Category: Custom Builder News

August 7th, 2017

Managing High Expectations

Categories: Custom Builder News | Tags: , ,

Stock photo of angry clientIt’s a given in any industry where you provide a service, particularly a custom one: at some point, you’ll have to deal with a difficult client.

Whether it’s a disagreement over a timeline, or a perceived miscommunication regarding a design choice, taking small precautions along the way can prevent a huge problem later.

According to Custom Builder, there are a few ways you can prevent problem clients from becoming nightmares – and we’ve summarized our top three for you below.

Tip #1: Set Expectations Early

If you don’t lay it all out from the get-go, you’re sure to have it come back to haunt you. Be sure to sit down with the client and go over all the details and what they can expect from each stage of the project.

Keeping thorough documentation throughout can also be a blessing if a client comes back later with questions and concerns. Saving communication, notes from phone calls, and copies of the contract and any addendums can save you from a painful conversation in the long run.

Tip #2: Don’t Let the Client Drown in Paperwork

Not all clients will understand the blueprints laid out before them. In fact, your average customer probably isn’t going to know what to do with them at all. That’s why it’s extremely important to do what Custom Builder refers to as a “paper walkthrough.”

Similar to walking through the home, you sit down with the client and go through each page of the blueprints and details so they understand exactly what is going into their home. This cuts down on clients who come back and say, “I didn’t know you were going to lay out the room like that.”

Tip #3: Be Transparent on Costs

Often, clients will request changes in the middle of the process that ends up adding more to the budget. In these cases, keeping a detailed cost-tracking system will make it easier when a client demands to see a line-by-line of why their price is so high.

“Invite them to look at the books often during construction, so you don’t have the mother of all closings where the client is scrutinizing every single invoice,” Michael Lenahen advised Custom Builder. As president of Aurora Custom Homes in Jacksonville Beach, Fl, his company has built credibility with clients by showing complete transparency.

As the Saying Goes…

…even the best laid plans of mice & men are bound to fail at some point. If you follow these tips, though, you’ll be able to avoid the biggest catastrophes, nip problems in the bud, and have the tools you need to manage an anxious client.

To read the full Custom Builder Online article, click here

July 10th, 2017

Zero Energy is the New Green

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Countdown to Zero

If there were a catchphrase for the new millennium, it would be “going green.” But what about using almost no energy at all?

Everywhere you look, the environment has become the hot topic of discussion. Whether it’s debating the existence of global warming (spoiler: it exists), electric cars, or solar panels, the green trend is here to stay.

The Stats

Lightbulb stock photoToday, custom builders are putting in more and more effort to ensure their homes use less and less energy, saving you money on bills while also protecting the environment.

A leader in this effort is the state of California. According to Custom Home Online, California’s goal for 2020 is to require builders to construct homes using zero net energy by 2020.

Confused what that means? Let’s break that bad boy down.

Zero net energy (ZNE) requirements mean a building can only use as much energy as it is able to produce from clean, renewable resources. If California meets their goal, per Custom Home Online’s article that could mean Californian homes would not only be zero energy ready – they could even produce their own renewable energy.

The opportunity for success in California (and other states who join the charge) is high: ZNE building is a growing market, and many builders are already tapping into the “going green” trend.

The Solutions

Here are just a few ways builders can work ZNE tactics into their homes:

  • If the location is right, solar or wind power could be a good source for you
  • The use of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) to make sure hot (or cold) air doesn’t seep in from the outdoors unless desired
  • High efficiency windows that not only help with heating and cooling, but also bring in natural light
  • Using Energy Star appliances
  • …and more!

Moving Forward

If you’re building a custom home or thinking about one, be sure to ask your builder how they incorporate green building into their homes. Each builder has their own process, but we should all work towards the goal of zero energy ready homes.

December 14th, 2015

Christmas Light Ideas for Outdoor Trees

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It’s that time of year: everyone is breaking out the lights for some festive holiday cheer. There are so many kinds of lights and so many creative ways to display them for the world. The trickiest, and the most gratifying, are always the trees. Those who are lucky enough to have great trees in front of their houses have been coming up with clever and beautiful ways to decorate for decades. Here are some tree-lighting designs to get you inspired this year.

