We agree with most Homeseekers - building a new home should be fun, way easier and much less expensive than it is. We feel your pain but the reality is; it has never been more difficult, complicated and spendy to build the home of your dreams than it is right now - and that unfortunately ain't changing anytime soon.
That makes choosing the right Builder even more important than ever before. At Hickory Homes we work hard to keep the main thing the main thing - which for us is an uncommon focus on our Clients - our story is all about their story.
To give you a little insight into our company, people, product and processes, we've assembled a few questions and answers below that we hope you find helpful. We’re a simple, blue-collar company and we believe authentic straight-forward honesty in communication is the key to an awesome homebuilding experience. Thank you for being here.
We launched Hickory Homes in 2010 with our first new home starting the summer of 2011.
Our small Team of Hicks has collectively over 50 years of homebuilding and residential construction industry experience. We use to be young brash hotshots but now we’re the old, wise and crafty veteran experts of the industry.
Our goal is to build between 15 and 20 homes a year - big enough to leverage some buying power with vendors and trades but small enough so every project – and every customer experience – is vitally important to our ongoing success.
In our heart of hearts we know that we design and build a better home than almost any Builder in our price point – we build homes exactly as we would if we were building them for ourselves.
But maybe more importantly than that is we simply care. Our Clients are trusting us with an insane amount of money on a project that will consume their lives for the better part of a year - we take that responsibility very seriously. We think about our Clients and their homes literally nonstop. Our passion is taking care of our Clients and building them the very best home possible. We love what we do - and we believe that shows in our work.
We don’t cut corners - we could use less expensive inferior products and nobody would ever know - but we would know. Most Builders are building to code minimums – meaning they’re fine with a D- grade as long as they don’t fail. We’re amazed at how many Builders are still using 1980’s building practices and inferior products which is scary and unhealthy.
If you’re thinking of building a new home and even if Hickory Homes isn't the answer for you - do your homework. Please be careful – not all Builders are created equal so choose wisely.
This is a moving target obviously but our home packages - including the lot - typically run between $500,000 and $800,000 with our average home package trending at about $640,000 right now.
Much like our Clients - we want the best value for our money too so we work incredibly hard to hit the budget range we establish together. We know from experience that you almost always get what you pay for in a new home - cheap isn't good and good isn't cheap. It simply costs more money to build a better product - but the payback can last a lifetime.
One more note on home pricing and budgets; don't be fooled by the lower quoted or estimated price - focus more on the actual closed price. It's common for many Builders to have a 10 to 15% overage on their projects - so a home estimated at $500,000 actually finishes out in $550,000 to $575,000 range - that's a big difference and a lot of money. Ohhhh the games many Builders play.
Hickory Homes invest a lot of time and effort in the design, budgeting and pre-construction phases of each project to reduce costly surprises and rework once a project starts. We have a 1% variance goal for each project and we achieve it over and over. You deserve a better overall homebuilding experience and a Builder who cares about your money like it was their own money - that's the right Builder to choose.
Usually about five months from dig to close. Sometimes we’ll need to add an extra week or two for our winter builds but the 5 month range is a pretty solid estimate once we start construction.
The simple answer is NO.
For most people negotiating pricing is their least favorite part of buying or building a home - so we removed that part of the process. We work hard to give our Clients more home for their hard-earned money with a fair, honest and transparent transaction. Our profits are too thin to play that back and forth game and we don't add fluff or wiggle room to our home packages just to pretend to give our Clients a discount. That BS drives us crazy and gives Builders a bad name.
They don’t seem to be getting so expensive THEY ARE getting so expensive and the demand is so strong that we don't see rising prices ending anytime soon.
Out of control lot/land prices, increasing labor costs, bloated permit fees and material costs that have doubled in the last year are all battles we literally fight every single day. Our profit margins have stagnated and have even gone down to try to cover the rapidly increasing build costs - our Client's pain is our pain and it's very real.
The answer to this questions is almost always “NO”. If our Client is a Tradesperson themselves then we may be able to work that labor savings into the project but the days of “Uncle Louie helping wire the home” are long past gone.
Quality control and maintaining a strict schedule are so important to the overall success of a new home project that we typically can’t vary from our time and tested process by allowing homeowners to provide their own “sweat equity”. Some more rural Builders still allow this practice so if you want to do a bunch of the work yourself on your new home project we just may not be the right Builder for you is all.
Our suggestion after 30 years of building homes – trust the professionals to do their jobs.
Absolutely, if you’re working with a Realtor we’ll gladly walk you and your Realtor through our building process so you all feel comfortable. The first step of scheduling an "Explore Hickory" meeting is exactly the same.
If you’re not under contract or currently working with a Realtor no worries as you don't need a Realtor to build with Hickory Homes. We'll help you explore your options to see if building rather than buying is the best option for your and your family.
First - we believe that the majority of warranty work is created by bad designs, using inferior products or hiring sub-standard labor. Our theory is design well, use good stuff, hire experienced Tradespeople and manage the process with quality checks along the way and 99% of your service & warranty items go away.
With that said - we include a 1-year Workmanship warranty, a 2-year Mechanical warranty and a 10-year Structural warranty as a standard with each home we build.
We also include an in-depth Pre-Closing Orientation with our homes as well - which happens about a week before closing. We'll contact you at the 11-month anniversary of your closing to check-in again to see if anything needs a little extra love and attention. We're far from perfect buy boy we sure do try to be. Our service and warranty items for each home are usually pretty minimal – still very important to be taken care of but pretty minimal.
WARNING - Unlike Minnesota, Wisconsin state law does NOT require a Homebuilder to provide a warranty on their homes. Hickory Homes does of course but if you're making the mistake of considering other Builders please make sure you get the details on their service and warranty program - up front and in writing.
We started building in-fill homes in the St. Paul suburbs and are licensed in both Wisconsin and Minnesota. However, for the past several years our new home projects have been almost exclusively in Wisconsin - or as we like to call it "God's Country". Go Packers!
We focus our efforts on two main areas of Wisconsin; our Western Build Zone which covers most of St. Croix and Pierce counties in western Wisconsin and our Eastern Build Zone which covers most of Door County in eastern Wisconsin. We love designing and building homes in both areas and feel so fortunate that our homes are well received and sought after by so many.
No, we think remodeling should be illegal and you should be forced to buy new. Ha ha, just kidding of course. Remodeling and renovation work takes a very different mindset and a specific skillset that most new construction companies simply don't have, including us at Hickory Homes. The good Remodelers and Renovation Contractors are worth their weight in gold.
A lot of companies try to do both but in all of our years we can't recall a Builder who was a good Remodeler nor have we come across a Remodeler who was a good Builder - they're just completely different animals. We focus all of our attention on single family new construction homes.
Yes, Hickory Homes is what we in the industry would call a Design/Build firm - we can start from scratch or help you choose one of our portfolio home plans to personalize and customize.
When looking for a Builder choose one that has an in-house Design Team. Most Builders don’t and you can see it in their designs and in their quality. Many Builders are still getting stock cookie cutter home plans from their lumber company like we did in the 1980’s.
When you have two separate companies working on your new home project the Design Company designs, the Builder builds and they seldom work well together resulting in builder-blah creativity, communication and handoff issues, finger-pointing and blaming, rework delays and cost-overruns.
You deserve better. You deserve a Builder who listens to what you want and learns how your family lives in your home……and then has the talent and experience to guide you towards a home design that fits, that feels right – that you’ll love. Your new home will be one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make – trust it with a firm that cares enough to make it YOUR home.
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