Prefab Homes and Custom Design Capabilities

Prefab Homes and Custom Design Capabilities

Show Notes:

Architectural design and all of Landmark Home and Land Company’s custom design capabilities.  Designing for unique sites and how to make a challenging site beneficial.  Technology and safety items in homes.


Interviewer: Greetings folks! And welcome to Episode 37 of the Panelized Prefab Kit Home Building Show. With me in studio as usual is the President and Founder of Landmark Home and Land Company, a company which has been helping people build their new homes where they want exactly as they want across the nation and worldwide since 1993, Steve Tuma. Steve, how are you doing, buddy?

Steve Tuma: I’m doing great. I just thought you always ask me how I’m doing. I don’t think I’ve ever asked you how you’re doing. And 37 episodes, isn’t that cool?

Interviewer: The listeners don’t know that you just keep chained to a chair and then keep on working on recording all this stuff. [Laughter] I am enjoying these podcasts. I do podcast on other topics, entertainment field and stuff. But I really enjoy these. I learn a lot. I’m interested in architecture. I’m pretty like you, I’ve travelled around the world a lot and I do observe how other cultures, not just feel but look what their houses and their buildings look like and the history of these places. And when I come on here with you, I just learn a lot. It’s great. I really appreciate that. So I thought for today’s show, we get into just some general questions regarding panelized home building. So yeah, let’s just start with some real basic stuff. Like say, a Landmark customer wants to build a truly unique home, what support does Landmark provide from the get-go?

Steve Tuma: Well, we can help in a variety of ways because uniqueness could be in that it’s one of the most energy-efficient homes. It can also be the building site. It can also be the architectural design or features or blending of architectural features and design types. So we are fully capable of doing a typical American ranch home. We are fully capable of doing a whole variety of other homes. We actually have a customer, a repeat customer that wants to do one like the international style of Mies van der Rohe.

Interviewer: That’s interesting.

Steve Tuma: Yeah. So there’s a whole different situations that come into doing that. Some customers want to do something on the edge of prairie style. We had a Bauhaus project come through. Sometimes people get in a very modern types of design. So we are capable of doing all those details but what we found is a lot of our customers that do that, they kind of get into it themselves. It’s their hobby to say, “Hey, I like this.” And they understand what it is. So we work with them as a resource to take their ideas and mold it into a set of plans so that they can actually build a home with.

Interviewer: Sure.

Steve Tuma: Yes. So there’s the technology or energy efficiency side. We could help with that. We could help on using a unique building site. We are getting more and more people in different rock areas or in the Western areas, in these beautiful red rock areas. When I meant rock, they are building like on hills, mountains that are granite, granite escarpments. There are a lot of different situations, a lot of people building on lakes or just raw prairie land where they enjoy the prairie land. So the ability to design something to work in that makes a lot of sense but I don’t want to take away from just a regular city lot as well because that can be unique and making it unique. It may just be a 50 x 100 lot but the way you put a house in there and dress it up and make it enjoyable is good. So basically, how we help is we got a good set of ears. We listen to what people say and kind of take their vision and put it on paper and run it by them to make sure they are OK. So I guess it’s the caring. One of our customers said in a review said, “The difference is they care.”

Interviewer: Wow!

Steve Tuma: So yeah.

Interviewer: That’s a good testimonial.

Steve Tuma: Well, it’s that – just one word like that or two words, “They care.” It was interesting. So it’s also our desire to go through and be supportive of people that want to go through and take advantage of the newer technologies, the different ways of designing, the different features, the different understanding of people’s lifestyle so that a house could be built in a way that they can enjoy it.

Interviewer: Sure. Let’s go back to architectural features, things like that. And how do you guys go about helping someone with a designing sort of a specialty sort of house for unique sites like you were talking about? Some sites are very unique. They are very rocky or they are hilly. How do you guys go about that process?

