Whether it’s a custom home, infill project or grand-scale renovation, Custom Homes of Virginia delivers.
THE OLD MANTRA about location and real estate remains relevant but has given way to a more holistic vision among progressive homebuilders: lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle.
Custom Homes of Virginia, based in Suffolk, Virginia, and serving the major cities nearby, embraces that approach. Whether a client is investing in a $199,000 or a $700,000 custom home, each is connected with a designer who ensures that the final product is a home that truly feels tailored and also fosters the lifestyle modern families seek.
“They design every element from interior to exterior,” President Kenton McClung says. “And then the client feels like part of the process. We invite them in with the superintendent several times throughout the building process and we walk the property together. We are building the home they’ll likely live in for the next 20 years. It needs to reflect how they’ll live in a house.”
Though the company has a three-pronged approach to its products – custom building in neighborhood-style subdivisions, custom infill lots and large-scale
renovations – quality is the common denominator.
A spacious, airy feeling and warm, inviting gathering places are markers of a Custom Homes of Virginia product.
“I try to keep my finishes similar and floor plans similar,” McClung says. “We like a lot of open space and high ceilings.”
All three of the company’s product ranges typically include what other builders often consider extras: hardwood floors, granite countertops, 42-inch countertops, multiple showerheads and oversized showers.
“With other builders, sometimes it feels like the homebuyer is sitting with a tally sheet, weighing what they can afford to add,” he says. “Our product already stands above. What comes standard is more than what you find with other builders.”
Unlike many other builders, the company started with an intentional focus on providing quality renovations and new construction. The renovations at Custom Homes of Virginia are not an afterthought.
“When we started, one of the things I wanted to do was have good diversity,” McClung says. “I make sure that we’re able to use the same finishes, products and contractors in our new construction that we use in our renovation work.”
Though the company formally launched in 2007, McClung started with renovations in 1998 and began building houses in 2001.
“We don’t specialize in the paint-and-carpet types of renovations,” he says. “Ours are more converting a garage to a master suite, adding a second floor to
a ranch or bringing a more contemporary layout to houses built in the 1940s or even the 1800s.”
Because of its high-end renovation work, the company is able to implement luxurious updates and custom work, such as oversized showers – changes that again reflect an improved day-to-day lifestyle.
While the company caters to clients who want to update a home, the leadership team also looks for spec properties to purchase and update to put back on the market.
“We have seven major cities – different pockets in each city,” McClung says. “[The company’s agent] keeps his eyes open to those areas. I walk the neighborhoods, and I walk all my projects every day. I get to know the neighbors. Sometimes they will call me instead of putting their home on the market.”
Of course, with a 2007 start, McClung was thrust into a difficult market after the company’s first year – a strong start with 14 homes sold. By September 2008, the company had well over $1 million in land, which due to the market crash, suddenly was worth less than $300,000.
“I was able to learn so much from those struggles,” McClung says. “When things are good, those lessons pay dividends.”
McClung also brings other life lessons to his personal and business philosophies. The company supports several charity efforts, including Warm Blankets, an international non-profit charity organization that is committed to creating self-sustaining orphanages. The organization brings widows and orphans together and also includes education for the young people to learn trades and become successful adults.
Even while the current market becomes more complex and trying for homebuilders, McClung also believes in offering value to clients. Sales prices have lagged behind increasing prices in materials, land and labor. More contractors or pseudo-contractors are jumping into the line of thinking that a house easily and cheaply can be flipped, which pulls more property off the market.
But the company maintains arrangements with developers to continue to diversify, and Custom Homes of Virginia carries a large lot bank and delves into developing small subdivisions, too. “We are focusing the company where we are 18 to 20 months out in our land position,” McClung says. “We stay ahead.”