Mike and the PMs Discuss New Home Orientation and Your Home Warranty
About This Episode
John sits down with Tim Brassfield, Pat Kearns and Mike Schnitzer to discuss new home orientation and your new home warranty process for all Stanley Martin Custom Homes. This discussion is a great follow up to episode 30 on the importance of weekly meetings; the next milestone in the process is your new home orientation! This is an informative episode that you don’t want to miss!
Stanley Martin Custom Homes Website
[00:00:03] Speaker 1 All right. Welcome to another episode of the Go with John show, today we have Tim Brassfield in the house. He’s one of our project managers. Add Stanley Martin Custom Arms. Welcome, Tim. Thank you very much, John. We have Pat Kearns, VP of Construction. Good to be here. And Michael Snitzer, president of our company. Good morning. Good morning. So today we’re going to follow up on our previous episode that we recorded about weekly meetings and in the in this weekly meeting episode, it’s really a very high trending episode. I strongly recommend that you go and listen to it. But as you progress through the building process and we’re having our weekly meetings, kind of the next milestone that comes along is the new home orientation. And we’re going to talk today about our new home orientation. And then the warranty process with our company. So Pat, do you want to kick us off and talk to us a little bit about what is the new home orientation?
[00:01:01] Speaker 2 Yes, sure. So the the idea, the premise behind it is as we approach and get through to the end of the product project, we’re going to present the home to you. We’re going to walk you through and demonstrate how the home functions as you live in it, things that are important for you to understand, to know about the home, as well as certain things that you as the homeowner, once you take ownership of the home, are responsible for doing to make sure the home operates and functions. And all the systems within the home operate and function as designed so that you don’t incur any issues as a result of not taking proper care of the home. We have a number of people who decide to care and do that maintenance on their own, and then we have a number of people who will hire maintenance companies or firms that will take care of some of that maintenance for them. But the idea is to basically walk you through, demonstrate how all the systems operate. It’s our basically turning the home on the home, over to the homeowners and demonstrating how everything functions within the home. Important little things that you know, that are essential for them to understand and know where these things are. So they incur an issue and they can easily resolve them a lot of times on their own.
[00:02:18] Speaker 1 Right. So it’s really sounds to me like it’s two things like number one, how do you work that thermostat? How do you, you know, if you have electronic locks or things like that, how does the house work, right? And then you’re also covering the maintenance aspect of the home at the same time. What kind of things do you do on a regular basis where
[00:02:36] Speaker 2 your water shut off for your hose? BBC can winterized the hose bins where your furnace filters are, so you can change them on a regular basis where your GFI switches are, so that if you have an outlet that goes out in an area where guys are required, you can reset them if you need to. You know, we talk about making sure your gutters are cleaned on a regular basis to prevent damage to your roof system and your soft and fascia. We talk about, you know, making sure if you have a weld exit in the basement that has a drain in the bottom bottom of it, that that drains kept clean and free of debris like leaves and soil and things along those lines. These are all things that we as a homeowner, when you move into a home, you know, if you’ve had a home for a long period of time, you probably are aware that you doing these things. But some of our homeowners are new to home ownership, right? Some of our folks have lived in condos or areas where the maintenance taking care of for them, you know, and some of the things are people that are moving from an older home into a newer one that has a lot of different parts and pieces as homebuilding has been modernized, right?
[00:03:48] Speaker 3 Yeah. And I would say the from a contractual standpoint, our contract points to the new home orientation because we need a formal handoff. Our goal is always to deliver a home that is 100 percent went to buy a car. You wouldn’t buy a car. And oh, the door handle to the passenger side is we just don’t have it right. We to turn over completely. So we do have a deficiency list. So if there are things that come up, we write them down and complete them in a timely manner. I would say, and maybe Tim can talk to this, but the build on your life process is a lot different than a production build process because we’re with the customers all the time. So typically Tim Marlow, if you want to talk to it, the deficiency list is a lot less right because we’re with them every every week.
[00:04:47] Speaker 4 Yeah, and since we’re doing the weekly meetings every week, there’s a lot of things that we’ve already noticed before. We even do the new home orientation walkthrough, right? I’ve already started that list before the walk through. So we’ve already kind of got a jumpstart before we even do the.
[00:05:01] Speaker 1 Walk through, right, and I think we did we talked a lot about that in the in the weekly meetings episode, which I again suggest people go, listen to that. So you’re having your weekly meeting and you’re building your way up to the new home orientation. So what is the what is the homeowner need to bring to the new home orientation?
[00:05:16] Speaker 4 Good. Good idea to bring a pad and just make some notes because like Pat said, there’s going to be a number of things that I will go over any of that. Project managers will go over with the homeowners, thus explaining how the systems work. All the mechanical things like Pat mentioned GFI switches one things that homeowners might not be familiar with shut off valves for toilets are different than most people are used to seeing, right?
[00:05:38] Speaker 1 So how how long does a new home orientation?
[00:05:41] Speaker 4 Typically, I tell clients to plan on an hour to two hours. OK, that’s not who lives of the home.
[00:05:46] Speaker 1 Right, right, right. And when does it happen? Is it happen before a settlement? After settlement?
[00:05:51] Speaker 4 It’s a week before settlement. OK, generate that energy list,
[00:05:54] Speaker 3 OK, which is new home on justement
[00:05:56] Speaker 4 new adjustment list. And my goal is to complete that list within the week before between the walk through and settlement right away when they are given the keys and they are moving all their furniture. And we’re not coming back in there with trades. Yeah, making a mess again.
