and execution of our public relations efforts in regards to the housing stimulus bill,” said Dale Shugars, executive vice president of the HBAGK. “We wanted to be ready to hit the ground running as soon as it was signed.”
Multiple press releases were sent to the local media in the days before the signing urging the Administration to act quickly on the legislation, and a final release lauded the legislation when it became law.
Because association staff members had spent a lot of time and effort on preparations to promote the tax credit to their local market, they were already prepared to hold a press conference the day after the bill was signed. Television, radio and print press attended, resulting in extensive coverage in the local media market.
Examples of the media coverage included the Kalamazoo Gazette article, "Area builders welcome housing-rescue package,“ and WKZO AM 980’s report, “Housing Stimulus Package Headed for Domino Effect?”
The local CBS-affiliate WWMT, Channel 3 featured information on the bill in “Housing Help,” which also promoted the press conference HBAGK was holding.
"We received a great number of calls from the community after the press conference," said Faith Cervin, marketing director for the HBAGK. "We knew we had to educate potential home buyers on the credit, so we decided to hold a Home Buyer Workshop."
A panel of local housing industry experts was convened on the afternoon of Aug. 6 to discuss the tax credit and answer attendees’ questions. The panel included Shugars, HBAGK President Jeffrey Smith, Greater Kalamazoo Association of Realtors® President Gary Brown, two mortgage lenders and a tax professional.
The event was a success and the association is planning to do another one during evening hours to provide more opportunity for public participation.
To help with their public relations effort on the stimulus bill, the HBA took advantage of the tax credit resources available in the Myth Buster section of NAHB’s Web site.
“The resources were amazing and helped us get the word out about the tax credit to our local community,” said Shugars. “With these resources we can quickly address questions and demystify the tax credit for people in our community. We have become the go-to organization locally for people to get the information they need on the new tax-credit. This is a prime example on why it pays to be a member of NAHB.”
NAHB members can use the tax credit resources — talking points, print ads, a consumer handout, an op-ed column, radio spots and banner ads — to promote consumer awareness of the credit in their own markets.
A new consumer Web site, www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com, outlines the details of the tax credit and includes a set of comprehensive questions and answers about how the credit works and how consumers can take advantage of it.
For more information on the Myth Buster tax credit resources, e-mail Gwyn Donohue at NAHB, or call her at 800-368-5242 x8447.