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Why build your own Landmark Panelized Home? Save money, understand and control your new home project. Build the new kit home you want versus buying an existing home to remodel.
Interviewer: Hello folks. Welcome to episode 35 of the Panelized Prefab Kit Home Building Show. With me in the studio in his usual chair 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, Mr. Steve Tuma. Steve, how is it going my friend?
Steve Landmark: It’s a great day. It’s always a great day.
Interviewer: Especially when you’re doing something you love. That must be satisfying.
Steve Landmark: Yeah, it’s kind of fun. It’s actually a lot of fun. It’s rewarding to watch people get a new home.
Steve Landmark: The design process, seeing that they can actually happen.
Steve Landmark: It’s pretty cool.
Interviewer: Today if you don’t mind, I thought we would address the topic we get a lot of questions on from our listeners. It’s simple but complex I think. Why build your own home? I mean as opposed to simply buying a traditional house that’s ready to go. You know, dealing with realtors, et cetera. In other words, what are the many upsides to building a panelized house or even a traditional stick house as opposed to just buying a house that’s on the market? Let’s start with things like cost control. I mean how does building a panelized home save you, the builder, money?
Steve Landmark: Well, the key to it is the control of the project, the whole – you know, getting the architectural design, structural details of the plans together, so you understand the project. Also so you can submit for permits, pass inspections and then work with contractors to get the home built. There’s a huge savings when you combine that altogether and sometimes people just look at the cost of hey, the plans and the panelized package. They don’t realize that the efficiency of panelization, you’re going to save money on the actual installation of the panels because it goes up much quicker. You can have these houses up in days or a week or something like that where a more complex home can go on a month or two depending on the design. But it’s also things – there isn’t as much waste of settling your dumpster fees. Those would go down. It’s just quicker and easier. Also you basically just need a main framer with a couple of laborers compared to conventional stick building where you might need a variety of different higher quality labor, which ends up costing you more. A lot of people also go with panelization because of limited building seasons. You get into the Sierras or the Rockies, different – farther up north where they don’t have as much summers other parts of the country.
Interviewer: Sure, yeah.
Steve Landmark: They need to build a house in four months. So with the panelization, you’re able to get the structure up and then get the house sealed up and finished.
Steve Landmark: So there’s a lot of reasons why panelization works. We basically put it under the idea of control your project and know what you’re doing, which is the planning process where we’re able to support the customer to get the house that they want and then make sure that the plans are put together properly for the building department.
Now you brought something up. I think compared to like buying an existing home. Sometimes people go through and say, “Well, I could buy this existing home and I could build new. There’s good and bad to each one.” But the reality is that the new home, it’s the design you want. It’s the house you want. It’s the budget that you want and you’re also going to have the better insulation, the better safety for codes. It’s just going to be a more comfortable home and chances are through your ownership, it’s also going to be more affordable to build because it’s new. You’re using newer materials that have – you know, generally more maintenance-free. They’re more energy-efficient and the other thing that people don’t always look at is the actual design is probably going to be better for today’s modern living lifestyle.
Steve Landmark: So that’s the key to it and then of course there’s personal pride. Hey, I built it. It’s the design I wanted. I’ve got a great view and my living room window is taking advantage of the great view. So a lot of people do it just because how do they – you know, once the house is built, how do they want to spend their weekends? Do they want to repair an old home or do they want to enjoy the new home that we helped them build?
Interviewer: I would imagine quality control even kind of comes into that, keeping the overall quality of your new home built up to your personal standards. I would imagine that has a lot – that piques a lot of people’s –
Steve Landmark: Well, that’s the key to it because a lot of our customers have a deep understanding of different components of the home and they want to know that it’s built right instead of just someone putting something in there because it’s cheap and then later they find out that there’s a problem.
Steve Landmark: So that’s one of the biggest reasons is people want to know where their money is going. They’re working hard to get the money to build the house. So they want to know that the house is built right and is also going to take care of their family the way they want it to be done.