[00:06:12] Speaker 3 Yeah, it’s it’s exponentially better for the customer. And for Tim. And yeah, it was not to have to come in after the customers moved in, but we all know that there are. If a cabinet door needs to be replaced, it could be an x week lead time. And so there could be a few things that trail one the deficiency list. Not that we want them to trail, but we can, you know, we can’t pull a cabinet door out of thin air. Right. So we got to wait for it to come in.
[00:06:48] Speaker 1 Right, right. Exactly. So, all right. So you have the new home orientation. So what are what are some of the sorry, I think, which
[00:06:56] Speaker 3 I would and maybe I don’t know if Tim or Pat wants to talk about this, but there is a lot of excitement, a lot of planning that goes in mostly well, let’s say mostly both on the customer and one and on. And we are extremely hypersensitive to the walk through dates, right? New home orientation dates. And when a customer plans to settle because they have the moving trucks and whatever, and it’s a I want to say, it’s a little bit science and a little bit art in trying to get the dates correct. I know Tim or Pat, you want to talk. Yeah, I
[00:07:43] Speaker 2 mean, I’ll first talk about the excitement and the buildup, right? So we’ve we’ve talked about this in other sessions. There’s a lot that goes into designing, choosing a builder, making selections for the home, going through the approval process and getting underway. And then you have the time that’s invested in actually building the house as well. So by the time we get to this point in the finish line, the customers are a year into it, maybe even more in some cases. And they’ve they’ve watched this process with anticipation. They’ve seen the home be built. They see the finishes going into place. They start to see the end product and they’re excited to get moved in. They’re working on finalizing their their settlement process with their mortgage company and their lender. They’re going through setting up to get their furniture and their belongings moved into the home. You know, if they have children they’re working on, if they have to set their kids up for the new school that they’re going to be putting them in. There’s a lot of anxiety that gets built into this right. And by the time they come to walk through the house and do the orientation with us, a lot of times their mind is in about 50 other places, right?
[00:08:58] Speaker 1 And they’re not ready to hear what you have to say.
[00:09:01] Speaker 4 Correct. That’s the pad in the notes.
[00:09:03] Speaker 2 Hence, the pad in the notes, right? And we also leave a pretty thorough packet that’s behind. Yeah, a homeowner care maintenance guide. You know, things specific to certain trades,
[00:09:14] Speaker 4 maintenance instructions, hardwood floor maintenance instructions, countertop cleaning instructions. We can I don’t think we have a document that we hand out. I definitely tell them, don’t use certain products on countertops. Depending on the.
[00:09:31] Speaker 2 Yes. So we’re going through a lot of this stuff and verbalizing with it. But we’re also leaving a lot of information behind as well for them to refer to at a later date when they might be in a better state of mind to absorb it. Right?
[00:09:45] Speaker 3 Well, and I’d say Tim and Pat, we you know, it’s one of those things where you have to tell somebody something multiple times for it to sink in, and we realize we may have told our customers multiple things that maybe Tim has gone over with them through the. Process, but we actually have them focus on a document that Tim and Pat and some of the other PMS created where literally we have to get them to initial each page because they’re it’s important information. And if you just tell somebody something, it kind of goes in the ether. But some of the things are so important that we need them to focus that we have them initial off. We give them a copy and then we keep a copy in our file. I don’t know if Tim or Pat, you want to talk through any of that.
[00:10:38] Speaker 4 Well, Michael, are you referring to the settlement PowerPoint presentation? Yeah, exactly. We’re moving on to that. So yes, there are a number of things in there. Like we mentioned the gutter cleaning, just general homeowner maintenance items, emergency contacts lists. We also hand out for all the trades that worked on the house. So there is an issue that arises after settlement they can contact them for. Certainly project manager will still be available to. But typically we ask them to contact the electrician first if there’s an outlet that goes out. But typically it’s just this simple fix, right?
[00:11:10] Speaker 3 And we just don’t. We do tell them that there are. I mean, we want to be. We want to be in the loop when and this is post settlement. So I’ll save it for for what we talk a little bit about warranty. But during the the new home orientation, we do say there are some instances, let’s say appliances where if you call us and we’re not shirking our responsibility, we have to call the appliance company to then coordinate with you, to then coordinate back with the appliance company. And it can go back and forth like a pinball four or five times. Right, right. And so we encourage customers in that situation. Just contact the appliance company and get it scheduled. Feel free to let us know. Sure. Right? Because we want to make sure that that our appliance company does the work right. But to have us trying to meet, you know, kind of coordinate the schedules sometimes gets, you know, kind of crazy.
[00:12:17] Speaker 4 I like to be at least notified if there is an issue that way, if they have a problem contacting the appliance company or the electrician or the company, right balance or system, I have the I have certain contact numbers for people who I can actually call and push them if they’re not sure, no response. So sure, I can be a help in that. But right?
[00:12:35] Speaker 1 Yeah, right? Yeah, right.
[00:12:37] Speaker 3 So the so I would say the the scheduling of the new home orientation starts in terms of Tim and Pat in the back office beginning to talk. It’s probably 30 days, 45
[00:12:56] Speaker 2 days to
[00:12:56] Speaker 3 45 days. I mean, we are trying to project out, but maybe Tim and Pat, you can talk about all the things that we have to get to have the settlement right to schedule the new home orientation.
[00:13:09] Speaker 4 Do we have enough time for that? Maybe a few of the things. Yeah. Well, obviously it depends on the jurisdiction where the house is being built. Some are much easier to get your final inspections and occupancy permits than others. I work mostly in Arlington, which is one of the most difficult jurisdictions to get your occupancy permit because you have to get multiple divisions or departments in Arlington County to sign off. All your site has to be stabilized, so fences have got to be pulled out. Trees have to be. And there’s so many things at the typically at that time or trying to get the apron in and the driveway at the same time, so it can be a little bit hectic.
