Guide Shows Customers the Custom Way

Willis Spivey, owner and president of Spivey Construction in Denver, N.C., likens a typical client's knowledge of custom home building to navigating New York City's subway system for the first time.

January 01, 2003

 

This guide, three years in the making, gives clients a step-by-step approach to custom building.

Willis Spivey, owner and president of Spivey Construction in Denver, N.C., likens a typical client's knowledge of custom home building to navigating New York City's subway system for the first time.

"So many people come to us without a real concept of the many avenues of construction," he says. "Like the subway, there are so many choices and so many subways that can take you to the wrong place."

To inform consumers and battle their misperceptions about custom building, Spivey and Jennifer Pippin, owner of Pippin Home Designs in Mooresville, N.C., created Dream Home: An Insider's Guide. The magazine-style publication features chronological checklists and tips to encourage home buyers to take a design/build team approach to custom home building.

Spivey and Pippin stress the importance of having adequate plans and specs so clients can get accurate bids; the advantages of assembling an entire team at the start of the building process rather than adding people phase by phase; and the growing need to plan for structured wiring.

"Consumers are more educated when they come to us than they used to be, but they still have a lot of questions," Pippin says. "This was the way to tie everything they learn or need to know in a chronological format. It helps them to have something in writing so they know what the next step is."

By selling advertising space to trade partners with whom they regularly work as well as building product manufacturers, Spivey and Pippin financed their project while giving Dream Home readers an implied stamp of approval from proven, quality companies.

 

Spivey and Pippin say a well-conceived and maintained landscape design can increase a home’s value 10-20%.

The magazine debuted in November and has a cover price of $6, but Pippin and Spivey have made it available for free in relocation packets from their local chambers of commerce and in places as diverse as doctor's offices and libraries. It's also available through their Web sites (www.pippinhomedesigns.com andwww.spiveyinc.com). They're also sending free copies to local Realtors, offering Dream Home as a resource for clients.

The twosome produced 8,000 copies of the magazine for about $15,000. They retained the copyright for all content and hope to produce additional, expanded versions in the future.

"The homeowner may know what they want to do but not know how to achieve it, so the magazine is a map for people, a training magazine to educate the consumer about the proper process for building a house," Spivey says. "Just like riding the subway, you need a guide, someone who knows where they're going and what they're doing. You may pay them a little bit of money, but in the long run you're going to have more time, less stress, and you may even have fun."

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