Steve Tuma: Well, let’s take project that we are going to be working on very soon. They have – it’s in Utah, in one of those areas where there’s – it’s in Southern Utah. There’s a view every single direction.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: The natural stone, rocks, terrain, different situation that they are – and that’s just the natural stone but then the effects of the sunrise and the sunset and the view. So what’s interesting is he has got a slope piece of land that’s just covered with boulders. So someone figures, “Well, how are you going to put a slab in there?” Well, you’re not. How are you going to put a basement in there? Unless you ruin the land, you’re not.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So we are actually working and creating like a low impact foundation, pilings, piers, so that the house can span the rocks and be properly supported, and then the design of the home kind of one of those boxy modernistic homes with a slope roof. We are going to position the house for the prime view but there are going to be views and decks around it so you can literally be anywhere in the house and enjoy it. So, the sun is coming up, you might sit in one part of the house or the sun is going down, you might choose to sit in another part to take advantage of the view. How do you do it? You spend a lot of time thinking about it. We’ve got a good level of knowledge. We have different people that we can access their knowledge base if there’s something unique. The actual structural part, making the house stand up, we work with our architectural designers, tie them in with geotechnical engineers and also structural engineers to make sure that all this flows. And then we can get some organic architecture ideas. So it’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that where we have, and that’s the key. We are kind of one call and we have access to these resources to get it taken care of. Not a lot of people are going to understand how the geotechnical report affects their design of their home. We do especially in a unique situation like that. So it’s taking time to sit and listen and understand what someone has and understand the land instead of just taking an idea of hey, how you would build an Iowa farmhouse and expect it to be in Southern Utah in one of those beautiful sites? You’ve got to kind of clear your mind of the idea and understand it just as you wouldn’t necessarily put a modernistic pure house, house on piers in Iowa. So there are different settings.

Now, you can do what I just mentioned but different people have different ideas of what they want. We are getting more and more people wanting to do more designs.

Interviewer: Something you brought up just now I thought was kind of interesting. But I am one of those people that I’m always weary of maybe saying something stupid or asking a stupid question because I just don’t know. It seems to me that you guys over at Landmark, there are no stupid questions. You’re all about helping people learn the process as they build. I find that really unique and interesting.

Steve Tuma: Well, that’s the point about it because the idea of the stupid question is that’s really a customer saying, “Help me.” And that’s the way that we look at it. And amazingly, if we can joke about this, sometimes has a stupid question, you sit there and go, “How has that never come up in 25 years?” And you sit there and you go, “It’s amazing that something as simple can be brought up.” And then also times changed. Just yesterday, I was asked, “Steve, do people still put Cat6 cable in their houses?” That’s the Ethernet for the internet. And I’m like, “You know what? 15 years ago, it was cool. I got Cat5 in my house and I’m ready to go. But now, it’s like …”

Interviewer: Yeah, you never hear it anymore.

Steve Tuma: You don’t.

Interviewer: I never thought about that.

Steve Tuma: Yeah. So what was like really cool and leading edge 15 years ago has been blown away by different technologies that are faster, quicker, and overall better. Now, there are some people that are still going to want the cabling in there but for most home use, they don’t. So suddenly, things that were important like antenna connections for cable boxes, everything is going wireless.

Interviewer: That’s funny.

Steve Tuma: So what’s kind of interesting is sometimes that “stupid question” is just really someone’s dream to say, “How do I do this?” And one that we hear a lot is, “Steve, I don’t have $5 million. How do I build my dream home? How do I make it make sense?” So let’s take an example of a person, it’s in the Midwest he is building in the Upper Peninsula. He wanted to build a specific type of retirement home where he could go fishing, watch the Green Bay Packers, watch his fireplace, look out his windows at the lake on his property and enjoy it. We went through a variety of different structural designs for his roof system so that the package cost could get down so he could get the palace he wanted at the budget he wanted. Instead of just saying, “Hey, that design is too expensive.” We – I went to the back room and worked with a structural people and roof designs so that we can then go through and create the effect he wanted at a price that his wallet was happy.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So that’s – that the technology – a lot of people think technology, electronics, my TV, my stereo, my internet connection. But there are also technologies for the actual building of the home. So I’m digressing a little of the “stupid question.” Those questions are the ones we kind of enjoy. We have answers for them and it’s helping a customer. That’s why people ask them. And sometimes people ask, “Let me spin this,” not spin it, but put it in a different light. There’s so much bad information out there.

Interviewer: Yeah. There you go.