Interviewer: You just brought something up, the phrase “pride of ownership”. That’s an old phrase that seems to be heard less and less in this day and age and that’s – you’ve told me yourself that Landmark customers use that phrase a lot. Why do you suppose that is?
Steve Landmark: Well, they want to take the project on and know that it’s done right. So when you have a home that was done at a price that’s good for you, you know it’s done right. You know the design is good so your family could live the way that they need, that it fits on the land properly and that you can enjoy it. It’s just really cool compared to having to settle for something that’s there. That kind of does the job. Our customers want to know that the house does what they want. They want it to be the house. So what they do is they take the time to build it. So then their enjoyment of the home while they live there is way up. It’s just pride. It’s also the personal part of they built it. They know it’s built right. They understand what’s going on. It’s a big accomplishment. It’s very, very rewarding to build the house. Yes, it is a lot of work. But it’s pretty cool when you look back and say that – that’s pretty amazing. We’ve been doing it for decades and it’s still amazing to us every single house, to just see that it gets built and how it helps the family.
Interviewer: Right. Now speaking of families, I mean Landmark deals with a lot of families, like young families starting out, families with teenagers. You know, families where the grandparents are now living at home. What do you find is the overall experience with families who become Landmark customers?
Steve Landmark: I think they all really enjoy it because the thing is – you know, say there’s a couple of kids. They each get to work on their room.
Steve Landmark: They get to lay it out. They get into it. So suddenly they learn the process. It’s a life experience and whether it’s the grandfather helping, the kids, the main family that’s building, whatever it is, it’s a unifying situation for people to go through and see this. It changes people’s lives and perspectives. But when you take it that – you know, the grandparents can help with the design, work or just help manage or sometimes financially, a lot of families will get together and take a couple of generations and put them in a house, so that they could live in a place they want to be or maybe it makes sense for babysitting or healthcare or just convenience. So it’s pretty amazing to see how the families will work together to get a house going. In some situations – we have a family right now. I think it’s a couple of generations condensing into one home so that they can have – the land has been in the family I want to say since 1920. It has gone through a couple of generations and there’s an actual Civil War medic building on it. They just said, “Hey, for the purpose of having energy efficiency, this and this, we designed a home that actually has a variety of suites in it and then one central family area.” It has got a big dining room but separate little eating areas. You know, some families wake up earlier. They eat dinner at a different time. But they’ve developed a design so that it works for the way their family flows. So in that particular situation, they were able to together get a very nice home, have it new so it’s more comfortable and it’s a maintenance-free situation for them. So it’s – if there are a couple of generations involved, they all work together. Everyone comes away going, “Wow, that was amazing.” There might have been some spots where it was like, wow, that was challenging. That was a lot of work or hey, it just took a lot to do it. But the end result, it’s there. It’s kind of like a good workout. When you’re working out, you’re like, wow, this is a lot of work. But at the end of your workout, you feel like, “Wow, that was great. I got to do it again.”
Interviewer: Yeah, accomplishment.
Steve Landmark: That’s it. It’s the accomplishment.
Interviewer: I would imagine the do-it-yourself aspect. You were talking about the kids building their own room or the grandparents helping out. You know, the grandfather gets his old toolkit out and I imagine that that’s a great aspect of the panelized home building project.
Steve Landmark: Well, yeah, and with Landmark, we’re able to go through and design the home. So different – families are fundamentally the same. But in that sense, they’re different. There are different hobbies. There are different work schedules. There are different recreational activities. There’s different ways they celebrate holidays and birthdays. There are just different situations. So sometimes people want a big great room because people get together on the weekend or they want a big back porch. They get together on the weekend. Other people have – they have different types of work where one person is gone or at home or different shifts. They have different rooms or maybe where the sleeping room, it has got extra insulation. So they’re sound-deadening so that if the family is out there watching a football game, someone could still sleep. So it’s pretty interesting to work through the process to go through and make it customized. Now what’s interesting about this work is it takes a little bit of extra time and a little bit of extra thought. It’s not actually that much harder to go through and make sure that the customer works with us, so that they end up with the house that they want.