1. The Spanish Moss. This method is beautifully striking and elegantly simple. Just hang entire strands vertically from the upper branches of the tree to just above the ground. Image via Your Cool City Blog

2. The Net. The concept is simple enough: You drape strands vertically and horizontally around the very exterior of the tree or a group of trees. The result is an interwoven net. Image via Car Angel

3. The Web. Strands are crisscrossed all around the perimeter of a tree to form a ball of light around the trunks. Image via Denver Post

4. The Cone. This would be especially great for evergreen trees which are naturally conical. Strands of lights are attached to a center point at the top of the tree and cascade down to the lowest branches. Image via Five Star Holiday Decor

5. The Classic. Everybody’s favorite way of decorating outdoor trees for the holidays: wrapping the trunks and biggest branches tightly with densely sparkling lights. These look especially good in a series along a street or in a cluster in your front yard. Image via Ourdoor Lighting Nashville

March 20th, 2015

The Miralago Subdivision by Fischer & Frichtel

Categories: Custom Builder News, Custom Homebuilders |


Fischer & Frichtel, one of Missouri’s top custom homebuilders, has recently opened a new phase of cottage homes at Miralago. Located in Cottleville, MO, this multi-village new home community features incredible nearby amenities, including Cottleville City Park, walking trails, lakes, greenspace, and more.

Fischer & Frichtel’s cottage series in Miralago are a collection of 1.5- and 2-story homes ranging from 1300 square feet to over 1600 square feet. Each home has 3 bedroom and 2 – 2.5 bathrooms. Priced under $200K, these homes are ideal for both first-time buyers and those looking to downsize.

Currently, there are seven available home sites to choose from, along with three different floor plans: The Oxford, the Windsor, and the Devonshire. Each of these plans from Fischer & Frichtel are exclusive to the Miralago community. Some second floor options include an open loft space or laundry room add-on. Each bedroom has its own walk-in closet for ample storage space. The lower floor of each cottage is an open concept that gives the home a bright, airy feel.


Also located within the Miralago subdivision are Miralago Estates and Miralago Manors, both offering larger homes and home sites. One of the available homes for sale in Miralago Estates is a Wyndham Classic plan with 4 bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms in nearly 4,000 square feet of living space. The home features the master bedroom on the main floor, floor-to-ceiling windows in a 2-story great room, and a bright, airy kitchen with granite countertops.

To learn more about Fischer & Frichtel and their new and custom homes in Missouri, visit

January 30th, 2015

Keystone Custom Homes in Pennsylvania

Categories: Custom Builder News, Custom Homebuilders | Tags: , ,


Keystone Custom Homes, Central Pennsylvania’s largest independent homebuilder, is building homes in 44 communities throughout Pennsylvania’s Lancaster, York, Lebanon, Cumberland, Chester, and Dauphin counties. The first builder ever to be named America’s Best Builder three times by Builder Magazine and the National Association of Home Builders, Keystone’s philosophy is simple: “build above and beyond for customers, fellow team members, and the global community.”

Part of what Keystone does to build above and beyond offering “Energy Plus” homes that save homeowners energy and money while helping to preserve natural resources. They work to minimize construction waste by recycling drywall and siding scrap. To learn more about how Keystone makes their homes more energy efficient, check out their Energy Plus interactive home.


Although “custom” is in their name, Keystone also has a stock of available inventory ranging from the $100s to above $500K. This gorgeous 3-bedroom, 1.5 bath is located in the Devon Creek community in Lancaster, PA. The community offers a variety of new home styles: estate homes, manor homes, townhomes, garden apartments, and more, all with sidewalks and tree-lined streets. The community also features a park with a playground and convenient access to major highways. Go here to learn more about the Devon Creek community.

Keystone offers buyers a unique online tool to aid them in designing their Keystone custom home. Their KeyChoices system allows homebuyers to log in and choose from over 1500 Value Added features per floor plan. The program calculates the home price based on the chosen features and shows photos of what homebuyers can expect their choices to look like, adding valuable peace of mind early in the building process.

To learn more about Keystone Custom Homes and their communities in Pennsylvania, visit or give them a call at 877-513-0385.

