Category Archives: Customer Story

It’s a visual world – develop your product from the inside out

This content was co-written in collaboration with Kim Bianchi, leading Décor Studio Manager at OPUS Homes

A home is where memories are made; where homeowners spend time with friends and family. These moments are the backdrop of a successful builder. Your buyers are increasingly sharing experiences online with builders for better or for worse. Social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, and increasingly Houzz – are all giving homeowners a precise picture of the final product and service you are offering. Make your homes visually appealing – your builder product and brand will speak volumes in the market. What strategies are you taking to ensure your décor centre is assisting company growth?

Tip 1: Customize homes without sacrificing growth

Offer your homeowners the ability to add the final touches to their home’s interior. Do this in moderation. Successful builders understand that building custom homes from the ground up is contrary to scale. Allowing your homeowners to choose their interior selections involves you spending personal time with homeowners, allowing for interior finishes means you can increase the valuation of your homes sold. This too can be an opportunity and a differentiator amongst builders looking to secure a “premium” builder brand.

Tip 2: The homeowner is always right – interior décor demand is a sales opportunity

Customers need confident validation from the builder that interior décor is the right option for their investment. The trick to interior décor as a builder is to position the design studio experience as an educational session on their home. By now, if your customer is considering décor finishes, they must have already selected a house model. Ensure that your décor appointments follow guidelines of what fits best with their selected product. Smart builders give enough choices to their homeowners while strategically controlling what’s possible for each type of home model in terms of installation. Builders are also implementing online design portals based on each homeowners style and capabilities within the each selected home.

Tip 3: Get personal at décor appointments – ditch the paperwork and go digital

Décor Studio Manager, Kimberly Bianchi of OPUS Homes shares the value of an integrated design centre solution. “Design Studio Manager is easily customizable for our growing décor selections. The software provided us with an efficient and logical workflow for our appointment sessions”. OPUS Homes clients have the opportunity to access an online portal, before meeting with Bianchi to complete their décor selections, where they can view available finishes options for their particular model of home and save any “wish list items” to be further discussed the day of the appointment.  Bianchi carries a tablet around the décor studio which allows her to be mobile with her clients while she educates them on their finishing options.  She is logged onto the design agent portal and utilizes it as a tool to guide the homeowner through the décor studio’s product library. Each client takes home a detailed document of all selections added. This method provides OPUS Homes with meaningful real-time data. In the future, Bianchi is excited to implement the floor plans module which allows for digitally integrated redline floor plans that communicate back to NEWSTAR for drafting contract addendum items.

Tip 4: Integrate décor appointments to all your departments

Great software ultimately should ensure customization in a manner that is logical, that brings efficiency out of décor appointments and integrates the customer data to all other departments. OPUS Homes design studio software pushes the data out to their accounting platform for updated production costs, warranty information is logged for interior selections for possible future claims, trades are also notified and their schedules are customized so the interior selections can enter the home after the initial build so there are no damages. It is always costly when materials are installed incorrectly or worse, products must be destroyed and re-added if critical infrastructure is yet to be set up.

Tip 5: Join the décor studio expert panel on modern design studio appointments

Hear from builders how new technology is improving the design studio experience. We are hosting a free webinar with a panel of sales, marketing and design studio managers will discuss how Design Studio Manager has transformed their customer’s experience of the design studio, as well as preliminary impacts on sales of options and upgrades.

WHY: Hear 3 Builders Share The NEW Design Studio Experience

WHEN: April 25, 2PM EDT / 11 AM EDT

Register NOW

The Verdict

Interior customization in moderation can make you a more profitable builder if integrated correctly, reap higher margins and position your product as premium in the market. The right software allows options available for the homeowner that is pre-established for each home model. The right system allows your homeowner to get creative and become part of your building team. Select software that showcases your selections in a logical order that reflects the building process once the interiors are ready to enter the home. Finally, Your décor software should tie all departments back to everything that occurred at the décor centre. Accounting should have an accurate amount of the home price, the warranty department needs the selections information logged in case of future incidents, and trades need their schedules set out in accordance with the selections and the building process. Homeowners expect high-end products, a standardized décor studio process is key to meeting this demand.

Source: Custom Builder Talks Design Centers and Trends That Sell | – Leah Demirjian

Posted in Best Practices, Blog, Case Study, Customer Story, Events, Media Coverage, New Features, NEWSTAR | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Neal Communities is the 2015 Builder of the Year

Professional Builder, North America’s leading business publication dedicated to the home building industry, has named Neal Communities its 2015 Builder of the Year. The Sarasota-Fla.-based firm is the 49th builder to be honored as Builder of the Year by Professional Builder.

