Walter Radd understands what’s on the line for his customers and he cares about their dream. He knows many of his clients have saved their hard-earned money to be able to make this dream happen. When clients come to Radd Builders, they are entrusting Radd and his team with one of the biggest investments of their lives and Radd takes that responsibility to heart.

“They find us and we design their house and build it,” Radd says. “We build custom homes all over Hillsborough County not just in one development or area. They save up a long time for something like this, so we want to give them a quality home.”

Radd literally grew up in the construction industry working in the family concrete business. Radd realized early on that working in the hot Florida sun was not what he wanted to do long-term. So working with his dad he built his first house while still in high school. Eventually he got his license and then started Radd Builders about 25 years ago. Now Radd and his loyal support staff consistently build 20 to 30 homes each year.

Building is in Chris Hilsman’s blood. His father and grandfather built every structure on the family’s dairy farm with their own hands, and when Hilsman’s father finally decided to get out of the dairy business in the early 1980s, homebuilding was a natural progression. Hilsman worked for his father’s company on and off for many years before he ended up in the commercial construction business, but that changed once he visited a friend in Colorado and was offered the opportunity to build custom homes. Hilsman says he fell in love with the challenge and creativity of building custom homes, and that inspired him to found Pilot Builders in 1997. 

Today, Hilsman has grown Pilot Builders into one of the most successful independent custom homebuilders in Georgia. Along with its custom homebuilding services, the company provides renovations, interior design and design/build services. Hilsman says the company’s reputation for solid, high-quality construction is known throughout the industry, and the integrity with which it works is a major component of its success. 

Old Orchard Homes builds about 35 to 50 homes per year in the prosperous mid-Toronto neighborhood. 

The company was founded 10 years ago. At that time, Old Orchard Homes was building projects on spec and then selling them. Now, the company has a custom single-family homebuilding business and a development division. “We changed our business model to include building for hire,” Principal Tony Siesto says.

The development division transforms raw land into infill developments such as townhouses and midrises. Some projects are bigger than others. One current project will include 200 units. 

Old Orchard Homes’ 335 College St. project, for example, is a four-story building in the heart of the vibrant urban Kensington Market steps from the University of Toronto campus. A total of 25 units will range from 300 to 750 square feet. There will be retail space, as well.

When looking for their ideal home, prospective homeowners look for different amenities and a layout that will best fit into their lifestyles. Metropolitan Homes  Inc. has been specializing in building low-maintenance, “life-expressing homes” on Colorado’s Front Range for the past 20 years. 

“We spend a lot of time studying how, where and why people live the way they do,” President Greg Krause says. “We design our homes for individual’s ever-evolving lifestyle.” Its “life-expressing homes” slogan emphasizes Metropolitan Homes’ goal of building homes as distinctive as the people who live there. 

 The Englewood, Colo.-based company specializes in building a diverse range of products, including lofts, flats, townhomes, golf villas and single-family homes. The properties are low-maintenance living environments that mostly appeal to empty nesters, Krause says. “When we choose a location to build, we come with clearly defined goals, quality planning and design, and an uncompromising commitment to the promise of life-expressing homes,” the company states. 

Haselwander Homes built its first custom home in 1965, and nearly 50 years later the family owned and operated company continues to receive rave reviews for the work it has done over the years. Principal Greg Haselwander is part of the second generation of family leadership with the company, and he says he continues to be amazed by the positive reactions it gets from people whose houses were built many years ago. “It’s remarkable to stand at a home and garden show and have people come up that are of my dad’s generation and have them say, ‘Your dad and uncle built my home, and we’re still there today,’” he says. 

Creating long-lasting relationships with customers has been Haselwander Homes’ primary focus since its inception, and that’s a major part of the reason why the company has built more than 1,200 homes. In many cases, the company has built multiple houses for the same customer, and in one case it ventured out of its usual territory to build one home for a client who insisted on a Haselwander-built home. Haselwander says this is because the company understands what customers want and does everything it can to ensure they get it. “They don’t forget; they know how they were treated then,” he says. 

Building high-quality homes is front and center in Far West Industries’ operations. “We are not about having the lower building price per square foot,” says Scott Lissoy, president and co-owner of the Santa Ana, Calif.-based company. “Our homes are built in a way that is cognizant of our costs while focusing on quality materials and construction.”

The company foregoes many of the marketing-related bells and whistles of home selling such as large, well-appointed sales trailers or ornately-detailed sales offices, concentrating instead on acquiring and installing top-of-the-line finishes and materials in the model and production homes. “We’re more interested in spending money on permanent features in the homes than building temporary facilities on a construction site that you eventually remove,” he adds. “We won’t spend $40,000 on finished carpentry for a sales office that we know will just be ripped out in the end. That $40,000 is better spent on the level of the standard features of a Far West home.”

Thanks to its boutique niche of multifamily condominiums and apartments of from 20 to 100 units in the Washington, D.C., area, Ellisdale Construction and Development’s projects can take advantage of urban infill locations that are too small for large investors. 

“You won’t get any institutional investors excited about 60 units – it’s too small,” points out Kevin Ash, president and founder of Ellisdale Construction and Development. “So that’s where we develop. We’re under their radar. We execute in that middle layer, and there’s a lot less competition. We don’t do cast-in-place buildings. We do light-gauge metal and wood buildings. It sets us apart – we understand the nuances of wood.”

Robert Carroll’s marketing professor at Louisiana State University pointed out that a company can specialize in offering only two of the following three business attributes: quality, service or price. “You can’t have all three, because either you will get so popular that you can’t keep up with the service, or for the best quality, you’re going to have to make some concessions on price,” Co-owner Robert Carroll remembers. “You can’t be everywhere at once and do all things at once, my professor would say. So you have to decide what is your target – what can you bring best to your client? Service and quality is where we’re going to focus.”

Edward Carroll Construction LLC is a family owned, residential homebuilder specializing in custom homes to fit any budget, from high-end custom housing through mid-range luxury homes all the way to starter homes. The company has been serving the greater Baton Rouge area and surrounding parishes since 1992.

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