Top 10 Reports Home Builders Should Use

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Top 10 Reports Home Builders Should Use

Your home building business is unique and ever-changing. Do you know exactly what’s going on in it? If you are like most of the builders I've worked with over the years, your answer is , “Of course I do!”

That’s because home builders are do-ers! Most are making decisions on-the-fly to keep things moving. It’s that “in the trenches” activity that make most professionals believe they have a true read on their company.

But, gone are the days of using guesswork, hunches, or general rules of thumb. Just because you’re making decisions daily, you shouldn’t confuse that with making the “right” decisions. The smart home builder gets out of the “day-to-day” regularly to objectively look at the state of the business. That’s where reports matter!

We asked the Professional Services Team from MarkSystems® to share their favorite reports, out of the 300+ standard reports generated by the software and here we have narrowed the list to our Top 10 favorites. These ten Pre-designed Reports pull real-time data from your home building organization so you can make smart and sound business decisions when needed. I’m sure you’ll find the same value when you incorporate these reports into your management process!

1. BACKLOG REPORT - This report shows you multiple Developments on one report (including specs and model homes).

Purpose: See your current work-in-process at a glance

Key Use: Quickly see estimated settlement dates for cash management and quickly spot jobs that are underperforming.

Suggested Frequency: Once a month

“Everything starts with the backlog – from initial ratified sales through closing. This is your total inventory (or Work-In-Process). It’s the key to managing your cashflow.” - Ron Olson, Senior Consultant

2. HOUSE SCRUB REPORT – This report provides a detailed view of one house at a time. You can automatically generate it in Excel. Unlike other reports, this one shows the balance-to-complete and quickly highlights costs that have not yet been paid.

Purpose: Evaluate budgets vs. actuals, variances, committed costs, project totals and costs-to-complete

Key Use: Use to analyze all homes to see how to approve.

Special Use: Use to review spec homes when considering a Sales Offer

Suggested Frequency: After every house closing

“A House Scrub Report on every house should be a mandatory practice for ALL of our Home Builders! There is simply no better way to get a full view of what happened on the job. It is also, hands-down, the best report to use for accepting an offer on a house under construction!” - Curt Boatright, Senior Consultant

3. BUDGET ANALYSIS OPTIONS SEPARATE WITH GROSS PROFIT – This report shows the profitability of houses that are being or have been built and lets you review information for multiple developments and/or houses.

Purpose: Review individual houses by cost code in a given time period to see actual profit

Key Use: Use to quickly analyze profitability of Base House – and – each Option.

Suggested Frequency: Twice a Year for multiple houses or – each time a house closes

“Company profitability requires keeping an eye on actual costs vs. budgets regularly. This report allows you to do just that – and – the breakout of Base House vs. Options makes it easy to spot when something’s not right.” -Amanda Nutt, Implementation Specialist

4. ELEVATION AUDIT REPORT – This report gives you an idea if you’re missing key purchasing data for any Model/Elevation budget.

Purpose: Review models and elevations by cost code to quickly see which costs have Trade Partners attached (and where those WO/PO’s will be generated from)

Key Use: Finding holes in your purchasing database for a single Model/Elevation

Suggested Frequency: Once a Year – or – when setting up a new Model/Elevation

“This report really is the key to automating the Purchasing System. It’s the only report that allows you to verify that all of your purchasing information is set up correctly to release 100% of your work orders and purchase orders on every job!” -Jeff Muir, Senior Consultant

5. ELEVATION COMPARISON REPORT – This report allows you to see the purchasing data, by each Cost Code, that you have built for multiple Model/Elevations in one report.

Purpose: Review all models/elevations by cost code and compare sales price, cost per square foot, and margins.

Key Use: Quickly comparing your purchasing database across multiple Models/Elevations

Special Use: You can see the cost per square foot for each cost code, so as you start talking to new trade partners you can see what you’re currently paying.