[00:13:46] Speaker 1 So what is the apron? Because I get that people ask me a lot of times, what does?
[00:13:49] Speaker 4 An apron is a section of the driveway that is between the sidewalk and the paved street got to the right of way. Right. And then that area between the apron and the driveway is obviously your sidewalk in your driveway. Gotcha.
[00:14:02] Speaker 2 Yes. So a lot of jurisdictions are very linear linear. It’s a good way with how those are to be installed, right? And there are a number of jurisdiction that actually require us to form them up and have them inspected before we can put them right. So they will like we’ll have to have specifically have an inspection just to get that small 10 15 foot section of walk or concrete driveway poured and installed. Right? And then once it’s done, it has to be inspected again, right, to make sure that it was performed properly. Yeah. So, you know, that’s just one small aspect of a number of inspections that have to incur
[00:14:46] Speaker 4 utilities is another big one that we’re typically just hounding the utility companies to get them to run their service because we obviously can’t finish hardwood floors and do interior items until we have the house acclimated. A lot
[00:15:00] Speaker 3 of times. Tim and Pat Wolff. Well, our construction will pace no matter how hard we try to, to reconnect, and in fact, we we we send all the engineering information, load letters and whatnot before the custom before we even start construction. Mm-Hmm. But the utility companies won’t really put their jobs into the queue until we get through the closing inspections. And there is a dance that we have to do, including confirming that the utility company has pulled, has has submitted for their bonds. It is it. And so we we have a process when, when, when we get through the concealment inspection, we tell customers to help us help you. We contact the customers and say, by the way, we’re contacting the utility companies, but help us help you. You also should contact the utility companies because they’re just a big monolith, right? And they’re almost unmovable. Yeah. And so if we get more people calling in a little bit of the squeaky wheel sometimes helps, but it has definitely held up construction, not for lack of both us in the customer trying.
[00:16:29] Speaker 2 Yeah. And I think one of the things that we do is we we make sure that the customers seeing our communications with the utility companies, right? We we share all those willingly share all of those communications so that they can understand the process and how it how it’s going. And in some cases, the the timeline delays as a result of waiting for the utilities to complete their design schedule, that the the contractor to come out and install the lines and work with the different jurisdictions to get the right away permit to be able to cross the right away to install said lines. Right. You know these these are all impediments that can gum up the works right and slow down the process. So this is one of those things that’s occurring typically in that last 45 to 60 days where we’re trying to keep the ball rolling and keep things moving. And this is one of the things we have there. We reach a point where if we don’t have utilities to the home, if we continue the process, we’re risking damaging things that are going into the home as a finished product,
[00:17:41] Speaker 1 which we would not do, which we wouldn’t do. Right, right. So I mean, it’s really interesting because the more conversations we have like this, the more I think folks can realize when they ask us at the very beginning of the process and they say, Well, how long is it going to take? It seems like such a simple question, but the answer is highly complex, right? Because you’ve got all the different jurisdictions and you have all the things that we talked about in the weekly meetings episode. And, you know, I don’t even think we brought up getting the utilities connected in that in that episode. But here’s another example of something that is completely out of our control that could either delay the process or not, right? The power could get hooked up right on time, and we can keep clicking along. Or it can. It can hold us up. So these are all kind of the things that happen as we approach the the new home orientation. And, you know, I think, Michael, it was a really great point that you talk about how excited people are and how excited we are. I think am I? Am I right that the probably the two most exciting pieces or parts of the transaction for you guys is the start and the finish. Yeah. You know,
[00:18:49] Speaker 2 really? So I mean, you think about it, you you you’re working with these clients and these customers for an extended period of time. Yeah. You know, you can see and experience the the emotional rollercoaster that some of these folks go through their their highs and lows to a project of this undertaking as you’re going through it. And obviously, our job is to manage those and try to keep it on an evil even plain as best we can, right, and inform the customers and and take them through the process and kind of be their guide through the entire thing. So you get invested in it, right? You’re you’re by the time you’re getting to this point, you build up a relationship with the client because we’re meeting with them weekly. We’re talking to them about, you know, not just the build itself, but you’re talking to them about, you know, how their family is going to live in the home, right? Why they chose this location, why it’s important to them. All these things are kind of feeding to that end of of walking them through. And really, it’s a presentation of the home. Yeah, we’re excited to to present it to them and to show them all the hard work and everything that they put into it, as well as us and the finished product. So. For us, it’s it’s you know, it is, you know, you’re you’re presenting that home and you’re we’re we we strive to meet their expectations. We want them to be excited about the process. We want them to be excited about moving in and taking ownership of the home. And like I said, there’s a lot that’s going on at that point in time. And people, you know, it’s a big investment. So there’s a lot of nerves, a lot of anxiety and a lot of you know, you know, they want it every little part in peace to be in place and be just right. And that’s our goal to make sure that that’s the case.
[00:20:35] Speaker 1 Yeah. Yep. Good.
[00:20:36] Speaker 3 Yeah. I mean, I think you you captured it. Yeah. You said your customers expectations said, yeah.
[00:20:45] Speaker 1 Yeah. So so all right, we’re going to take a quick break. So. So we’ve been chatting about new home orientation and what kind of leads up to the new home orientation and what happens there. And when we come back after the break, we’re going to talk a little bit. Did you want to just
[00:20:58] Speaker 3 just just two things. So one is in terms of customer satisfaction. So we and I know our customers are busy, but we measure their satisfaction when they write after settlement because everything’s fresh in their mind, right? And so, you know, we’re running at 100 percent customer satisfaction.
