In today’s wild economic climate, I have several clients continuing to move forward with custom home plans; however, I have even more moving forward with large-scale remodels and renovations. Actually, it’s a great time to build or remodel because there is abundant labor pool available, property values are reduced, and the potential to achieve a greater return on your investment is much higher. Many of my clients surmise that building now means more for less and greater returns later-while others, who have decided to stay put and make the changes to their homes they’ve always wanted to make-feel their investment will pay off down the road in terms of resale value.
The Customers’ Shoes
As a custom builder, I try to look at projects from the customer’s perspective: from a straight cost/value standpoint and also from an investment perspective. More often than not, I bring customers knowledge of what is going on around them and how this may affect their remodel decision. I had one customer say I was helpful to him in the process of what to actually do with his house and that I came across more like an appraiser than a builder because I knew what would and wouldn’t help his resale value. Some common questions to ask are, “What will new families looking to buy homes in the next 10 years expect to see in the price range of the home?” or “Is it smart to add the extra room off the back or finish the basement?”
Resale value is always on my mind when I am looking at projects for clients. Even if clients aren’t initially aware of the importance, I do my best to stress that their home is an investment and that should never be overlooked. Even the owner who swears they will never move needs to be aware of resale value-because in many cases, people do move. A very important consideration is whether the subdivision will justify their cash investment. In other words, it’s critical to make sure that their home is not the highest priced on the street. Other practical considerations are maintenance issues. There is nothing really new about siding, but maintenance free siding really helps resale because most people simply don’t want to deal with maintenance issues if they can be avoided.
Free Consultation Comes with the Territory
I consult with clients prior to any money being spent and am simply a phone call away. Nor do I charge for my time in guiding owners through the process of remodeling. I notice as I have done more remodeling projects lately that my day-to-day visits seem as important as visits to new build sites. And why not? Everyone is concerned with their home-whether it’s a new $3 million dollar home or an existing home that is getting a makeover. I say this with modesty, but my clients value my opinion and expect my involvement after the sale-and I give it to them.
I have numerous architects with whom I work depending on the project. I meet with clients and architects as part of my consulting for free. No strings attached. It is worth it for me to start the relationship by spending the time for free. It’s important for us to win projects, but it’s less about the job than it is the relationship. If I put my experience, value and passion into building relationships, then the project will happen; but for my company, it’s about servicing the relationship.
Selection and Efficiency
When it comes to my clients, I do everything from small repairs to $3 million dollar custom homes. Why? It gives me a great perspective on the wide variety of products and trends in the industry and allows me to help clients with the actual selection process.
As with custom home builds, owners have a fair amount of work to do when a project is under way and making all the selections can be trying. I’ve created the KTSB Selection Guide to give owners a document that keeps the cart behind the horse. No need to pick out cabinet hardware when we need to know the shingle color. It’s the relatively small things that make a big difference in keeping projects on time and within budget.
When I consult with clients, I often have them complete a wish list before a remodeling project begins. Adding things after the project has begun will always happen, but it only makes economical sense to have the scope of work identified (as much as possible), so we can get the full idea of what is desired and manage the project more efficiently. Even if the wish list can’t be fully completed, I guide clients through the pros and cons and completing the list in order or shifting the order around to make better sense in the future.
I feel very fortunate to be able to make a living doing what I love to do. With 20 years of experience in many levels of construction, I have a lot of different perspectives that I can share with clients that translate into value-for the money spent initially, but also for the longer-term investment. Typically, I don’t compete on price because I use better sub-contractors and better products but most people choose Kenny Terbrock Signature Build because of the service. Anyone can be cheaper but not everyone can deliver exceptional value for the money.
I put my signature on every project and on every relationship.
Kenny Terbrock Signature Build