Avanti Custom Homes receives the attention of the Home Builder Canada magazine. A custom home without the custom price – Winnipeg’s Randall Homes launches Avanti Custom Homes
The magazine sits down and discusses everything from the beginning of Randall Homes, the challenges faced starting Avanti Custom Homes, the importance of customization to their customers, and why one of Winnipeg’s leading production builders entered the custom space with Vice-President of Randall Homes, Jason Jaquet.
A partner of Randall Homes, a family-owned builder since 1983 in the Winnipeg home building industry, Avanti Custom Homes launched in September 2015 with a 1,722-square foot bungalow in the Oak Bluff West subdivision on the outskirts of Winnipeg.
The neighbourhood offers lot sizes ranging from 70′ to 84′ wide. There are plans already in place to build in other communities in Winnipeg. Why did a production builder enter the custom build space? We sat down with Jason Jaquet, the company’s Vice President, to find out.
HBM: Let’s start by finding out a bit about Randall Homes.
JJ: Randall Homes was established in 1983 by my father, Randy Jaquet. The first year we were in business we sold 35 homes, the next year we sold over 70 and we’ve grown ever since. The company now sells over 220 homes annually, and has won numerous awards over the years for our innovative designs. Our philosophy is that we don’t build homes to win awards; we build them for our customers. The emphasis has always been creating a comfortable living space. The key to our success is the long term relationships built along the way – from developers and tradespeople to the bank and accounting firm to the staff and the Jaquet family. More than a home builder, we are a relationship builder.
HBM: Clearly the company has been successful. What prompted the decision to enter the custom home market, and what changes were required to do so?
“ The home buyer can request anything they want, from small tweaks to drawing completely new plans from scratch. ”
JJ: Randall Homes has been a company that is always pushing the envelope with awarding winning design ideas and standard features added into our homes. As a result, we wanted to set up a custom home company that would be able to offer a custom home without the custom price tag. Giving them Choice, Value and Service (a key element of the Randall Homes philosophy in the house market), coming up with new concepts and new designs at an affordable price point in custom market.
HBM: It’s early days for Avanti Custom Homes. What has been your biggest challenge to date, and how does that compare to your experience as a production builder?
JJ: The biggest challenge we faced was getting the Avanti Custom Homes name out in the Winnipeg marketplace. Since Randall Homes was already an established builder in Winnipeg, as a new custom builder in an already competitive custom market we used social media and print ads to brand the Avanti Custom Homes name and get people talking before we started any projects.
HBM: The pricing structure for an Avanti home is fixed vs. the more traditional cash allowance route. What are the advantages for the customer and the builder in using this method?
JJ: The buyer knows exactly what they are going to get and at what cost:
- Cash allowances can leave the client with some uncertainties that can be really stressful (will the allowance convert what we think it will?)
- We are upfront with all costs so the client knows what they are getting and at what they cost. No $40,000 + surprises in the end when they realize that the allowances didn’t cover everything they wanted.
As a builder, fixed pricing means we don’t need to estimate because we know what it is going to cost. It also allows us to give the best price upfront.
“ As a builder, fixed pricing means we don’t need to estimate because we know what it is going to cost. It also allows us to give the best price upfront. ”
HBM: Beyond the years of experience in the Winnipeg market, what other advantages does the production builder background bring?
JJ: As a custom builder, being partnered with a large established builder like Randall Homes allows us to have an in-house design centre. This allows clients to finalize finishes and design choices—without having to drive around the city and/or be pressured by each retailer to push their allowance.
We are also able to bring tried and true best practices from a serious volume of building to each custom home that a typical custom builder building 10-20 homes a year simply does not have.
Another serious advantage is our integrated service department; our combined volume again allows us to staff service crews that can move quickly and efficiently to handle any service needs.
HBM: You are currently offering customizable plans of bungalows and two-storey home models. Will you expand upon this, and what sort of customization can the home buyer request?
JJ: The home buyer can request anything they want, from small tweaks to drawing completely new plans from scratch. We are only limited by their budget and the development’s guidelines for designs and site plans.
HBM: What’s next for Avanti Homes?
JJ: We will be expanding into more subdivisions for 2016, which will allow Avanti Custom Homes to offer additional choices to home buyers and to continue to expand our philosophy: A Custom Home Without the Custom Price.
HBM: Thank you, Jason.
Read the article in the online version of Home Builder Canada