January 22nd, 2015

Summit Custom Homes in Kansas City

Categories: Custom Builder News, Custom Homebuilders | Tags: ,


If you’re looking for a custom home builder in Kansas City, you’ve likely already heard of Summit Custom Homes. Since 2002, they’ve built more than 1,000 single family homes and have won more than 100 awards for their excellence in design. Their current homeowners have nothing but glowing things to say about the builder, which is evident from what is likely the largest collection of positive testimonials from any homebuilder online.

So why does everyone seem to want to build their custom home with Summit? For one, their homes are gorgeous. Summit’s designs are simple and classic, yet still distinct. Their fingerprint is subtle, but it’s there. You can look at a Summit home and know that they built it.


Secondly, Summit goes to great lengths to ensure their homes are energy efficient. On average, a Summit home is 30% more energy efficient than new homes built to the current energy code standard. Their homeowners have noticed a difference–one couple even reported that their energy bills in their Summit home were lower than their previous home, which was 15 years older and half the size.

Another part of Summit’s Green Build Advantage is their sustainable building practices. They work to reduce material waste during the building process and even include built-in recycling space into your kitchen cabinetry. They also offer an optional zoned irrigation system to reduce water waste in the maintenance of your lawn.


To learn more about why Summit Custom Homes is one of Kansas City’s most well known homebuilders, visit www.summitcustomhomeskc.comor give them a call at (816) 246-6700.

December 8th, 2014

Tricord Homes Offers Townhome Specials in 2015

Categories: Custom Builder News, Custom Homebuilders | Tags: , ,



This Saturday, Fredericksburg, VA homebuilder Tricord Homes is hosting on open house to showcase new townhomes in the Mallard Landing community. They invite those looking to own a home in 2015 to tour their quick-move-in homes and learn about options for zero down payment and closing cost assistance. Refreshments will be served.

Mallard Landing has three different floor plans to choose from, all three-level townhomes with their own garages. For a limited time, Tricord is offering to finish the walk-in level of the interior units for free, which includes a recreation room (normally, the lower levels are left as unfinished storage space).


Plans in the community include the Williamsburg (1,782 sqft), the Jamestown (1,976 sqft), and the Yorktown (1,995 sqft). Prices in the area range from the $217s to the $230s. Available add-ons include gas fireplaces in the recreation or great room, granite kitchen countertops, kitchen islands, exterior deck, crown molding, and hardwood floors. All units come with 3 bedrooms.

The community has easy access to I-95 and Historic Downtown Fredericksburg. Shopping, hospitals, recreation, parks, and the Rappahannock River are all nearby.



You won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity to own a Tricord townhome with zero down payment in 2015. The Mallard Landing community is located off of Route 2/Tidewater Trail in Spotsylvania County, VA. To learn more, visit the homebuilder online at or call 1-866-TRICORD.

September 24th, 2014

Parry Custom Homes: Pittsburgh’s Custom Home Builder

Categories: Custom Builder News, Custom Homebuilders | Tags: , , , ,

Parry Custom Homes builds new homes in Pittsburgh, PA


Parry Custom Homes offers home buyers the truly unique experience of not only choosing their dream home’s features, but also being involved in the design process.




The Parry team currently builds new homes in 21 communities around the Pittsburgh, PA area. If a buyer already has a lot in Western Pennsylvania outside of one of these communities and wishes to build a Parry custom home on their lot, they can do that as well.

Mountain Ridge Estates is a Parry Custom Homes community that offers residents the rare opportunity to enjoy the privacy of a wooded mountain atmosphere while still getting the amenities of a neighborhood. This 48-lot community is located in North Huntingdon, and is approximately 15 miles from downtown Pittsburgh.





Many of Parry Custom Homes’s standard features are usually considered extra costs throughout the homebuilding industry. Every Parry home owner will receive customized stone or brick on their foundation, energy-efficient construction, and a slew of other high-end features—including, but not limited to:

  • Plastered garage walls and ceilings
  • Gas fireplace with brick façade and custom mantel
  • Custom kitchen layout
  • Stainless steel appliances
  • Granite countertops in kitchen
  • Marble countertops in bathroom
  • Solid hardwood in kitchen and foyer

Included on Parry’s website is a helpful PDF download of all the specific standard features they offer.




Parry Custom Homes offers Pittsburgh residents a wide range of home designs, from traditional, pre-designed, two-story homes to fully custom homes. Their claim to fame is that they’re flexible enough to work within your budget to help you figure out how to build the custom home you desire.

