Damien Baden New Construction Realtor: All right. So currently we’re in one of the properties that Cleveland Custom Builders has under construction. And Tony Kucia and I want to share with you some of the obstacles that we’ve run into in the past month with new construction, specifically with this house. So Tony, would you like to share a little bit about the struggles home builders are facing?
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: Sure. I can do that. Over the last month, we’ve been working on drywall, which typically it’s a three-week process. We’re in our seventh week of drywall. The quality is still there. Some of the key things, regardless of the labor shortages, we’re all experiencing. And regardless of all the different obstacles, we have in home building industry, you still have to put your best foot forward and try to follow best practices.
One of the things is I’ve got the air conditioning running in this home. You can see we’re not quite primed yet. I do have the hardwood stacked here so we’re getting everything to acclimated. One of the ways we can help avoid certain problems is by greater acclimation of products going into the home, allowing the home to dry out quicker. So as we continue to build, the house drys out quicker. Come you’re a one-year service, you’re going to have less movement or schrinkage in your newly constructed home because it went through best practices while it was being built. So that just results in better results long-term.
Damien Baden New Construction Realtor: So one of the big things, you’re not really bringing up and it goes back to when you look at different restaurants and they’re closing their doors and, you know, they can’t service people properly. Same thing with our dry Waller on this new construction home in Newburgh Heights. One thing that happened here that was not something you could ever expect, but his crew didn’t show up for work. So we had to go out and hire new people. And the reason he has taken so long, he ended up having to fire those people because they weren’t meeting his quality, which would then affect quality and Tony’s work.
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: Correct. So that was what, when Damien is saying is that was based on my drywaller’s decision. He’s the owner of the company. And, and he had guys that weren’t performing correctly. He fired them because he knew my level of expectations and he was upholding those because he has the same level of integrity. So with that, we lost some timing and got some different people. We’re getting there and the Cleveland Custom Builder clients are understanding, they know in the end things may take a little bit longer, but it’s the quality going into their new construction home that’s well worth the current delay.
Damien Baden New Construction Realtor: And then with different items in terms of, you know, ordering doors or cabinets or anything like that, are we experiencing the same sort of delays that we have in the past or is that somewhat getting better today?
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: Yeah, we’re still experiencing, I mean, I would tell you that it’s the factories that have it the worst. Anything that’s more customed like cabinets, we’re still experiencing some big, very large, lead times. For example, Carter lumber, my, purchaser of my trim, and supplier of my trim doors and cabinets on the finish end. They have now purchased a truck specifically to go to KraftMaid, which is local because we try to buy local and use local. Now they’re taking that truck To Kraftmaid and now picking up the cabinets and bringing them to Carter because that logistically, that was one of the big holdups. The cabinets were getting made in a decent timeframe. And we were running about 20 weeks from order to job site. Now we’ve cut that down to about six weeks to eight weeks from order to delivery to job site, because we’re basically losing six, seven weeks of cabinets is sitting complete and sitting there on the dock waiting to ship because we had no one to ship them.
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: So they answered that problem and all that lead time. And they’re losing business. Carter was losing business over it because they couldn’t get the cabinets fast enough when people heard that and they’re like, well, we’ll go elsewhere. So they saw an opportunity based on the problem their delivering and the answer to it. Now they’re able to ship more and of course their volume and business of the Kraftmaid cabinetry have increased because of that. And again, I’m a big proponent of buying local. I mean, one of the reasons, I mean, we’re actually here in Newburgh Heights and, and just to do a little sidebar, Newburgh Heights is a, was a very old community. It’s nestled right next to Cleveland right next to, co Cuyahoga Heights and it’s in a re-growth mode.
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: It’s a rebirth mode. So now you’ve got the cities that are in the city of Cleveland seeing a rebirth. Now you’ve got the village of Newburgh Heights, I should say, very important, very safe community, very low tax community. And ultimately, they’re on a rebound. They’ve got the 15 year, a hundred percent tax abatement available. There’s a lot of opportunity here. Many people come in here because of the a hundred percent tax abatement. And, they either send their kids local or they pay private for the kids schooling. And I know the Cleveland Heights school system, I’m a product of it. My kids are going there. It’s right down the street and people send their kids there because of the opportunities they have in the savings with the tax savings to go, and send their kids to a very A+ school.
Damien Baden New Construction Realtor: So one of the big things is if you’re thinking about building, the one thing you do got to keep in mind is there’s going to be some delays, but these are not normal delays of something we would have experienced probably two and three years ago. But as long as you go in with a mindset and don’t have somebody over promising timeframes, then you should realistically enjoy the home building process and understand if there’s some hiccups in terms of labor issues or even some product issues. But at the end of the day, the custom builders get a little beat up right now from their clients, just due to the fact that they assume it might be the builder’s problem. And home builders are really working through a lot of different issues right now, that they really can’t control and they just have to navigate as best as they can. Would you agree with that?
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: Is that a hundred percent, you know, we’ve gone through the up cycle of lumber over the last 20 months, and now it’s sliding back down. Of course, everyone buys a different bulks and different dates. So we’re still working through that, specifically with Carter lumber, my provider, and, and now we’re seeing a cyclical effect with the boom in new construction. We’re seeing the effect of the trade shortage of getting the houses built frame correctly. And again, it goes back to relationships. So if you have good relationships with good trades you’re going to get great results because you have those relationships. So it’s all hand in hand, but ultimately there are certain things you just can’t control. And the labor shortage, as we know, when I started this conversation, I’ll end it with this. It’s real. And it’s real in the home building industry. And all we’re doing is working our way through. It just takes time. So it adds time to the home build. But again, honesty and integrity, be upfront. Let people know, banks know the construction loan timeframes have increased. Custom home builders are working through that and we’ll continue to move forward and, and at the end of the day still provide and produce the best built home at the best price with the best quality results.
Damien Baden New Construction Realtor: Cool. Thanks Tony.
Tony Kucia Cleveland Custom Builders: Thank you.