Communication expectations with Joe Christensen: Cardinal Crest Homes

On this episode of The Building Code, Joe Christensen of Cardinal Crest Homes in Kansas City, Mo., joins Tesla Tom and Paul (just Paul) to talk about what sets Cardinal Crest Homes apart, creating an outstanding customer experience and, of course, the Chiefs winning the big game.

The Cardinal Crest Customer Experience

(Say that subheading five times, fast!)

Cardinal Crest Homes is a standout among design-build companies in Kansas City and a big reason why has to do with the customer experience they provide. Joe gave insight on what makes the customer experience one everyone will enjoy.

  • Put some heart into it. Joe thinks it’s important for the customer and his team to mesh well and trust one another. A customer is spending a large amount of money on a home for them and their family to live. Joe and his team do not take this responsibility lightly and put their hearts into the work to make it the best home for their customers.
  • Solve problems together. Joe said there will always be a problem that arises. That’s just the way home building works. It’s how the team and customer handle the problem together that makes it a good experience for everyone in the end.
  • Constant and organized communication. Cardinal Crest Homes customers sign a communication agreement that specifies they can text and call the project managers – but if they want any changes made, they must input a change order in Buildertrend. The Cardinal Crest Homes team also has an agenda for all clients. Selections are on a timeline and clients are given an agenda at every meeting to make sure the project manager and client are on the same page.
  • Photos. You can never give clients enough photos. Thankfully, Buildertrend makes it easy!

Links and more

Cardinal Crest Homes website

Cardinal Crest Homes Instagram

Cardinal Crest Homes Facebook

Joe Christensen | Cardinal Crest Homes

Tom Houghton:

You’re listening to “The Building Code,” your guide to a better way to run your business. I’m Tesla Tom.

Paul Wurth:

I didn’t think you’d actually do that.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

I did.

Paul Wurth:

We were having a conversation right before we get started yet. I do not want to say my first and last name anymore.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

So you just want be Madonna now?

Paul Wurth:

I just want to be Paul.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Just Paul.

Paul Wurth:

I feel like our listeners, like Joe here, understand who we are by now, right?

Joe Christensen:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

If you’ve listened to a few episodes. I’m Paul, you’re Tom.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Sometimes Tesla Tom, Hollywood Tom-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Tech Tom.

Paul Wurth:

Technology Tom, yeah. Let’s introduce the guest.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Okay. Joining us today on the podcast via phone is Joe Christensen, founder and owner of Cardinal Crest Homes, based out of Kansas City. Welcome to the podcast, Joe.

Joe Christensen:

Thank you. I’m glad to be here.

Paul Wurth:

Hello, Joe. Kansas City, just three hours south of us?

Joe Christensen:

Yeah, yeah, we’re really close to you guys.

Paul Wurth:

Midwest. Great marketing Kansas City. I love that town. It’s very similar to Omaha, but bigger. And it’s a different environment building wise for sure, which we’ll probably get into.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

And recent winners of the Super Bowl. And we should talk about that.

Joe Christensen:

How about those Chiefs?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

That’s right.

Paul Wurth:

Oh, that’s amazing. Is the city still buzzing?

Joe Christensen:

Yes. I mean, so what’s kind of cool is over the last like nine years. I’ve only lived here full-time nine years. We’ve had a Sporting Cup, MLS winners. Sporting is one.

Paul Wurth:

People go nuts for Sporting.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Joe Christensen:

Yep.

Paul Wurth:

MLS, yeah.

Joe Christensen:

And we had the Royals World Series win.

Paul Wurth:

That’s right.

Joe Christensen:

And we’ve had now the Chiefs, so it’s been a good decade for Kansas City sports. It’s been really cool.

Paul Wurth:

And the team looks like they’re not going anywhere.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah, now.

Joe Christensen:

Totally [crosstalk].

Tesla Tom Houghton:

It’s a solid team.

Paul Wurth:

They’ll be competitive. That’s great.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Joe Christensen:

Yep, yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Good for you.

Joe Christensen:

It’s definitely like, because it’s a smaller town, it means a lot to the city. And so, the city is still buzzing like you said. That’s a good word for it.