Steve Tuma: That people are asking, they say, “Steve, I was online and this said this. And then I watched this TV show and they said that. And then my friend at the Fresh Fry on Friday told me that. What’s up? How does this work?” And what we found is that their friends are giving him information based off of their limited experience that may or may not apply to our customer’s home. So we are able to clear the air so that they understand why it is that their friend’s situation may have worked in their situation but not for their home or maybe it does work. And that’s the key element is to be able to get people the answer to they understand what they are doing.

Interviewer: Yeah, it comes down to really in most situations, there are no stupid questions. You never know what’s going to come out of just conversation. But I find it – we think that that was a stupid question and yet, it wasn’t. It got us thinking now, how long before you don’t see any new homes that have a phone jack? [Laughs]

Steve Tuma: Isn’t that funny?

Interviewer: Yeah, it’s crazy.

Steve Tuma: Until I mentioned this, it’s kind of like, I never thought of that.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Steve Tuma: But it’s a situation of why does a house evolve to that? And that brings in – we are talking technology but you rewind 150 years, my relatives way back were farmers in the Midwest. They had like two shirts. Their closets are 2 feet wide and a foot deep and they didn’t even have a coat rod, a hanging rod. They had a hanger. I mean a hook where you just take a shirt, you put it on and you hang it in there. So it’s not just the evolution of what’s important for people today as far as the technology, do we need phone jacks? Do we need Ethernet jacks? But what’s your closet like?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Steve Tuma: Your dining room has now turned into a family room, gaming room, home theater in many cases. Your window isn’t just for letting ventilation a little light in. It’s for sitting back and enjoying a beautiful view. It’s relaxation. So it’s pretty interesting.

Interviewer: I can imagine 150 years ago that getting good cell service was probably pretty hard.

Steve Tuma: There probably wasn’t. I think that was the can – two cans with a string between it or you just open the window and say, “Hey Mabel, do you have a gallon of milk?” and hope your voice travels two miles to the neighbor.

Interviewer: Pretty much. Well, speaking of technologies, I’d love to get your thoughts on all of this new smart home technology and how Landmark has been helping people planning house builds like that.

Steve Tuma: Well, the smart technology is amazing. A lot of people think about it as a convenience thing. Driving up in your driveway and the system knows you are there and it opens the garage door, turns certain lights on, puts the house at a certain temperature and plays your favorite music. And it’s pretty amazing. Some of these can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most people are doing something similar and as owner/builders, they are kind of towing it at a hobbyist level. But what we are also seeing which is really, really intriguing is it’s not just the convenience of saying, “Hey, coffee machine turn on or hey, what’s the weather tomorrow?” type of a situation. It’s for people that – maybe there are people that have restrictions in how they could move or they live by themselves or whatever so they can go through. And let’s just say someone – it’s harder for them to walk. They could just say, “Hey, smart home system, lock my front door.”

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So there’s the convenience and the fun and then there’s also the reality of making it livable and helping people have a better life. So what we are seeing is people generally say, “Hey, I need to make it wheelchair-friendly or handicapped-friendly.” We bring some of these ideas together. And I’m like, “I never thought of that.”

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: If my dad is in a wheelchair and he has to crawl out of a wheelchair and he is living on his own into a bed and then he forgets or it’s just going through his mind, “Did I lock the front door?”

Interviewer: Wow! Yeah.

Steve Tuma: Look at the effort it is compared to just, “Hey, smart home system, lock my front door.” So a lot of that is evolving as well. We have a few customers dealing with that and enjoying it. It’s pretty amazing what can be done today.

Interviewer: We’ve talked on past episodes about some of the safety features, newer things that local building departments might be requiring in certain areas. And it’s funny because I was watching something about seat belts and the development of seat belts and 60 years ago nobody wore seat belts. And now these things were all for the better but people were kind of disgruntled and grumbling about the fact that they had to have seat belts in their car. But can you discuss things like let’s say fire sprinkler systems and other safety features one might be dealing within a new home build project?

