David Glinski of Sunset Custom Homes takes mentoring young homebuyers and the industry seriously.
COUNTLESS HOMEBUILDERS describe their M.O. as building relationships, but Sunset Custom Homes Inc. takes the mantra to a new level. Founder and President David Glinski not only maintains relationships beneficial to his business, but he finds the time to serve as an activist for the construction industry in Tucson, Arizona, as well as helping young homebuyers navigate the confusion often associated with buying a home for the first time.
“There’s no benefit directly to Sunset Custom Homes for doing that type of thing,” Glinski says. “There doesn’t need to be a monetary motivation. It doesn’t need to be something I get out of it – it’s a purely giving aspect. I wish more people would do that – be willing to give something without expecting something back. It’s not a bad way to operate.”
Glinski founded Sunset Custom Homes in 1992 after cutting his teeth by launching Treehouse Woodworking in 1972. This coop of investors and craftsmen is where Glinski says he honed his woodworking skills. He developed his additional building skills through the years as he worked in the various trades, starting from the bottom and climbing his way up.
“To this day, I’ll push a broom if it’s needed,” Glinski says. “There is nothing that can replace hands-on training.”
With headquarters in Tucson, Sunset Custom Homes has delivered houses in the Catalina Foothills, Northwest Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, Pima County and metropolitan Tucson.
“Aside from riding the housing cycles, Sunset Custom Homes is in the business of developing relationships with its clients,” Glinski says. “Having built over 400 homes in the Tucson area, my company has evolved from a custom/small production builder to strictly a custom homebuilder.”
Guiding Young Homebuyers
Glinski performs pro bono work with young couples interested in buying a home as a way to give them direction for one of the largest purchases in their lives. This often involves helping the potential buyers understand the limits of their buying potential.
“If they’ve never built a home before, the process can be daunting and confusing, so I try to point them in a direction that is realistic,” Glinski says. “They may need to recognize that they just can’t afford to build the home they really want this year, next year or the year after. Maybe the best bet is for them to buy property now, which can be found at a pretty good value these days, and sit on it while they save their nickels and dimes for their future dream home.”
All of this is part of Glinski’s mission to help people develop their own road map of how to achieve the American dream of building a new home.
“It’s one of our three necessities of life – food, shelter and clothing,” Glinski says. “I’m not that great at fashion or culinary prowess, so I guess that leaves homebuilding.”
Monitoring Building Codes
Along with guiding young investors on their journey toward homeownership, Glinski plays an active role in shaping and amending building codes in the areas where he works. As a member of the Southern Arizona Home Builders Association (SAHBA), Glinski says he is able to gain access to the government agencies that regulate his industry, especially when these agencies inadvertently contradict each other.
For example, the Pima County Regional Flood Control District has limited the orientation of homes on a lot based strictly on flood events. Another agency – the County Green Building Program – has mandated homes must be oriented strictly on solar events. These codes contradict each other because sometimes a flood potential forces builders to orient a home where it is least efficient for heat gain. “There are methods where we can accommodate both,” Glinski says. "We can mitigate flood problems and still accommodate what we want to do with solar orientation.”
Glinski approached the flood control department to get leeway for a home his company was building. “With the help of SAHBA, we were able to get all parties together and reach a middle ground,” Glinski says. “The builders, engineers and hydrologists came up with a model that gave us more flexibility in orienting the house while maintaining safety for the homeowner. That model has been implemented in new building permits today.”
Of course, Sunset Custom Homes and the rest of the homebuilding industry benefits from this shift in mandates, but Glinski says he does not expect anything in return.
“This is an example where I don’t want anything back,” he says. “I think it was the right thing to do, otherwise we’re not taking advantage of the power from the sun. When solar orientation is implemented wisely, it can increase our comfort in the home while reducing the cost of home ownership. Getting two or three conflicting codes to work together, with safety as a key component, is part of the juggling act.”