Paul Wurth:

This is kind of a joke question, but not really like, do sales go up when something like that happens in the city?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

I mean like if-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

People are…

Paul Wurth:

… it was my team and like, they just want, and I’m young, like I met my younger Thursday, I’m staying here for a while. I feel good.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

I’m feeling good.

Paul Wurth:

Let’s go buy a house.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Double down.

Paul Wurth:

Is that true or not? Is that helpful?

Joe Christensen:

Translated to that? Actually, I think showings in our showing reports through our model homes, showings were down during the playoffs, and the Super Bowl, obviously.

Paul Wurth:

Sure.

Joe Christensen:

And the week after it picked up a ton.

Paul Wurth:

Well, there you go.

Joe Christensen:

I guess there was some-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

There’s something there.

Joe Christensen:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Well, I’ll take that offline. I’ll do a whole data report on that. Sure, because I’m excited to read that report. Visit every winning team. So just go to new England for-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Sure.

Paul Wurth:

… six years. Go to the Patriots for the next 10 years and see what happens.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

And see what happens.

Paul Wurth:

We’re off-track. So-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

We have no wings.

Paul Wurth:

As many of our listeners know, we a new company on that hasn’t been on the podcast yet. We want to know all about you, Joe, Cardinal Crest. We’d like to start there.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yep, tell us the background of the name.

Paul Wurth:

Tell us about the name.

Joe Christensen:

Oh, it’s actually kind of funny. So it actually was a college project. Cardinal Crest Homes was a capstone project my business partner and I created, and for the NAHB Student Competition. So I don’t know if you guys are aware of that. Yeah, so every year the student competitions happen, and they give you a big project. You do a feasibility study, a market analysis on a project. Well, ours, 10 years ago was for a home builder, that was a scattered lot home builder in North Carolina. North Carolina state bird was a Cardinal, and they had the Appalachian mountains. So we kind of made up crest. We created this logo and we really liked it. And in the end we… It kind of goes into a little bit how we started, but that’s where the name comes as funny as it is, like old school project.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

That’s incredible.

Paul Wurth:

Is that still the logo today?

Joe Christensen:

Yeah. So it’s still the same logo. We’ve kind of morphed it now, where like a lot of times, we’ll just use the bird, an outline of the cardinal because that’s kind of become popular enough around the city that we’ve branded it a little bit more. So now we’re trying to be really cool like Apple and not show the name and just hope to lead people say like the bird and be like, “Well, that’s Cardinal Crest.” It’s not working yet, but who knows?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Aspirations are good. We welcome those.

Paul Wurth:

Apple Tom likes that.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Apple Tom likes that.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah, big time.

Joe Christensen:

Well, I knew tech Tom was going to be in on that.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Oh, absolutely.

Paul Wurth:

He literally, and this is not hyperbole. You literally own every device like consumer device that they’ve ever brought up.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yes.

Paul Wurth:

That’s unbelievable.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

True story.

Paul Wurth:

That’s a true story.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

So we won’t go down there.

Joe Christensen:

Yeah, okay. Good.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

That would be another five-minute segment. What’d you want to do?

Paul Wurth:

Five.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

We’ll see.

Paul Wurth:

Don’t get him started.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Okay. So great. You started this when you were talking about the logo and the name, how you got started. So let’s just go down that road. So what happened afterwards?

Joe Christensen:

Okay. So I went back to college. I graduated, I was 29. Before that I had worked with a commercial contractor, original home builder. I’m actually originally from Las Vegas, and my business partner and I met in college. I was 29 at that time, and I had some experience beneath my belt. And I said, “Listen.” It was 2010. I said, “I’m ready. Market’s actually down.” I had high hopes that it was going to have an upswing. And I said, “If there’s any time to make it work, it’s now. So, we actually took what we did in that project of that NAHB Competition and copied it around the country. So we actually looked in the Kansas City. I looked into Utah, she grabs me on Brigham Young University. I looked into North Carolina, San Antonio, some other hot-market markets.