Steve Tuma: Well, there’s a lot of safety features built in that maybe 40, 50, 60 years ago were uncomfortable to people and they are like, “Oh, that’s weird. Why do I have to have a hallway three feet wide? Why does my toilet have to have so much space around it? Why does a window have to be a certain size so I can get out in a fire?” At that time, it seemed strange and mad and different even though it might be logical. But now, what’s happening is the evolution is getting a little bit deeper because just the way the cities are and the building departments, more and more populated places are asking for fire sprinklers. And where we first saw them coming in was in unpopulated areas where there weren’t fire departments or they were in remote areas where it’s just unreasonable to think a fire department is going to get there in time. And then certain areas specifically, California, has mandated it where it has got to be in every single home. So we always work to design the home with that process. Again, to make sure that it’s designed right. And in the case of fire sprinklers, that’s typically designed by locally licensed designer and installer so we can work with them to supply all the plans, CAD files, whatever they would need to properly get it put together. So eventually, I would think fire sprinklers are extremely common and hopefully no one ever has to use it. But if they do, they would probably be appreciative. The point I think that you’re bringing up is that things change. Things change. People have different understandings of what’s normal, what isn’t normal, why is the government, Big Brother, telling me to do this. And sometimes it sounds a little far out but sometimes it makes a lot of sense. So we want to make sure the home is built properly, the codes are adhered to, as well as people’s desires. Sometimes people look at it and say, “The code is stopping me from doing something.” It isn’t really stopping. We might just have to do it in a different way.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So that’s it. And then another thing is the selective enforcement of building departments. Some building departments have their own ideas of how things need to be done and we are able to work with them to get it put together. So I think what we are kind of talking about is just there are different things that happen for different people.

Interviewer: I think that’s – I really think that’s part of your success though is the fact that people don’t have to be like deers in the headlights. You guys are really there to kind of shine light on some really – we don’t know a lot when we are going into these situations and then I have a company like Landmark to be able to walk us through these things, kind of take our hands as it were. It’s a great service.

Steve Tuma: That’s the idea. And we work with them. I would work with them specifically through the whole project so we’ve got clear and accurate communication. We have an understanding of what each of us are doing and what needs to be done so that the project comes together well. That’s a key element in this is the continuity from the beginning of the project all the way through to the end so that everyone is on the same page and there’s an understanding. And then if the customer ever needs help, there’s a relationship there. We just jump right in and get them taken care of and help move them along.

Interviewer: We talk on this show a lot about energy efficiency and when you’re planning a new home and planning that aspect of things. And I think though that it warrants going over it here because this is the kind of broader overview of the generalized questions that might be ask. But you guys at Landmark, you really begin with designs that are better, energy efficient, and will work best for whatever area the builder happens to be working. Tell us a little bit about that, about where you guys started to get into the knowledge of how you can build the house to actually save you money. I think that’s an interesting topic.

Steve Tuma: Well, it’s interesting because not a lot of people think about that.

Interviewer: Sure. Yeah.

Steve Tuma: They just think that, hey, their energy bill is going to be this amount of money. It’s just a bill. They mail a check out or gets automatically withdrawn and that’s just a part of life. They don’t always look at it as a way to save money down the road and it’s not just saving the money. It’s the comfort of the home and not having drafts, having a good temperature so you can sleep and live the way that you would like to. So we’ve always been involved with it. But what’s nice is that the building departments are now understanding it. Some of them don’t. They ask for it. But a lot of them are paying attention to the energy efficiency to make sure that your home is of a certain standard and therefore it will be more comfortable for you to live in. So what we are able to do is work with different energy calculations to go out and do the theoretical calculation of how much insulation needs to be in and around your foundation, of floor system, walls, roof systems, different details like that, ventilation, heating ventilating air conditioning design. We are able to get that put together. We are also able to work with solar systems and different types of heat system so that someone has an energy efficient home. So, many customers are actually driving this on their own. Our customers are interested in doing this right. And in some cases, it’s the building department doing it. So it’s kind of this nebulous thing because when people look at a house, they are generally saying, “Look at that beautiful bathroom. Look at that fireplace. Wow! I love that kitchen. I can’t wait to have the first family get-together. Steve, when is the last time you are at a party and someone said, ‘Let me tell you about my basement insulation?’” Like never, right?

Interviewer: Yeah, not only when you’re at a party thrown by a bunch of contractors maybe.

