As they faced a growing list of repair projects in their previous home, Keith and Jeanne Givelekian found themselves daydreaming about a fresh start. Once they added up the expenses for addressing all the tasks on their renovation list, the couple concluded that moving to a new home was their best bet. Their interest was piqued by the idea of building a brand-new home that could be tailored to their unique preferences, right down to selecting the perfect plot of land.
After exploring their options in the Cleveland suburbs, they ultimately decided to partner with Drees’ “Build on Your Lot” program. This program allows buyers the opportunity to build a Drees home on their own land, within a custom community or even via an infill project in a historic neighborhood. This offers prospective buyers a variety of home site choices that extend beyond the typical Drees neighborhood.
The Givelekians decided to bring Drees into a custom community. They sat down with us to share helpful insights and experiences from their own journey.
What floor plan did you choose and what attracted you to this design?
We chose the Buchanan. When we walked into the model home, the two-story family room was stunning. It made the room look so grand. From the family room, we love the views from the windows looking outside. We also really enjoy the views from the kitchen and stairwell. Additionally, the Buchanan had a home office, which we needed. We also loved the double doors opening into the primary bedroom, and we were drawn to the overall layout of the suite’s bathroom and walk-in closet.
As you have watched your new home’s design come to life, what have been your favorite features?
That is tough to narrow down as there were several. First off, we absolutely love our family room. The stone fireplace going all the way to the ceiling with shiplap surrounding it has never ceased to amaze us each time we see it. We also love the beautifully stained staircases.
Additionally, we love our kitchen. Our Market Manager Amanda helped us incorporate a double island, and the amount of kitchen storage we have is perfect. We’re so pleased with how our countertops – especially the leathered granite – and our tile turned out. We were also pleased with the hardwood floors and beams in the dining room.
The shower in our primary suite is gorgeous. We did the same super shower as the model home. It features subway tile, and we love how it turned out. It’s such a treat to see it from our bedroom. We also have enjoyed our finished basement with surround sound, as it’s a nice place for us to watch movies as a family. And we spend most of our time on the covered porch out back. We like being outside, and it’s the perfect size for us.
What did you enjoy most about the building process?
We loved our weekly visits as a family, and it helped that our former house was only five minutes away. We enjoyed seeing it “come to life” and dreaming about how this house was turning into our home. With teens and a baby, it was great to have them be a part of the process. When we were ready to move, it was such an easy and seamless transition that everyone was incredibly excited about.
We also really enjoyed the opportunity to talk with our Builder Anthony each week and the check-ins from our Market Manager Amanda. We felt like they were a part of our family and were truly excited for us as we partnered together on our dream home. That really made a big difference as they were with us each step of the way, helping us as things came up and going above and beyond to try and make it happen. We also loved meeting some of the great craftsmen who were a part of the home build, from the painters to carpenters.
What advice would you give others who are interested in building a home?
Our advice is to enjoy the special time to its fullest. We would also recommend taking the time to understand the pros and cons of building vs. buying a resale home. Part of this includes having a relatively firm budget, so that as you start the initial phase of the home building journey, you can work with Drees on estimates for the customizations you anticipate to ensure they remain within your budget.
Prior to Drees, we started with another home builder and got to a point where we had to strip out so many of our design selections/customizations, that it would have been a very generic home. For us, we decided that it didn’t make sense, so we opted out of building. A fresh opportunity then emerged with Drees, and we designed the home we dreamed of that was within our budget. Did we get everything we wanted? No, but we compromised in those areas to stay within budget.
We also recommend that people build a strong relationship with Drees. Sadly, we heard tales of homeowners not being the kindest to their contacts at Drees. Remember, they are people as well, really trying their best. Sometimes things happen or it doesn’t turn out as you thought, but the outlet shouldn’t be on Drees. Instead, work with them and the relationship, and through adversity, you work on it together. But most of all, enjoy this special time of building. We did, and it has been a great experience in every way.
Why did you choose to build with Drees?
First off, we were very impressed with the models we visited. All of them featured excellent craftmanship, and there were numerous floor plans to choose from when trying to find your ideal home. We also had extremely positive interactions with everyone we met at Drees before we even signed a contract. Lastly, we felt Drees maximized value and quality. That meant a lot to us, because we’ve owned homes of lesser quality, and you can have costly issues down the road. (That was why we moved from our last home.) We would recommend Drees to anyone.