That’s the key point. If you’re going to spend the money, may as well get the house you want instead of something that’s OK. You should be excited about it.
Interviewer: Sure. Let’s go back to cost for a minute and something I’m always bringing up is contractor cost. How can Landmark help me to control that?
Steve Landmark: Well, what we’re able to do is develop an accurate set of plans so that people know exactly what’s to be built. So a customer can then go through and figure out the cost to build. They’re probably already done some pre kind of budgeting upfront to make sure it makes sense. But when you have an accurate set of plans, you can actually go through and get the exact cost. So instead of going to a contractor saying, “Hey, how much is a garage?” you can say, “Hey, how much is this two-and-a-half-car garage or three-window?” You know, how much is it to drywall it or run electric in it or whatever it would be?
Steve Landmark: They’re able to have the information to have an educated conversation where they actually gather real information and that’s the main point is the understanding of the process and the kind of behind-the-scene support. So we set our customers up so that they’re in good position to be able to work with the contractors for proper costing. Then if for some reason something comes out of the range of what works for their budget, we’re able to work with them and design elements that – you know, to push it so that things do work out. So it’s the behind-the-scene support that we provide our customers that they find to be very important and enjoyable.
Interviewer: And back to the pride of ownership thing, it seems to me like a lot of Landmark customers, most find they actually end up with a nicer house than they even imagined when all is said and done.
Steve Landmark: Well, the point is that they get to build the way they want it. You know, if they want a certain kitchen cabinet or even if they want to make their own kitchen cabinets. We’ve had a lot of customers do that where they’re in woodworking. They make their own cabinets.
Steve Landmark: Or they want to put a window on a certain location to do it. So a lot of builders, you know, they’re like, “Well, I have this plan and no changes.”
Steve Landmark: Well, in our case, it’s like let’s build what you want. So we’re able to go through and do it – I think that’s the happiness that comes out of it is you’re getting what you want for your hard-earned money.
Interviewer: So let’s go over something that we’ve – we’ve touched on this in other episodes. But there are certain things I think we just need to reiterate. So let’s go over codes and energy efficiency – just energy efficiency. I will spit it out. Just because I think we can’t express enough the importance of Landmark’s expertise in those subjects and how helpful you guys really can be to a new home builder.
Steve Landmark: Well, on codes and energy efficiency, we understand all the codes. We have licensed engineers if you’re in an area that needs engineer-stamped plans. So we have the professionals to go through and do the architectural design and there’s a lot of code issues people don’t even think about, like the size of windows in case you need to get out for – you know, in case of an emergency. You know, different details. Fire doors between the garage and the house. You know, enough drywall on the wall between the garage and the house say in case there was to be a fire. So we can take care of all the architectural code issues. We can also take care of the structural design to make sure structurally the house is significant for whatever the concerns are, whether you’re in hurricane, high snow load, expansive soils, earthquake areas, what – or places sometimes have two or three of those. So we’re able to do that design. We’re also able to do plumbing design, electrical design, HVAC design, site planning. We can get into landscape design. So we can kind of take care of a lot of issues for people to really go through and put it together. We’re kind of a resource for the people. We don’t want to tell people what house they want. But if they want it done right, we have the knowledge to put it together and then if they have questions, we also have the time and desire to help them understand what’s going on with their home so that they know why a house has to be built a certain way or why it’s advantageous to do one – you know, do it one way versus another way and we will spend the time with people to make sure they understand it. Some people will just say, “Hey, I just want it to pass the energy codes.” Other people want to analyze why. What type of insulation? What happens if I do this here? What happens if I do that there? And kind of role-play it so that they can spend their money wisely.