Steve Tuma: Yeah. But you know what I’m saying. No one really even talks about that.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So that’s the element that we like to bring into it so that it’s part of the process that we go through and supply the energy efficiency. Now, what a lot of these building departments aren’t understanding is it’s not just the theoretical calculation. It’s making sure it’s installed right and the right materials because a lot of building departments were checking to make sure the plans had the right insulation but they weren’t inspecting it to make sure it was done right.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So you want to make sure you’ve got a knowledgeable contractor or if you are doing it yourself that you are installing it properly. The simple idea is if you take the typical batt fiberglass insulation that you see, it comes in rolls. If you compress that, it doesn’t work. It needs to be expanded out as it’s designed to be so that those air spaces between – help retain the heat or the cold that you wish to have in your home. So if someone is going around just taking this insulation and smashing it between the wall studs, they’re actually killing the effectiveness of the insulation so that that’s one of the basic, basic situations that has happened. So a lot of the energy calculations that we supply come along with mandatory measures that explain to you what to check to make sure that it’s put together and installed properly. So that’s kind of the situation. We could joke about people losing weight on a treadmill. Having a treadmill doesn’t make you lose weight. Using it properly along with everything else helps you. So it’s the same thing with the building and insulation in a house. Make sure that you have the right insulation but you also use and install it properly.

Interviewer: And it’s also the thing of knowing which direction to build your house, knowing where the sun is coming and maybe the overhangs on your roof.

Steve Tuma: Exactly.

Interviewer: You should be in a certain direction. All of that stuff comes into it. And it’s good to have Landmark around to tell us where we are making mistakes and where we are going to blow it.

Steve Tuma: Right. And a lot of states don’t require the calculation to be based on the orientation of the home. So that could be a tricky thing. So theoretically, let’s just say you had chalet type of design with the big glass wall and a prow, big trapezoid windows, big patio doors, well if you have that house face north, it’s not going to get as much solar gain as if you have that glass wall face south.

Interviewer: Right. Right.

Steve Tuma: That sun going in that glass wall just heats the house up tremendously. Well, in the winter, if you’re in a colder climate, it’s pretty cool. But in summer, it’s going to get pretty toasty in there. So that’s why if a customer chooses to go a little deeper we can get into a further analysis in those areas that don’t request energy calculations to be based on the orientation of the home. It can get deep.

Interviewer: We’ve talked a lot about – we are talking about design right now and energy efficiency and design, let’s talk a little bit about something we had touched on in the past but I’d like to dig in a little more here because you’re running more and more into people who want to build houses who don’t necessarily need things like a dining room. It’s not important to them. They have other sort of – their idea of what a good house is doesn’t include certain things that 50 years ago, 40 years ago was just normal. But what about people with unique lifestyles? How does Landmark help people design homes around let’s say people want home offices instead of a dining room and they want gaming rooms or they want more storage for their bicycles or their canoes or kayaks and things like that or they want to build these home theater systems? You guys seem to be getting pretty savvy about how to make things like that, needs like that work for different family lifestyles.

Steve Tuma: Right. It’s very important. The home offices as more and more people work from home or have retirement jobs or technology allows them to kind of telecommute and such, the home offices are important. Sometimes if it’s a simple thing, it’s converting a bedroom. Sometimes a room actually becomes a convertible room, depending upon the size of the home or that home office becomes the guest room, the extra space. So yes, there is an evolution going from just a home being 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, dining room, kitchen, garage to work spaces, daycare spaces, hobby rooms, sewing, clothing, woodworking, different hobbies like that, gaming rooms as you bring up, and as I say, some of these – it’s not just the configuration of the room, it’s the insulation around the room. You have a gaming room going on and someone has got a huge system, they can get pretty loud. So you might want the rest of your home to be. But we’ve had other people – we did a house in Anderson Island in Washington State. It was an oceanfront property. And we designed the walkout basement so that they could just bring their kayaks in, slide them right in some spots underneath the basement. Everything is safe and secure. They could wipe everything down, get change, run upstairs and then get the fireplace going and enjoy a feast with the family. We’ve had families that have antique car collections, some of them restore cars. A lot of families that are into equestrian properties and they want to have a nice home but centered around the horse lifestyle We’ve had people that are into fishing. We’ve had people that are just into coming home from a hard day’s work and staring out the biggest window of the nicest view that they have ever seen.

Interviewer: Right.

