Production homebuilders achieve exceptional value through a systematic, volume-building process. Custom homebuilders offer homebuyers exceptional flexibility and control in creating their dream, one-of-a-kind home.
Combine the two together and you have the homebuilding sweet spot that’s attracting more and more home buyers: the semi-custom homebuilder.
Customer as Part of the Team
There’s no better example of this growing homebuilding trend than Cerrone Builders of South Glen Falls, N.Y. The third-generation family-owned and operated company prides itself on a process that starts with a basic floor plan the home buyer is encouraged to modify. “Our customers don’t have to worry about wants and needs getting lost-in-translation. The customer is welcomed to be part of the Cerrone team,” says Anthony Cerrone, one of the four Cerrone family partners.
Each of the four Cerrone family partners work one-on-one with the customer to make sure those requests are met. “We’re not cookie-cutter builders and never want to categorize ourselves that way,” Cerrone explains. It’s a business model that yields big rewards. Today the family business delivers about 30 semi-custom homes, marketing strictly through referrals (no advertising).
One aspect of this have-it-your-way approach is to design the home with the latest technologies, including smart home products like automated lighting, alarm systems, HVAC, and entertainment. “What is required is a home that is prepped for Wi-Fi, with pre-wired access points throughout the house,” Cerrone says.
One way the Cerrone team works to meet customer’s expectations is to anticipate them, often adding motion sensors and USB in-wall outlets for improved convenience and power usage. That holistic approach extends to an area seldom considered by homebuilders or homebuyers – the load center. Cerrone Builders have transformed this once drab, gray basement fixture into an object of amazement.
The next-generation load center, manufactured by Leviton, is an unexpectedly sleek white enclosure with white circuit breakers that have a unique rocker-style switch and intuitive LEDs that light up if they trip. “It’s like the first time you saw a cellphone with no physical buttons. You can’t take your eyes off it,” reports Cerrone. The approachability is amazing, according to the Cerrones.
Four Hours Saved
The new load center came to the Cerrones’ attention from their electrical contractor. The contractor presented the alternative to the builders after viewing it at the local electrical distributor. Like all Cerrone subcontractors, it was natural he would present the innovation to the Cerrones, who actively encourage new ideas from their subs. Wowed by what they saw, the family went all in on the new load center. Today the Leviton load center is a featured element of every project and for good reason. “[Homeowners] walk right up to it. They touch the [optional] glass [observation window]. It’s a funny reaction to see,” Cerrone says.
Perhaps the best part is the new load center cuts up to four hours off the electrician’s wiring time, saving the Cerrones’ considerable time and money on each project.
Although a load center is one small part of a home, it does speak to the forward thinking a Cerrone Builders semi-custom home represents. The approach is winning an ever-growing audience of homebuyers and industry fans. For example, the local homebuilders association has honored the family with numerous awards for exemplary craftsmanship, interior floor plans, and exterior design.
Steven Cerrone is humbled by the attention. “Our building process may be a little unique, but we know we offer the homeowner an affordable, quality home they have been a part of and will be proud to live in,” he says.