Parry Custom Homes has also designed a series of exclusive floor plans that are only viewable in the privacy of their showroom. This is to ensure that Parry home designs remain unique and exclusive—no one else will be offering these particular plans.




Parry Custom Homes is a family-owned-and-operated business. The founder, Keith Parry, built a strong foundation of construction knowledge with the Carpenter’s Union before beginning to build his own quality homes.


Parry Custom Homes builds new homes in Pittsburgh, PA

The Parry family



See what customers are saying about Parry Custom Homes.

March 10th, 2014

Fischer & Frichtel: Common Sense, Uncommon Value

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Screen Shot 2014-03-10 at 1.01.40 PMDuring the month of February, Fischer and Frichtel celebrated grand openings in three premiere neighborhoods! The brand new 2014 display models are located in Cimarron Forest in Wentzville, Wyndgate Oaks in O’Fallon, and Miralago in Cottleville.

On February 1st, the Sierra display was opened in Cimarron Forest in Wentzville. The Sierra floor plan starts at $129,900 and sits on 1,480 square feet. This Fischer and Frichtel plan features two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a two-car garage. This model is perfect for a first time homeowner and is open daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Cimarron Forest offers two of Fischer and Frichtel’s floor plans from the Lifestyle Collection. It is in close proximity of major highways and is in the highly acclaimed Wentzville School District.

On February 8th, the Wyndham model was opened in Wyndgate Oaks in O’Fallon. The Wyndham floor plan starts at $425,900 and sits on a spacious 3,752 square feet. This Fischer and Frichtel plan features four bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a three-car garage. This model is perfect for a growing family and is open daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Wyndgate Oaks offers a number of Fischer and Frichtel’s floor plans from the Estates and Heritage Collections. It offers more than fifty acres of wooded common ground, a pool and clubhouse, parks, sports court, and trails for walking and biking.

On February 22nd, the Whitehall model was opened in Miralago in Cottleville. The Whitehall floor plan starts at $237,900 and sits on 1,820 square feet. This Fischer and Frichtel plan features three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a two-car garage. This model is perfect for empty nesters looking to downsize and is open daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm.

Miralago offers six of Fischer and Frichtel’s floor plans from the Manors Collection. It is in close proximity of major highways, the St. Peters Rec-Plex, St. Charles Community College, Old Hickory golf course, and many dining and entertainment options.

Contact Fischer and Frichtel today to go check out these fantastic new model homes, or any of their other amazing communities. If you are looking to build a new custom home around St. Louis, Fischer and Frichtel is the homebuilder for you.

October 13th, 2013

Housing Market Looking Good for 2014

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Custom homebuilders have enjoyed 2013 as a great year for the housing market. In this post we’ll take a look at what made 2013 a great year for builders, what potential roadblocks the market will encounter in 2014, and the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) predicts numbers for the coming year.

There are several factors that have helped make 2013 a prosperous year for custom homebuilders. As the economy continues to recover from the recession, the market is able to support a necessary increase in new home prices. College graduates and young adults, forced to move back in with family or find roommates, are finally able to afford a mortgage. The market had been producing 1.4 million units at its height, but fell to a low of 500,000 during the recession.

NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains, “The cards are in play for a decent and fairly strong recovery in 2014 and particularly in 2015. From the standpoint of GDP growth, housing has been a plus, growing at two, three and four times the rate of the rest of the economy in recent quarters.”

However, the 18% increase in housing starts custom builders have experienced this year have not come without struggles. First, the announcement in July of an increase in mortgage rates slowed sales for the time period following the announcement. Credit conditions have also been made more strict, making it more difficult to qualify for a mortgage in the first place; as of January 10, however, the Ability-to-Repay rule will lessen these tight conditions.

Due to the recent increase in sales, the supply of available new houses has decreased. Scarcity of labor and a low supply of building materials have made it tougher for companies to start counteracting the currently low inventory. This has also led to an increase in new home prices for both single-family and multi-family units.

The National Association of Home Builders predicts that the end of 2013 will mark 924,000 total housing starts, up 18% from 2012’s 783,000 units. Housing starts for multi-family units are predicted to increase by 20% for the year, with single-family starts coming in at 17%.  According to NAHB projections, we can expect to see an additional 31% increase in 2014, which is excellent news for custom builders across the United States.

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