[00:21:22] Speaker 1 So what does that mean, Mike? Tell us about that.
[00:21:24] Speaker 3 That means that our customers are likely to refer Stanley Martin to a friend or a family member, that they’re very satisfied with the process, with the people, with the product. And how
[00:21:39] Speaker 1 do we know that we use a third party company,
[00:21:42] Speaker 3 a third party? Yeah, there’s a third party that measures the satisfaction and we review the results because lap times or they’ll have something say, I loved everything. Hey, one thing you may want to think about tweaking is this Well, we take the information seriously. Yes, and we you know, we will if we see somebody that says, I can’t even think of a good example, hey, you should add this to your process. Fine. If it makes sense, we would, we would add it. Sometimes they have a comment about, Oh, you know, we’re loved the process, whatever, we’re having this type of concern. Well, jeez, we wish you would have called us. Or I’ll tell Pat, Hey, pet, contact the customer, Tim, contact the customer. Let’s find out many times they’ve already, you know, talk to us about this, but we’re reading their comments. And I would say most customers stay in contact with us many, many, many, many years after they’ve settled. It’s, you know, I’m going to say that we’re a part of their family. But I think yesterday Tim got an email from a customer who they just had a little girl and, you know, settle them, you know, quite some time ago. And but, you know, they felt like they needed to tell Tim and Tim, you know, shared with the group. And I mean, they, you know, you build up a good relationship with the customers.
[00:23:14] Speaker 4 The relationships with the customers is key, in my opinion, being a project manager, because if you have a good relationship with the client throughout the building process, yeah, I try to keep them calm. If there’s an issue that comes up just right, make sure they understand it’s going to get taken care of. Yeah. And then when the house is finished and I do that, walk through with them, I want to be proud of the product that I’m showing them. Yeah, so that is my goal. You get to that walkthrough.
[00:23:40] Speaker 3 Yeah, and certainly the project manager is the linchpin of this entire process. So we can have yeah, we can have a great back office team. We can have a great selection manager. Everybody can be doing their job. But if the PM doesn’t build the home and deliver a good experience to the customer’s expectation and we’ve heard this before from several customers that we exceed, we have one customer that we build like three or four. When a business to business houses for a year, Tim’s built a couple of their houses and you know, they’ve tried out other builders. They say by far our project managers just
[00:24:29] Speaker 1 in how it turns out about. And they’ve also they’ve also told me that our design studio managers are just, yeah, but they but they told me
[00:24:38] Speaker 3 I was meet with them last week about a couple other projects and they said, You guys kill it with the beams.
[00:24:45] Speaker 1 Yeah, so there’s very few PMS out there, project managers that are really good at managing trades because that’s a special type of person that that manages subcontractors all day and plumbers and roofers and electricians. But then to be able to. Turn around and be on the front line with the customer. That’s a different kind of mental skills. It is a different skill set, right, that you have and all of our project managers are really good at both sides of that spectrum, managing the trades and managing the customer
[00:25:17] Speaker 3 relationship with us for years and years and years and years. So.
[00:25:21] Speaker 1 Yeah. All right. Thank you, Tim, for being such an outstanding communicator with our customers. All right. We’re going to take a quick break, and when we come back, we’re going to talk about warranty. All right. Welcome back. We’re here with Tim Brassfield, Pat Kearns and Michael Schnitzer, and we’re talking about today new home orientation and warranty. So we spent the first segment talking about new home orientation, what happens after new home orientation pack?
[00:25:52] Speaker 2 So the next step, obviously, is to get you to the settlement and to turn the home officially, turn the home over to you. So like Tim said earlier, typically rescheduling that new home orientation about a week before we anticipate settlement, the goal is that we get you into the home we walk you through. We present it to you. Hopefully take some of that anxiety and some of that nervousness away. You see the finished product and then we’re moving towards settlement and that we can between. There’s a lot of things that are going on right where we’re, you know, we’re working on getting your everything for your final permit and release of the home to you. Hopefully that’s happened already, which is typically called a use and occupancy or residential use permit, you know, so or you can use an occupancy permit. Those are all terms that are commonly used in the in the vernacular. But, you know, so the settlement itself, we’re going to sit down with you. We’re going to go over the paperwork with you. Have you sign off on some things just like any settlement would? And we we’ve set our system up for that to occur at your house. We’ll go through that with you. And hopefully we’re reviewing the new home adjustment list with you as well and having you going through and taking a look at the items that we’ve listed that needed to be taken care of or tweaked or adjusted having you son sign off that those are complete. And the goal is to turn the keys over to you, right? Then in there at the table and you know, have you move into the home? One of the things that we have experienced recently is that with all the new guidelines for mortgages, there are a number of mortgage or lenders that will not actually even begin processing that final draw or the settlement until they’ve received the use and occupancy from the jurisdiction that we’re building it right. And there are times where that is right down to the wire. And some banks, lenders are very quick in processing that and getting that turned over and can do it in seven to 14 days. And some take a little bit longer can take anywhere from two to four weeks.
[00:28:04] Speaker 1 Another factor in the timeline?
[00:28:06] Speaker 2 Correct? Yeah. So we are we work hand in hand with a lot of lenders, lending institutions that work specifically with our type versatile loan, which is a build build on your lot loan, right?