Interviewer: Right. There are so many important things that you’ve brought up today. But one thing that I think this “Why do it yourself?” Landmark is a one-stop shop and you guys do help the new homeowner, the guy, or the new home builder. But there’s also the relationships that your customers build with you. I mean I think that’s – you’ve told me in the past how people you built houses for 20 years ago and they still come back to you and say, “Wow, we’re still in our house. We love it. It’s a great experience,” and sometimes they say, “Let’s build another one.” That must be satisfying.
Steve Landmark: Well, that’s extremely satisfying. But sometimes it goes beyond that. They’re like, “Hey, Steve. Remember 20 years ago we had a son? It’s his turn.”
Steve Landmark: You know, or something like that or hey, someone moved back or someone came back from the military or whatever the situation is. We’ve had some families where we’ve helped every single adult in their family build a house.
Steve Landmark: We’re working right now with a family. They’re buying 10 acres. They’re getting it subdivided so each family member gets two acres each.
Steve Landmark: You know, so there’s a lot of situations. This is a life-changing event for people and yeah, the relationships are there. It’s amazing. I wish I could go to all the barbecues I get invited to. It’s just a time thing but I also – I probably put on 30 pounds each weekend. You know, hanging out with the people, just getting – you know, and enjoying the housewarming party.
Interviewer: Yeah, the moving back home thing. That’s a new sort of phenomenon over the last 15 years or so and you’re seeing it more and more and yeah, it’s – I find it just interesting that Landmark has been doing this for years.
Steve Landmark: Right.
Interviewer: Building homes that can be adaptable to the family that goes away and comes back.
Steve Landmark: Right, right. And it’s interesting why things like that happen.
Interviewer: There’s a lot of reasons, yeah.
Steve Landmark: Yeah. I mean sometimes it’s divorces. Sometimes it’s health. Sometimes it’s babysitters. Sometimes it’s just cool. The people are like, “Hey, we all like getting together. What are we doing living 700 miles apart from each other?”
Interviewer: Right, right.
Steve Landmark: And then in other areas where real estate is more expensive, people are saying, “Hey, if we move grandma and grandpa in, we will have a babysitter. But you know what? We can also live an hour closer to work because now we can afford a more expensive community.”
Interviewer: And that stuff happens and it is important even in my own my family. You know, my sister and her husband lived hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of miles away, a couple of thousand miles away at one point. Then finally one day after they had their first grandchild just went, “You know what? I think it’s time to move back,” and I can understand that happening.
Great conversation today, Steve. As it happens a lot on this show, I look back and go, “Wow, the time just flew by.” So I always feel we just get started and the clock sort of runs out on us. But Steve, tell the listeners how you can find out – how they can find out more about Landmark Home and Land Company.
Steve Landmark: Well, one thing I forgot. What episode is this? Thirty-five. We’ve got 34 other episodes they can look at on our website and through the podcast services if they just want to kind of get a grip on what’s happening and how we can help. But they’re always welcome to check our website out, www.lhlc.com. Then they can see us on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube and then they’re – we always suggest people call.
There’s nothing that we would rather do than talk to people and find out what’s going on and help them out and kind of get them positioned to get the ball rolling and they can also email. Oh, the phone number, it’s 1-800-830-9788 and Mike will answer the phone. If he’s busy, you’re going to get this voicemail, he will get back to you right away. We are very good at communicating and talking to people and staying on top of their project. You can email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org or I’m available, Steve, at email@example.com. We believe in communicating, supporting our customers and having a good time doing it to make sure that they get the best house possible.
Interviewer: And as Steve just said, I can’t encourage you more to go to the Landmark website if you haven’t already and find all the past episodes of this podcast and feel free to let us know how much you’re enjoying them. We enjoy doing them and I learn a lot every day. So for Steve Tuma and myself, have a great day and we will see you next time.
Steve Landmark: Thank you.