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Looking for a builder

Posted by suburbanjuls (My Page) on
Mon, Mar 31, 14 at 15:10

Hi all,

I am trying to help my parents who live in the Columbus, Ohio area to find a reputable builder(I'm in CA and can only help from afar). They are in their 60's and wanting to downsize from their current 2600+ sqft 4/3 suburban two story house. They are looking for an age in place home that may very well be their forever home.

They haven't found an existing house that suits them after almost a year of looking. They are now looking at land to build on, but are at a loss on who to talk to besides basic(Wayne, Shumacher). Their current home was built by DiYanni. This time around they do not want to be in a neighborhood.

It seems very difficult to find a modest sized home(~2000 sqft) with a large kitchen and master areas. They are preparing to downsize, but they don't want to compromise so heavily on the main spaces that they will use all the time. They don't want a luxury build, but a good solid basic house with a few key upgrades.

They also don't know anything about building and really don't need to be worrying about cracked foundations and potential roof or plumbing problems in their retirement years due to shoddy building practices.

Any solid recs, or personal experiences to pass on? Thanks in advance!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Looking for a builder

When you say they don't want to be in a neighborhood, what do you mean? Do they want to build on acreage, in a more rural area, in a small town, in the city?

We built on 8 acres between Mt Vernon and Utica. We interviewed over 20 custom builders before we decided. We went with an Amish builder from Millersburg who was so highly regarded that he had a waiting list, during the leanest of building times, from only referrals from his satisfied customers. He does not advertise at all because he doesn't need to. His business is almost all by referal from former customers. We couldn't reccommend him more highly. He built us a beautiful house at a reasonable price and came in both under-budget and right on time. He builds in all price ranges and does very beautiful finish work. He builds in all the counties around Columbus. We could not be happier with our home and with the experience we had. He's very well known for quality homes and beautiful work. The realtors around here put "Built by Schlabach" in their For Sale ads because he is so known for his quality work. If you want a referral, send me an email.

Roy Schlabach

6678 State Route 241
Millersburg, OH 44654
Phone: (330) 674-9386


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RE: Looking for a builder

Thanks mainecoonkitty,

This is the kind of referral I am looking for. I can troll the internet as good as anyone, but specific references/experiences are what I need.

Yes, they are looking for acreage, primarily in Delaware or Licking county. Do you happen to know offhand if your builder comes out that far? I am just wondering about logistics of workers coming to and fro such a long distance.

I will absolutely pass this information on to my parents.

Also, would you mind telling me how long it took to build once you got started, and if you had home plans already or went with one of theirs.

Thanks again!


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RE: Looking for a builder

Yes...Schlabach builds in both Delaware and Licking County. It's not a problem at all for his working crews. They worked from 6:30 am until 5:00 or 6:00 pm 6 days a week on our house. They were never late and they were driven in from Holmes County and Danville every day. They took 1/2 hr for lunch and never stopped working during the day. Our house was built in 92 days, start to finish. He is normally building a couple of houses at the same time, so his foreman, Michael Mass, schedules the specialty crews (framing, drywall, painters, etc.) very precisely and they move from project to project with very few delays. It goes like clock-work. He gave us a daily schedule for the entire project from clearing the land to the finished walk-thru and they actually finished a few days ahead of schedule.

We had plans of our own when we started interviewing the builders, but Roy had a far better design that we liked more than ours, so he took his design and adapted it with things we wanted included. Roy is a brilliant space designer and he made many practical suggestions that were things that we had never thought of, and quite frankly, neither did the architect that did our original plans! He added a sunroom for us that is now our favorite place in the house. He added walls of windows in our Great Room that bounce light through the entire house and make it airy and bright, even in the darkest winter day. He recommended that we do a walkout basement and he gave us a high deck off our sunroom that has a screened in porch incorporated under the deck, off the walk out. I would have never thought to do that, but by doing it that way, we saved a huge amount of money over a free standing screened porch and the space is not wasted. That's the other thing about Amish builders - they do not waste anything. They measure so precisely that there is very little wasted materials. Ours was less than half a dumpster for the entire project, and that was mostly packing materials. We've had people stop on our road just to look at our house, then come up the driveway to ask who built it. Roy has now built several other homes around us - in all price ranges. There are three just within a couple of miles from us. I had honestly just about given up on building and was ready to put the land up for sale when we found Roy. At our first meeting, he sat and went over the plans we had in great detail and made pages notes about what we liked and didn't like, down to the smallest details. He spent over 4 hrs with us. Then he pulled out some of his own plans that were similar to ours, doing the same thing. We found one that we loved and incorporated many of the things we wanted and that was our starting point. We saved nearly $100,000 by using his plan and got nearly everything we originally wanted. He sent us to see the house itself, which he had recently finished in a nearby town. When I walked through it, I knew it was the one. We never looked at our original plans again. We had such a great experience with him and his workers that I would do it again in a heartbeat. The other thing that will blow your mind is that our attorney, who has been in Knox County forever, took one look at our construction contract, saw that it was Roy Schlabach building our house and said "If Roy gives you his word on something, he will deliver what he says he will, when he says he will. And he will always make it right, even years from now if you have a problem". That's been our experience with him. Last year, we had a problem with our garage door, which was installed by a sub-contractor Roy uses. The door was 4 yrs old and some of the bolts holding the panels together started breaking. The subcontractor came out and looked at it and was going to charge us $700 to fix it. My husband called Michael Mass and asked him about it, since that seemed high. The door was out of waranty by that time, but two days later, the sub called us and said he had been contacted by Roy and a new door was being ordered and would be installed within a week. When the installer came out, he said his company can't afford to lose all the business that Roy gives them, so they were replacing the door for free. When my husband called Roy to thank him, he said "you paid good money for a door that should have lasted more than 4 yrs and it's my reputation as a builder that's on the line." He's a very honorable businessman and that's rare to find in this world anymore.


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RE: Looking for a builder

Thanks mainecoonkitty,

Wow, that sounds like the kind of building experience i would love to have! I have emailed you offline.


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