Steve Tuma: So we’ve been able to get a lot of those details put together. And sometimes it might be bigger like a window to take advantage of the view. Sometimes it’s the way the kitchen is laid out. Do you have an island, do you have a peninsula, do you have a table type of a scenario? We’ve had some people that home-school their kids so they want a separate little distinct school zone as such. Oh, and then there’s also the house that will evolve into something. Sometimes it’s as simple as a walkout basement that in the future will be an in-law or some other type of living space or workspace or home business type of a scenario. So we like to look at what’s happening now but we also like to look at where the customer thinks they would like their home to be in two years, in five years because sometimes a simple design element like that can save a lot of money in the long run.

Interviewer: That’s amazing. I mean it used to be just you buy a house and then you go, “Well, we are going to turn this room into the office or we are going to turn this room into our den.” And now, it’s people planning, “I’m going to make this a home theater so we need different insulation. We need different types of drywall.” I find that fascinating.

Steve Tuma: Right. No one really thinks about it. But we are there to kind of bring it up at times if the design makes sense. So we’ve had people that have done exercise rooms that are laundry rooms that are home offices. And you look at that and you say, “What are you talking about, Steve?” Well, in some of these theories, if someone works at a desk that’s a sit-down and stand-up desk and they say, “Hey, every 20 minutes, you should get up and walk, jump on the treadmill and you can still catch up on the news or keep in the loop or listen to a podcast while you laundry is going.”

So they are able to get everything done. We’ve got a project like that in Michigan where it makes sense for this particular person’s lifestyle. They are doing a lot, travelling the world, doing a bunch of stuff. So if the laundry machine is right there, it’s a lot better than going down two staircases.

Interviewer: Yeah.

Steve Tuma: Which brings something up, something in my mind brought up, if all the better – if you have a 2-bedroom home or 2-story home, 3 bedrooms on the top level, why do a lot of people put the laundry on the basement?

Interviewer: There you go.

Steve Tuma: Other than a built-in exercise program, it’s not exactly the sleekest situation. So we are getting a lot more people that are requesting washing and dryers to be where the sleeping rooms are and in many cases, in the master’s suite, their own set.

Interviewer: Yeah. That’s funny. You guys are kind of building Swiss army knife houses in certain situation.

Steve Tuma: It kind of seems that way. It is kind of neat but it’s the thinking and the understanding of the process that allows us to kind of put some things together, those little aha moments.

Interviewer: I’ve seen more and more people doing things like putting elevators in their house.

Steve Tuma: Oh yeah.

Interviewer: I saw something on YouTube where this guy had escalators in his house because his elderly mom moved in and he put in an escalator and he just said, “She didn’t like to be closed in. She didn’t want an elevator.” So he put an escalator system in his house. That’s crazy.

Steve Tuma: You know the weirdest elevator system that has been installed in one of our houses?

Interviewer: What’s that?

Steve Tuma: It was a family – he was from Germany. She was from America. They had an interesting life and they were building in Florida. And we’ve seen typical elevators that are run by cables or gear systems. However they are put together, they need a certain space. So generally for one or two people go up and down. He sent me the system and we put in his house. It was amazing. Have you ever seen those tubes when you go to a bank?

Interviewer: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.

Steve Tuma: It’s like that vacuum tube?

Interviewer: Yeah.

Steve Tuma: This was like some weird George Jetson kind of vacuum tube that a person stands in.

Interviewer: Wow!

Steve Tuma: It was really, really interesting. Now, not everyone is going to do that.

Interviewer: Not everyone is going to want to get in to that.

Steve Tuma: But the point is, that’s what the customer wanted. We figured out what needed to be done for the system to be put there, the power requirements, the spacing requirements, any support requirements for it and now there’s a huge vacuum tube that just lets people up and down his house.

Interviewer: Suddenly, the guy with the escalator doesn’t seem so weird. [Laughs]

Steve Tuma: Yeah. He doesn’t seem as cool.


Interviewer: That’s right. So anyway, yeah, let’s go back to restricted sites and unique sites. How about building on restricted sites? Explain exactly what a restricted site would be and what do you do about those situations?

Steve Tuma: Well, sometimes there is a restriction. Say, someone wants to build in a densely populated area and there are only city lots that are 50 x 100 or 70 x 100 or whatever. There are restrictions on the physical space. But then sometimes there are also light restrictions. You can’t just go through and build a big black house and not knock out – stop the light from going through to your neighbors. Some communities have that. Some communities have light restrictions that your light cannot beam up into the sky so that it doesn’t block people’s view of the nighttime sky.