Suggested Frequency: Once a Year – or – when setting up a new Development

“I love this report! It’s a great way to quickly spot missing budget items by cost code – and – it allows management a convenient way to make sure pricing covers costs while balancing that pricing with market conditions.” -Chris Mierchuk, Senior Consultant

6. PROFORMA ANALYSIS – This report gives you an at-a-glance view of projected profitability before accepting an Agreement of Sale.

Purpose: Quickly determine if a proposed sale should make desired budget

Key Use: View one specific house at a time and see the cost, sale price, and profit margin broken out by base and for each option

Suggested Frequency: Before EVERY Sales Agreement is ratified

“If you want to see the true power of a fully integrated MarkSystems in one report – this is it! You can quickly see both sales prices AND profit margins broken out by Base House and by Option before you even accept a sale!” -James Ramsay, Implementation Specialist

7. HOUSE BUDGET COMPARISON SPREADSHEET – This report lets you compare specific houses side-by-side and see where things were different.

Purpose: Compare budgets of multiple houses side-by-side by cost code to determine why one made more (or less) than another one.

Key Use: Learn from past experience and improve in the future to reduce variances

Suggested Frequency: Twice a Year

“This report is very useful to analyze the difference between two houses of the same model and elevation selection. Quickly see where costs deviated from the budgeted amount!” - Krissy Majkutowski, Implementation Specialist

8. PRICE COMPARISON REPORT - The report lets you quickly determine which Trade Partner offers the best bottom-line price and determine who you want to use.

Purpose: Compare pricing for material lists between up to three different vendors.

Key Use: Control your costs by keeping Trade Partners in check

Suggested Frequency: Anytime new pricing is received

“Run anytime you get new prices or add a new Vendor. Then, make sound business decisions based on your needs. But, remember, the lowest price isn’t always the best option.” -Mary Haskell, Senior Consultant

9. MILESTONE MATRIX REPORT – This report lets you see what slippage has occurred and milestones are being missed. Use for multiple developments at once and it’s exportable to Excel.

Purpose: Quickly review key scheduling dates for Houses under construction to watch for slippage.

Key Use: Tighten up schedules by watching for bottlenecks on your jobsites

Suggested Frequency: Once a Month

“Run once a month to watch for schedule anomalies that could affect profitability and customer satisfaction!” Brad Haubert, Senior Consultant.

10. OPTIONS TRACKING REPORT - This report is a great way to see the average sale price, costs, profit, and profit percentage for options you are offering.

Purpose: Review how many times you sold each option in a community in a selected date range.

Key Use: Keep your Option database clean and current. Remove low sellers and adjust low-profit Options.

Suggested Frequency: Twice a Year

“Run twice a year to eliminate options that aren’t selling, adjust pricing to meet margin targets and see option trends over time. What a great way to keep your Option List manageable!” Vicky Schmidt, Implementation Specialist

And there you have it! The Top 10 Reports from industry experts who use MarkSystems every day. Have a report that you think should have made the Top 10 list? Add it to the comments below.

And, for those of you who love to dig deeper into your data for even more reporting than the 300+ standard reports already available in MarkSystems – you might want to check out the Executive Dashboards that allow you to quickly generate custom reports using your database of information.

Learn more about Reporting and Dashboard functionality in MarkSystems.

About the Author

Brad Haubert joined the family home building business right out of college in 1993 and spent 25 years actively working in all parts of managing the business. During that time, he managed the construction of over 1,000 new homes. Working in a small to medium-sized home building company, he was able to work in all the departments: sales, purchasing, construction management, warranty, accounting, and land development. Brad joined ECI as a Senior Consultant in 2017 and consults with home builders all across North America. In addition, he teaches the weekly WebClass to train MarkSystems’ users on different aspects of the software – proudly using his unique sense of humor to make training both informative and fun (well….it’s fun to him….). Recently, Brad launched his own podcast, The Sticks and Bricks Podcast (https://anchor.fm/brad-haubert), to focus on the situations that home builders face every single day. He draws on his own personal homebuilding experiences to discuss topics with other professionals in the industry who have (or are still) facing the same things. You can connect with Brad on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/bradhaubert.