“With closings approaching 1,000 homes in 2015, Neal Communities did better coming out of the downturn than many companies did during the boom,” says Professional Builder Editorial Director Denise Dersin. “Neal’s focus on acquiring the best land and creating sustainable communities, along with its ability to hire—and keep—one of the best teams in the business has made it one of Florida’s fastest-growing home builders.”

We salute Neal Communities’ ability to weather the housing downturn by recognizing the trend early, finding a sold strategy, and putting a plan into action with strict controls to ensure success. The competition has noticed. Neal Communities was able to not only survive, but thrive through the downturn, and now sits on thousands and thousands of acres of prime land in Florida, without the typical bank loans to go with it. They are positioned for growth as the market rebounds toward a new normal. And they did it all while remaining loyal to their team – the Neal “family”.

“At Neal Communities, our entire team is deeply committed to improving the lives of the people we serve with superior customer service, products and value,” says Patrick Neal, owner and chairman of Neal Communities. “I could not be more proud of our dedicated team of exceptional home building professionals who inspire me to work harder every single day. To be recognized for excellence with this prestigious award is a special honor that we are humbled and pleased to accept.”

Congratulations to Neal Communities!

Continue reading via Professional Builder magazine.

To learn more about Neal Communities, visit their website.

Posted in Awards, Best Practices, Customer Story, News, NEWSTAR | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

2015 Customer Conference - Constellation HomeBuilder Systems

All customers are invited to join us on Amelia Island in Florida, for our 2015 Customer Conference: Discovering Natural Treasures. This year, our conference will focus on software training and user group sessions, keynote speakers with a focus on leadership, and networking events and activities to engage with our customers.

Software Training

A big part of our focus for the two days of sessions is in-depth software training. Based on your feedback, this year’s sessions will highlight user groups, best practices, solutions, modules and features to help you make the most of your time at the conference – and maximize your impact when you return to work.

Keynote Speakers

We have also discovered two new and engaging keynote speakers to kick-start our mornings. JP Pawliw-Fry is a leadership and performance expert who will help us do our best when it matters most with Performing Under Pressure. Jason Forrest, the Idea Man, will convince us that our beliefs have more to do with our success than our abilities.

Networking Activities

From hearty buffet breakfasts to a sunset dinner on the beach, networking with builders like you is an important benefit of attending a Constellation conference. This year, you can opt to join fellow builders for a round of golf at The Golf Club of Amelia Island, or for horseback riding on the beach.

User Groups

For Builder360, BuildTopia, FAST and NEWSTAR customers, user groups provide a forum for customers to discuss new ideas and best practices for their software solution. For NEWSTAR customers, we will be rolling out a new user group format. Join us Monday at 4:00PM for an update on 2015 and what’s in store for the future. The group will break out into functional teams that will meet quarterly starting in 2016. The NEWSTAR functional groups are: Sales, Production & Purchasing, Construction & Customer Care, and Finance. Join the functional group that best meets your needs, or power users can join them all!

We hope that all Constellation customers are able to find some time in their busy schedules to join our conference this year. Here are some thoughts from our builders who attended our PARTNERS 2014 conference in Dallas last year:

“I have been extremely impressed from day one of looking for a product to keep us on the cutting edge of technology. It was wonderful to be able to network with other customers and all the staff from Constellation that attended.”

“It is so much more beneficial to have face-to-face time with Constellation and other builders than trying to convey ideas and concepts through emails.”

“I have been to several conferences in my years and this was by far the most beneficial. I loved being able to create my own agenda for our Constellation products.”

We look forward to welcoming you to Amelia Island!

The Constellation Team

Posted in Customer Story, Events | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

BILD Awards 2015 - GTA Homebuilder of the Year

The 35th annual BILD Awards recognize the GTA’s best new-home communities, builders, developers and sales and marketing professionals in 46 unique categories. More than 1,100 members of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) gathered to celebrate the industry’s best on April 24.

The People’s Choice Award received more than 85,000 votes this year, over 60 times last year’s tally. In a special presentation, Colin J. Parsons was honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Parsons served as the Association’s President 35 years ago, in 1978.

Congratulations to all the winners!

Arista Homes
Aspen Ridge Homes
BLVD Developments
Canderel Residential
Centrecourt Developments
Chestnut Hill Homes
Concert Properties
Curated Properties
Devron Developments
Fieldgate Homes
Geranium Corporation
Greenpark Homes
Honeyfield Communities
Icon Homes
LeMine Investment Group
Lifetime Developments
Lindvest Properties
Mattamy Homes
Minto Communities
Monarch Corporation
Paradise Developments
Pemberton Group
Siteline Group
Sorbara Group
Starlane Homes
Streetcar Developments
TACC Developments
Trimart Corporation
Urban Capital Property Group
Zancor Homes


In a special BILD Awards presentation, our very own Lori-Ann Tilley represents BILD and Habitat for Humanity. We are proud to support Habitat in building our community.

