Michael Vincent Custom Homes gives its homebuyers a pleasant homebuilding experience.
AFTER THE OFTEN tedious and cumbersome process of building a custom home, homeowners can be disgusted by the entire endeavor, walking away with everything they wanted but not completely satisfied. At Michael Vincent Custom Homes in suburban Chicago, Michael Ciampi makes sure the intense endeavor that is custom homebuilding leaves his clients ready to design their next home with his team.
“One thing we do is keep that relationship,” Ciampi says. “We’re involved with them in this family relationship for six to eight months while we’re building their home, so we like going back to ask about their whole experience. People like that and like the idea that we’re doing that stuff.”
Ciampi – a second generation builder as the son of Gary Ciampi – launched Michael Vincent Custom Homes in 2007 after spending the first four years of his career working in the HVAC business. He eventually moved into remodeling and handyman work, which allowed him to save the money to partner with his father to build their first house together in 2007.
Since then, Ciampi has performed construction of new homes and remodeling work throughout the Chicago suburbs.
“Custom building is still our best thing,” Ciampi says. “We offer the overall experience for our clients, and we give the most options as far as selections for materials for inside and outside of the house.”
The Next Generation
Michael Vincent Custom Homes works with a number of younger clients, according to Ciampi, which requires a different approach than in years past. He says these clients are heavily involved with every decision of the homebuilding process, which motivated Michael Vincent Custom Homes to revamp its selection processes.
Instead of working on an overall budget for the entire home, clients are given allowances for every portion of the house. For example, a home may have a $5,000 allowance for the tile used throughout the house, so customers may spend more of that amount on the bathroom instead of the laundry room. Clients also know if they go over this amount, they will have to expand their budget.
“This gives them more freedom to build the house they envision,” Ciampi says. “In the past, clients did not have the same access to the internet and pictures/ideas they have now. This gives them a lot more ideas to choose from.”
This helps immensely when customers begin seeking the types of components they want in their homes. Ciampi says his customers are focusing more on insulation and air sealing practices.
“Energy-type stuff is the bigger focus, and that is probably the No. 2 thing we get questions about – how efficient are windows, insulation, air sealants, tightness of the structure,” Ciampi says. “The overall efficiency of everything is a popular thing to talk about. The designs and materials still trump anything else as the most important”
Maintaining Consistent Quality
To keep the quality levels of homes uniform, Ciampi says Michael Vincent Custom Homes relies on the same base of subcontractors. “We’re very loyal to our subcontractors,” Ciampi says. “The only time we switch is if there is a scheduling conflict. Otherwise, we try to stick with the same trades, which seems to help our relationships with them and our clients, as well.”
Michael Vincent Custom Homes encourages its subcontractors to form relationships with its clients, as well.
“Our customers deal a lot with our subcontractors directly,” Ciampi says. “If we’re not around, clients walk around and the subs have no problem talking with them. It makes for a good experience with clients.”
In 2014, Michael Vincent Custom Homes delivered one of its finest projects in recent years, a 3,500-square-foot home in Geneva, Illinois. According to Ciampi, the home features customized options throughout the kitchen, including high-end cabinetry and appliances.
A luxurious master bathroom offers backsplash protection, large 12-by-24-inch gray tiles and a freestanding Kohler tub. Ceilings are highlighted with crown molding and accent paint. Specifically in the master bedroom, the ceiling has a barrel-vaulted design.
Although this project was relatively problem-free, Ciampi says his company learned the importance of staying organized with paperwork throughout the building process.
“Almost every house is the same – stay on top of change-orders, and you and your clients will be happy,” Ciampi says. “You need to stay on the business side of it, as well.”
Ciampi says he would like to see Michael Vincent Custom Homes grow to a size where he could buy larger parcels of land to develop into subdivisions of 10 to 15 houses at a time.
“We’re getting into more infill-type properties, which is becoming popular,” Ciampi says. “Land is becoming more scarce, so we stay on top of designs and in front of the public as a trendsetter and premier builder in the area.”