Welcome To the Neighborhood

After pursuing successful careers in real estate sales specializing in new homes, Jim Diamond and Susan Schreiber decided to venture into building their own high-end spec projects on infill or teardown sites in Chicago's exclusive North Shore communiti...

July 01, 2003

After pursuing successful careers in real estate sales specializing in new homes, Jim Diamond and Susan Schreiber decided to venture into building their own high-end spec projects on infill or teardown sites in Chicago's exclusive North Shore communities.

The pair relies on their real estate experience to aid them in their search for available sites in a market where there is virtually no open land. "We are already very plugged into the local real estate community here," Diamond says. "And sellers themselves are savvier today. Many times they call the builder -- before the realtor -- when they want to sell their property."

While they are familiar with the subtle differences in culture and attitude that characterize each of the communities that comprise their chosen market, the pair admits that they work hard to keep up with the latest trends. "Something that will work well in one community, such as a detached garage, will be a complete turnoff in another," Schreiber says.

"We want to build a home that will become a legacy within its neighborhood," Diamond says, "but we don't want to build something that is so outside-the-box that it makes it hard to sell. It is really the neighborhood, itself, that dictates what we will build there."

"Our goal is to have people drive down the street past one of our houses and say 'What new house?'" says Schreiber.

The builders say that they strive to establish a good reputation within the neighborhood right from the start. "We interact well with the existing homeowners from the beginning by telling them what we're planning," Schreiber says.

They also employ a cleanup crew to clear debris from the construction site and the street, six days a week.

"Just as a well-organized person works more efficiently in a clean environment, we organize the building site," Schreiber says. "It's like coming back to a clean desk in the morning. It really creates a feeling of caring about the project among the trades, keeps the neighbors happy and really contributes to a much higher-quality product."

Diamond is convinced this is one of the reasons that they have been able to offer their buyers a two-year homeowners warranty rather than a more conventional one-year warranty.

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