Posted in Awards, Customer Story, Events, Important Event, Media Coverage, News | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

35th Annual BILD Awards - GTA's best homebuilders

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) has just announced the finalists for the 35th annual BILD Awards. Congratulations to all the finalists!

The BILD Awards recognizes the builders, developers, architects, designers, and sales and marketing professionals that build the Greater Toronto Area. Almost 1,000 submissions this year will boil down to the winners to be announced on April 24, 2015.

See below for select nominees, or visit the BILD Awards website for the full list.



  • Stanton Renaissance
  • TAS
  • Times Group Corporation
  • Tridel Corporation


  • Empire Communities
  • Mason Homes
  • Midhaven Homes Ltd.
  • Sean Mason Homes


  • Minto Communities, Minto Westside – Burdifilek, Montana Steele Strategic Marketing, Wallman Architects, Ferris + Associates
  • Minto Communities & North Drive Investments – Yorkville Park – Ferris + Associates, Montana Steele Strategic Marketing, Page+Steele/IBI Group Architects and Interiors
  • Times Group Corporation, Uptown Markham – Kirkor Architects
  • Tridel Corporation, Awuavista at Bayside – Arquitectonica, Brandon Communications, Drive Agency, Hines, Janet Rosenberg & Studio, Kirkor Architects


  • Icon Homes, Royal York – Montana Steele Strategic Marketing
  • Sean Mason Homes, Sean in Barrie – BAM Building Advertising and Marketing Inc.
  • TACC Developments, Arista Homes, Fieldgate Homes, Paradise Developments, Starlane Homes, Upper Unionville – Hunt Design Associates Inc., VA3 Design Inc., Jardin Design Group, Suriano Design Consultants Inc., Cole Engineering Group Ltd., Jade Acoustics Inc., Soil Engineers Ltd., the MBTW Group, KLM Planning Partners Inc., John G Williams, Beacon Environmental Ltd., David B. Searles Surveying Ltd., Archaeological Services Inc.
  • Times Group Corporation, Village Park Executive Townhomes – Life Construction Ltd., Ryan Design


  • Canderel Residential Inc., YC Condos – Yonge and College – Brandon Communications, Burdifilek Interior Design, G. Ryan Design, Graziani + Corazza Architects, Kingsett Capital
  • LeMine Investment Group & Devron Developments, The Academy – Kirkor Architects and Planners, McOuat Partnership, Milbourne Real Estate, Union31
  • Minto Communities, Minto Westside – Burdifilek, Montana Steele Strategic Marketing, Wallman Architects
  • TAS, Kingston & Co Condominiums – Main & Main


  • Arista Homes, Fieldgate Homes, Opus Homes, Paradise Developments, Aurora Trails – Ryan Design, Albert David Design, Guideslines Advertising, Gordana Car Interior Design
  • Curated Properties, Lanehouse on Bartlett – Audax Architecture, Kim Graham and Associates, Nivek Remas, Mint Agency, Paul Johnston Unique Urban Homes
  • Mattamy Homes Ltd., The Preserve – Bensimon Byrne, Cicada Design Inc., Gardy Interiors Ltd., Jac Jacobson Photographics, Q4 Architects Inc.
  • Sean Mason Homes, Sean in Barrie – BAM Builder Advertising & Marketing Inc.


  • Great Gulf Homes, One Bloor – Cecconi Simone, Hariri Pontarini Architects, Janet Rosenberg and Studio
  • Sorbara Development Group, Beacon Condominiums – In2ition Realty, The Walsh Group, Union 31, Wallman Architects, Rafael+Bigauskas Architects, thincdesign
  • Tridel Corporation, Alter – architectsAlliance
  • Urban Capital Property Group, RC3 – Claude Cormier + Assocites, Saucier + Perrotte Architects, ZAS Architects


  • Canderel Residential Inc., YC Condos – Brandon Communications
  • Circa, 1733 Bathurst – Brandon Communications, L.A. Inc., Private Services Realty Ltd.
  • Curated Properties, Lanehouse on Bartlett – Kim Graham and Associates
  • Geranium Corporation & Pemberton Group, Friday Harbour – The Brand Factory, The Morrison Group



Posted in Awards, Customer Story, Events | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off