So – and then the obvious one is also just homeowners associations. So the restrictions can be there. Pretty much every project is going to have some form of restriction. The key to it is if there is something that’s limiting, access to water, driveway access, terrain, legal restrictions, setbacks, easements, different things like that, we can work with the family to work on the best design to overcome those issues and make something happen. We are believers of there’s always a way to get it done. We just have to take a little time to talk it through, work it out and make sure that it’s put together properly. So those restrictions, we flip them into an opportunity to figure out a way to get something done. We had a customer in New York. He got a great deal on a piece of land, later to find out that there was no access because there was a river. And because of certain issues with naturalists and things like that, they couldn’t just block this little creek, put a cement driveway across it. We had to work with them to design the proper bridge so that he could get his land so that the water could still flow and whatever animals and however the fact the ecology was all taken care of. So that’s not something that you run across every day. But the point is we did it. We have worked with different people on environmentally sensitive foundations and different areas where wet lands might be affected. It takes some time but things can be done. It’s pretty cool.

Interviewer: You just mentioned about flipping and do a new project. Let’s talk about something I’m sure you’ve dealt with in the past, and that’s people who are actually building to do a quick turnaround and that’s what they have in mind. So let’s talk about house flippers and how Landmark may be can work with situations like that.

Steve Tuma: Well, the interesting thing that has happened is a lot of people after the economic crash had started doing renovations, sometimes just repainting them and flipping them or doing whatever work need to be done. What a lot of those people are finding out is that’s a lot of work and it’s unknown. You go buy and old house. You think you know what’s going on but until you tear a wall apart, you really don’t know what’s behind it. You really don’t know what’s going on in a foundation. So sometime what can happen is those people start realizing that there’s an unknown to their profit.

Interviewer: Sure.

Steve Tuma: So what we are able to do if someone wants to build is work with them. And this also kind of ties into people working on affordability factors for their own homes. There are certain design elements that add a lot of features to the home but don’t always cost a lot. So if you are controlling your budget, you may want to take advantage of that. If you’re someone that’s building for the purpose of flipping whether it’s flipping right away or holding it for the two years as some taxes require and then selling, we are able to work with the people. And I’ll tell you. Here’s the element. A lot of people would say, “Well, isn’t a guy do in developing a little different than a guy that’s building for his own family?” And the way that Landmark Home and Land Company works is we are a resource so that individual that’s saying, “Hey, I want to build a home for my family. My family is growing. I’d like your assistance.” A lot of those elements also work for the house flippers because they don’t have a staff of architects, structural engineers, energy code people and they need access to the knowledge. So what we are able to do is kind of work with them in the same way and say, “Hey, if you are building this home for investment, maybe we want to try a few things.” We always do it right. We always want it done per code. We always want it done so it’s energy efficiency. But sometimes there are different little spins that can be put on a home that’s intended to be sold compared to a home that’s intended to be lived in for 20 years or so.

Interviewer: Right. Well, that’s going to wrap it up for this episode. This has been great. I’ve learned a whole lot today. I’m always thrilled when that happens. But before we go, Steve, as always, I’m going to give you a chance to let the listeners know how to get a hold of you guys over at Landmark Home and Land Company.

Steve Landmark: Well, the best way as I have said is the website at We’ve got a variety of plans on there. We’ve got different discussions on how we can help. Some videos that people might enjoy. We have these podcasts going back to the original one where people can listen and be entertained and also learn something.

We are on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, ad Facebook. You can see some details there and you can also email me at That’s the initials of Landmark Home and Land Company,  Or you could give a call at 800-830-9788. Mike will answer the phone and take care of you and work through it. If you do get a voicemail, we will always call back right away and get you taken care of. We are very proactive and responsive and we are interested in your project to see what we can do to help you out so that you could build a house you want at the right price.

Interviewer: Fantastic. OK. For Steve Tuma and myself, thanks once again for listening to the Panelized Prefab Kit Home Building Show. Be safe out there and we will see you next time.

Steve Landmark: Have a great day.

About Landmark Design Team