[00:28:20] Speaker 3 A construction. The firm correct
[00:28:21] Speaker 2 construction of firm that are familiar and we’re familiar with their processes. So we can kind of if they choose one of those lenders that we are familiar with or work with, we can kind of guide them along and we have an expectation of what that time period is going to be. You know, we’ve done it and worked with these lenders on on multiple different projects. So we can kind of understand, is it going to be seven days from the time we get the, you know, is it going to be 14? You know what, what that period is going to be and we can kind of lead that customer through that process and let them know what the expectation is.
[00:28:56] Speaker 3 So, so you know, at the end of the day to turn over the keys, we have to be paid. But from Welch’s right, it’s just part of the sure part of the process. But we also realize that customer may have the moving van scheduled. They may have scheduled it 30 days ago. They can’t cancel it without blah blah. So we do have mechanisms in place, like a furniture waiver where the customer can sign off, basically saying, you know, it’s the if they damage anything in the house or the furniture stolen. It’s not on Stanley Martin, right? But we were looking for ways to make sure that we can reduce the stress level if we run into something where the county, like in Arlington, said, You know, Tim says, you know, I really anticipate getting the permit on Thursday. That’s based on many, many, many, many, many, many houses that have already gone through settlement. Right. But sometimes the county takes a little longer, and it’s just a bureaucratic process. And so sometimes we do have to use that waiver to, you know, the customer can’t move in. They can at least get all their furniture.
[00:30:10] Speaker 2 Yeah. And what we do is we work with the client as well. We’re obviously not going to ask them to sign off on something unless we walk them through had the new home orientation with them. And even though we may not be able to settle them at that point in time because there’s a hang up with the settlement or with getting the, you know, or there’s some other process or something that’s happened, we will walk the list with them that we’ve already generated. Have them sign off on the items, it’s still that that we’re taking care of and resolve to their satisfaction. Right. And any remaining items will document and note so that, hey, we’re asking you to sign this furniture waiver so that we can help you relieve some stress. Get the furniture moved into the home. You can’t occupy it, but you can move these items and belongings in. We’re acknowledging that we still have these two items that remain that need to be taken care of. You’re acknowledging that everything else has been taken care of in the home and is to your satisfaction at this point. Right. So that everybody’s clear and is well aware of what is out there, right? And we don’t want there to be any uncertainty. We don’t want them to be nervous about signing off on it. We take full ownership of the things that we’ve already documented, noted and let them know that will will still work. To get those items completed for them doesn’t happen very often. But when they do, we want to make sure that it’s yes
[00:31:32] Speaker 3 and it does. We, you know, we take care of it. I would say settlement is a very ubiquitous word in this industry. So unlike a production builder where you literally go to settlement and you get your keys from the, you know, title company, right? So here we’re using it kind of more in a broader sense because when we say we’re going to settlement, we’re really saying we’re giving you were signing off when the when the new home orientation list, we’re signing off on the new home adjustment list, the items that are done and we want to give you the keys. So but truly, the customer goes to the lender for their settlement.
[00:32:22] Speaker 1 Right, right. And on their
[00:32:24] Speaker 3 loan, on their loan, right. And typically they’re converting from a construction loan to a mortgage or whatever mortgage product they’re going into.
[00:32:34] Speaker 1 Exactly. Okay. So we have new home orientation, we have settlement and then we have warranty. Yeah. So I’ll kick it back to you. So and so, so I guess at a very high level, we have a once the homeowner takes possession of the home, we have a 60 day warranty visit and then we have a nine month warranty visit. So what happens at the 60 days?
[00:33:01] Speaker 3 Let me just back up and show this, that there is a proactive and a reactive approach to warranty. Yes. So we take a proactive approach because we know a customer has a 60 day list. Therefore, before the 60 days, we’re going to contact them and schedule a time to walk the house and review the list with them. Right, right, right. The reactive approach is what we’ll wait for the customer to give us a list. Yes. And if they don’t give us a list, then we won’t contact them. That’s not a good customer experience. It’s not a good process.
[00:33:35] Speaker 1 There’s a lot of builders that operate that way. Absolutely.
[00:33:38] Speaker 3 Because what if 50 percent of the customers never contact you? Exactly. Then you’ve just reduced your workload by 50 percent. You will take that approach.
[00:33:45] Speaker 1 So 100 percent of our customers, we reach out to them. At what point, pat?
[00:33:50] Speaker 2 So typically, we’re reaching out to them somewhere around a 30 day period. OK. The goal behind this is is twofold. One, you know, like I said before, there’s a lot of excitement that builds up to the settlement and the new home adjustment list. They’re moving into the home, they’re getting themselves acclimated to a new place where they’re living. And there are certain things that they’re going to experience within that first 30 days that they’re going to see and living in the home. And, you know, things that they may not have remembered or captured from the new home orientation. So we’re going to reach out to them. 30 days is typically a good time. They’ve gotten themselves, moved in, got their furniture set up or have adjusted to living in the new home where we reach out to them and say, Hey, we at 60 days, we’ll schedule a walk through with you to go through the home. We’re just reaching out to schedule that meeting. Is there anything that is going on with the home or any issues that you’re experiencing that you need us to address or take care of? Right. And typically, they’ll have a few things here and there. You know that that they need us to look at that. Maybe we didn’t pick up in a walk through or that maybe just from living in the home that they’re experiencing, that they need us to walk them through on how to deal with it? Right? You know, there’s times we’re in that 60 days you have a weather change and a door needs adjusted. Right? You know, they had one of their GFI strip and aren’t familiar with where the the reset button is,
[00:35:24] Speaker 1 where they can be tricky.
[00:35:25] Speaker 2 Yes, they can. You know, just little things like that that come along and we don’t want those things to dangle there or be out there for. Extended period of time where they become uncomfortable or they feel like they can’t reach out to us. You know, they feel silly because they can’t resolve it on their own, and it seems like something simple that they could have taken care of on their own. So we reach out to them just to say, Hey, how’s it going? Yeah. How’s the new home treating you? Is there anything you need us to go over? Take a look out for?
[00:35:57] Speaker 1 Hmm. And then you come out of this at the 60 day mark and then you address whatever.
[00:36:02] Speaker 2 Well, we have a form that we use. We’ll schedule an appointment to come out and walk through the home with them. We’ll fill out any items that are that they’ve that they’ve provided us that are remarkable items. We’ll list them on the on the 60 day form after we’ve had the meeting. We then go and reach out to all the contractors that we need to contact and schedule in order to set up the appointment to come out and do the work. Hmm. And we’ll line a day up where we can go to the customer’s home with those contractors that need to do the work and basically take care of any any adjustments that need to be done.
[00:36:37] Speaker 1 Gotcha. So now, Tim, when when the contractors are back doing the work, are you typically back in the house with them?
[00:36:43] Speaker 4 Yes, I’m onsite when they’re in the house.
[00:36:45] Speaker 1 OK. So that’s a great service in itself. So, you
[00:36:49] Speaker 4 know, you’re a new homeowner. You don’t want somebody that you don’t know. I’m usually familiar with all the trades. Right? So it’s just more of a comfort thing for the homeowners when they add their own belongings in the house. Yeah, they can continue to work if they’re working from home, their office. I can be on site just keeping an eye on the guys while they’re making the adjustments.
[00:37:07] Speaker 3 Right, right, right. But that’s that’s a good point that we will not do warranty work if the customers are not home. So it’s against our policy, right to say, Well, OK, we’re going to work Tim or Joe or Pat or whoever. Yeah, yeah, just take the take the trades, and it just doesn’t work that way. Yeah, it’s
[00:37:29] Speaker 1 not a good idea. I mean, it’s
[00:37:30] Speaker 3 not it’s not a good idea. So good. We definitely don’t do that. And the same thing happens at the nine month warranty. Right? Well, we contact them and these are those lists a little bit more extensive just because we just don’t think so. Yeah, yeah.
[00:37:46] Speaker 4 Yeah, you go through more seasons if you build a house in the summertime, you know, in the winter and your doors start shrinking, you know, a cabinet door might come loose. Forty five, or I’m sorry, let’s say seventy five days after settlements are already done, our third, our 60 day walk through and then right, you know, the longer you live in the house and longer kids are open up drawers and doors and you know how that happens? Yeah.
[00:38:07] Speaker 1 Yeah. So let’s so Mike, tell us, what is the warranty on the home?
[00:38:11] Speaker 3 So there is a one year warranty that’s basically soup to nuts, right? There is a two year warranty on mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. There’s a 10 year structural warranty. And then all the parts and pieces also have their warranties. So, you know, a warranty on the roof products, a warranty on the water heater and so on and so forth.
[00:38:38] Speaker 1 Deciding the flooring, the car, everything you know. So they all have manufacturer’s warranty.
[00:38:42] Speaker 3 They they all have manufacturer’s warranties. Yeah, correct. Correct, correct. The the other thing I was going to say that that’s important and I know we focus on is when we’re turning over the home, we’re saying to our customers, Hey, pay attention to the countertops and the floors and whatnot because and we’re not suggesting that movers do a bad job, but it’s not uncommon for somebody to scrape something to damage something. And so, you know, those type of looking at the the surfaces are very important because it may be hard for us to warranty something or scratch a scratch, right?
[00:39:25] Speaker 1 If it was sold out on the exact yeah,
[00:39:28] Speaker 2 yeah, I typically relate it to when you used to go into your great grandmother’s home and they’d have the plastic coverings on the couch so that the couch wouldn’t get any stains on it, right? We do something similar when we build the homes, when we’re building the house and it’s under construction. We put protective coverings over your countertops, right floors. We put cardboard on the fit across the face of the cabinets, on the lower cabinets so that if anybody walks by with a tool belt on, they’re not scratching the surface of the of the cabinet door. Right. When we turn the home over to you, we’re presenting you with the finished product. So we’re remove all those items. Yeah, but there’s still something that’s going to be going into the house and people that are going to be coming in and working in the home. And that’s your movers, are your friends and relatives that help you move your furniture into the house if you choose to go that route? Yeah. And they may not be aware of all these things. So we try to give them some guidelines and say, Look, we’ve had all these protective coverings down for a reason. Yeah, because these items are susceptible to scratching and the damage, right, you need to be aware of that and be careful as you’re moving in. You can put your own protective measures down to help that. It’s a lot of good moving companies will do.
[00:40:37] Speaker 1 Absolutely.
[00:40:39] Speaker 2 Or you can just be very observant as these things are going on and try to prevent them from happening. Right. I think the other important aspect of our doing our walk throughs are 60 day in our nine month warranty walks is that we can see how the people are living in the home. Hmm. We’re walking around the home with them. We observe things that are going on. We can give them tips to things that they may not be paying attention to or may not have done. That can prevent them further issues down the line. Right?
[00:41:09] Speaker 1 Like what? For example, if
[00:41:10] Speaker 2 they have a weld exit and they have a bunch of debris or leaves because they went through a fall season? Yeah, that’s blocking that weld exit train. We advise them, Hey, you need to make sure that you’re keeping this area cleaned out now. That’s something we talked to them about from the pre-construction meeting on. But it also gives us another point of reference where we can be out of the home and say, Hey, this is something that could be a problem for you. Make sure you’re taking
[00:41:33] Speaker 4 care of this. Another big one on that topic is settlement around the exterior of the foundation. Right? So any time that they see the grade subsiding around a window, well, or something, that’s something that we don’t warranty, but something that we advise them to keep an eye on if they see it. I will tell them, call a landscape company or if you want to go to Home Depot, buy a couple of bags of topsoil and some grass and just level it out, make it say a positive grade away from the house.
[00:41:58] Speaker 1 And that’s pretty, you know, and you can predict if it’s going to happen or not. It depends on the compaction rate of the soil, right? And but settling in as normal warranty, though? Yeah, exactly.
[00:42:08] Speaker 3 Yeah, yeah, I would say probably one other thing kind of falls outside of warranty, but it’s within the warranty period and this is more site related is when a customer paves their driveway. I don’t know Tim or Pat if you want to talk about base code and top code.
[00:42:27] Speaker 2 Yes. So you know, a big item that a lot of homeowners are going to experience after they’ve moved into the home is settlement. In order for us to build the home, we have to build outs or dig the dirt outside the actual overall limits of the home. Right? The outside edges.
[00:42:47] Speaker 3 And that would also be just laterals, correct? Or plumbing, plumbing, electrical like ever. And they cross over the driveway
[00:42:54] Speaker 1 and they settle.
[00:42:54] Speaker 3 Yeah. And it’s more the moving truck. It’s not a 100 degrees out. Yeah, is bringing their furniture in and they’re parked for six hours, you know, one relatively new asphalt and they leave indentations. So we purposely leave the asphalt down normally about an inch, right? So that if and certainly we’re not saying that it happens all the time. But if during the, let’s say, the first six, seven eight months, there is some settlement before they top code it, they can cut out that base, patch it and then top code and then you get a nice, clean final product, correct?
[00:43:36] Speaker 2 And they’re also using a different type of asphalt as well. With for the base code, they’re using what we call a larger aggregate, which is a bigger stone. It doesn’t have a smooth finish to it. It’s more of a solid base, which is why we call it a base coat. It can withstand a little bit more of that movement and settlement that you experience. Now we’re putting a compacted underlayment down. There was stone, but still you’re going to experience some of this stuff. And the idea is that you don’t put a topcoat down to a certain period of time afterwards and go through a couple of seasons where you get exposure to that settlement. That may occur. Let it happen. Yeah, but it happened.
[00:44:15] Speaker 3 So and I don’t know if Pat or Tim, you guys want to talk about the bomb release process. It’s not this again, it’s not necessarily part of the warranty, but it comes up during the warranty period. And I would say, you know, maybe talk about, I mean, most of most of our house is on the infill properties were sobbing. But if we see you got to have germination and so I don’t know if you want to talk a little bit about bone release.
[00:44:45] Speaker 4 So at the settlement process, one of the documents that we give to the homeowners is a bond release document. And when the bonds are generated at the beginning of
[00:44:57] Speaker 3 the year prior to the permits are released.
[00:44:59] Speaker 4 Yeah, we will give them a document that tells them what their bonds are, that they have typically homeowners going to know what bonds they pay for it because there’s money, right?
[00:45:06] Speaker 3 They want that they can hire a surety company, but you’re absolutely right. They they, you know, so it’s so little bit different. So like, for instance, Arlington ninety nine point nine percent of the jobs, you’ll even have bonds. Right, right. Whereas if you’re in other jurisdictions, you may have an erosion control bond. You may have a tree bond, you could have a right away bond. There’s all sorts.
[00:45:31] Speaker 1 What are what are the bonds run about? How much? I mean, just give me your.
[00:45:34] Speaker 3 Pens, so a VDOT bond, and I would say Jim Dodds, probably about the same can be 20 to 30 grand. Right, right. So it depends on how many, you know, if that’s for an apron connection, let’s say we have to dig up the street because let’s say it’s a vacant lot and we’ve got to bring in sewer and water. There’s other bonds in the right away. So long story short is the you have to have your use and occupancy there. If if, let’s say, we started a yard right put side down, they have instant grass. Right, right. So theoretically, day one after settlement, we can they can call the the county and go through what’s called a bond release. Really, inspector comes out and say, Yeah, you have you stabilized yard? And I mean, does it mean that next day you’re getting a check back if you posted a cash bond? But it goes to the, you know, could be to Richmond or could be if it’s Montgomery County and the check will be processed back to you.
[00:46:40] Speaker 1 Right. So the homeowner, if it’s a $20000 bond, they either have to put up $20000 cash,
[00:46:46] Speaker 3 which they hire a company think of is like an insurance company or like a bank where they will post the bond for you and you pay them. It’s really a state. It’s a stipend it percentage fee. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, it’s a small fee.
[00:46:59] Speaker 1 Yeah, but you don’t get the feedback. The No, just stop paying the fee. Exactly. Yeah, yeah.
[00:47:04] Speaker 3 Yeah. So you see when you go through the bond release
[00:47:07] Speaker 2 and yeah, and there are some bonds in some jurisdictions where we have extended bonds that go a little bit longer because we’re having to plant trees or vegetation that they want to come out and observe after a year.
[00:47:19] Speaker 3 Yeah. Salt Lake City of Falls Church, I think, is like a two year tree bond, right? So you got to wait two years before you call him for bond release because they want to make sure they meaning the jurisdiction wants to make sure it goes through a couple of growing seasons, right?
[00:47:33] Speaker 1 Trees are established. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Cool. So, so is there anything else you can think of with regard to where it’s so really what I’m hearing?
[00:47:41] Speaker 3 Well, I would just say the one other thing
[00:47:44] Speaker 4 I like to get is matching the drywall paint certificate that we also provide at settlement because that it’s a big thing that comes up with the warranty. OK, then the one thing we didn’t mention when we were talking about the new home orientation at that meeting, what we also do was a blue tape the house. Mm hmm. So all the old Nixon things in the paint or imperfections
[00:48:05] Speaker 3 that that we haven’t already already
[00:48:07] Speaker 4 addressed? Yeah, we will lock the house when we’re making generating less new home adjustment list. We will. I’ll hand the role of blue tape to the homeowners. I’ll have a royal blue tape and then see where six feet away normal daylight, where you see an imperfection in the wall, you blue tape it. Those items do not go on that list because you can’t right every little imperfection in the way we would
[00:48:30] Speaker 3 just have a note that says General Bloom, right? Yeah. So there would be something on the list, but it’s not like three inches in and five inches down on this wall, right? Right. Having said that, the house is, you know, you could have four pieces of blue tape in a 4000 square foot house. You could have 16, right? So it’s it’s hard to quantify because we’ve already walked the house, right? You know, Stanley Martin to make sure with our touch up crews to make sure the house is fine too.
[00:49:05] Speaker 4 I just wanted to mention that because is a question that constantly comes up when I’m doing this, either the new home orientation with the homeowner or the settlement and that settlement, we will give the client a drywall paint certificate. Yeah, it’s good for one year from settlement, OK, that they can call the drywall company first to come in and fix any nail pops
[00:49:25] Speaker 1 or which hardly ever happens
[00:49:27] Speaker 4 yet. Yeah. And then after the drywall company comes in, the paint will come typically the next day and do his thing, and that’s a one time free certificate that they’re welcome to use. I typically tell them 10 months or after settlement, so you can get the most, the most bang for your buck for that right? One time certificate
[00:49:46] Speaker 3 and the good news, at least with our specs, we don’t even use nails anymore. Exactly. We do call it a nail polish. That’s what the industry calls it. But we actually glue and screw.
[00:49:56] Speaker 1 That’s what I was going. Yeah, so
[00:49:59] Speaker 3 but the industry knows it commonly as a nail pop and there’s moisture in the woods. So the wood is no matter. Even if the house was built indoors, the wood that they’re using still has a moisture content and it’s got to dry out. And so you will get some shrinkage from the wood and you may get some.
[00:50:23] Speaker 1 So you will use that certificate. Yeah, yeah, we do.
[00:50:27] Speaker 2 And that’s why we have it. It’s an expectation, right? Yeah, you’re when you move into a new home, we’ve you build it. The elements. It’s not completely. There are periods of time where it’s exposed, and like Mike said, we’re using materials that, you know, once you conceal the home and you shut everything up and you’re running air conditioning and you’re running condition. You have conditioned space. The moisture that’s in the wood that’s in other materials is going to adjust to that and acclimate to that new environment. Right. So it’s going to dry out a little bit. And as a result, you’re going to get some settlement
[00:51:09] Speaker 3 because shrinkage in the industry because settlement has bad connotations. Yes, and it could mean the actual foundation. We’ve never had this right. Bring it up. A foundation, theoretically could settle. Right? But we’ve and in my entire construction career, I’ve never experienced a family.
[00:51:29] Speaker 1 The processes? Yeah, exactly.
[00:51:31] Speaker 3 We do this geotechnical reports.
[00:51:33] Speaker 1 And yeah, so so what I’m taking away from this conversation is the whole process is not black and white. It’s not like, you know, you brought up settlement, right? It’s a it’s a process. So the process of turning the home over to the home owner happens really over a period of time, and it starts with the new home orientation. You know, then you have settlement and you have your then then obviously the buyer moves in and and they’re living in the home and then we have a 30 day walk. So we have a 60 day walk and then we have a nine month walk where we address any outstanding items from the orientation, either re-orientate them with their home or address any warranty items.
[00:52:13] Speaker 3 And I would say, probably importantly, we call it a nine month walk. Mm-Hmm. The the nuance here is if you go back to our conversation about warranties, right, our trades, we have a contract with our trades. We have a one year soup to nuts, right? So we want to make sure that if there is something wrong that is Warren to bowl, that we get it to our trades before the year, right? So we don’t want to have a one year warranty process that we then go back to the trades. And now we’re 14 months after settlement, right? So that’s why we do nine months.
[00:52:53] Speaker 1 Exactly right.
[00:52:54] Speaker 3 Because the customer could be out of town for four weeks, right? So we don’t even meet busy for right? Exactly.
[00:52:59] Speaker 1 Yeah, it happens. Fantastic.
[00:53:01] Speaker 3 And then I would say just one last thing, which is we, we we we take the customer’s temperature right after settlement. We also take our customers temperature after the warranty period. And again, we are running 100 percent satisfaction. So that’s a testament to the product, the quality of the product and the quality of the experience.
[00:53:24] Speaker 1 Absolutely. It’s amazing, and it’s been that way for over a decade. Well over a decade.
[00:53:28] Speaker 3 Been that way for a long. Yes.
[00:53:30] Speaker 1 Congratulations, Michael starts with you. Yes, sure. And we all know the nuances.
[00:53:37] Speaker 3 It doesn’t end with a lot of people.
[00:53:40] Speaker 1 It ends with Tim. Exactly. Yeah, it starts with Michael and it ends. Yeah, that’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. All right, Fellows, thanks again for coming in. And again, folks, if you want to get started on the path to your very own Stanley Martin custom home, give us a call or click today. Thank you.
[00:53:58] Speaker 4 Thank you. Thank you.