Joe Christensen:

In the end, we picked Kansas City. I have some family ties here. The reason we picked Kansas City was because of no national builders, no regional builders. It is dominated by local builders, and the largest builder at that time only owned like 2% of the market. It’s a very on your lot kind of building similar to Boise, Idaho. I have some friends who have built in Boise, and similar to that, although Boise’s grown a little faster. But anyway, in a nutshell, that’s what we ended up moving out here. Starting from scratch, built our first model home in 2011, and fired away. And at that time market was pretty bad. Well, it was kind of just stuttering. And so, we were pretty low expectations. We were thinking, “Hey, we get this one home, we’ll slowly go on that. We’ll do some remodels in the side.” And it slowly just started spiraling to now. 2011 to date, so almost nine years in business. We’ve done about 120 homes and a handful of other remodels along the way as well, so it’s been great.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

That’s awesome.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah, that’s great. So it was just you and your business partner to start?

Joe Christensen:

Yep.

Paul Wurth:

And were you guys just working out of your home and just sort of making it work or what?

Joe Christensen:

Yeah, we did a couple things. We worked out of our homes at times. The funny thing is when we first started my business partner didn’t have a vehicle. I was the only one with a truck, and it was a Silverado maroon truck, single cab. And so, I would pick him up from his apartment, and we would head to the job sites, but yeah, we worked out of our apartment at first. Maybe we really bootstrapped it for a while and then a basement. And even to this day, I mean, we’ve had some great success, but we still… I’m currently in one of our model homes. We office out of the garages of all our model homes. We don’t currently have an actual rented office space. And we’re 10 on, including my business partner and our staff members, so.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah, that’s a good team.

Paul Wurth:

Let’s talk about that. So, I honestly don’t know. What are the advantage as a construction company? And it probably depends on what segment you’re in and what type of construction you do. Like if you don’t have any clients, I assume that you don’t really need a place for your potential homeowners to come. But that aside, what are the advantages for a construction company to go out and go ahead and get an office? And what are the advantages to just keep remotely doing it? Because a lot of companies inside construction and out, like I can think of software companies when they’re starting up, they’re all remote. And they all work off coffee shops, and you got Zoom, and you got FaceTime, and you’ve got everything to say connected. So what are some of the advantages in your opinion, Joe, just of having that real physical office and not?

Joe Christensen:

So, like for us, the model homes have always been like an easy transition. We’re not going to transition, like an easy home base. Because right now what we’ve done, and we’ve done for years, we used to be in the basement of our model homes. And now, we do like a mini split system in the garage and we do it at the garage. But what’s nice is that, I meet clients right in the model home. We usually deck out the model homes. They’re the showstoppers. Nothing in there’s a base material, whatever you may say. So it’s really nice to be able to walk out and say, on our first meeting, “Here’s our model home. Here it is, and I don’t have to drive to that.”

Joe Christensen:

And people, I mean, Missouri… I live in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s called the Show Me State, I feel like for a reason. Like you can have a million pictures, but people want to touch and feel a home, because it’s emotional, right? It’s a big investment. All your memories are made here. So people are very much wanting to see and touch it. And so, it’s really worked really well. But the disadvantages, I’ll tell you that. The advantages are that I’m right here on the home base and I’ve gotten a product right in front of people.

Paul Wurth:

Yep. That makes sense.

Joe Christensen:

But the disadvantages, which eventually is going to… It already kind of has gotten to us is that parking… I’m in the neighborhood, and I’ve got now nine trucks and cars, and say Cardinal Crest on the side.

Paul Wurth:

Oh, yeah.

Joe Christensen:

And so I’m like, we’ve got a three car garage driveway that I’m like packed in tight. We’ve got people on the street, and we try to visit the homeowners and tell them, “Hey, this is a temporary. We’re going to be really courteous and if there’s anything ever happens, we’ll take care of it.” But I could feel sometimes the tension of that, that like these guys are running a construction company out of their garage, which we are. That’s 100% correct.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah. It’s a nice garage though. Yeah, it’s a good garage, yeah.

Joe Christensen:

Yeah. I mean, when people open the door to the garage, it leaves. So, that’s the end of the disadvantage. Parade of Homes happens.

Paul Wurth:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joe Christensen:

We have the lock the door. And my desk happens to be right by the door. And if somebody doesn’t lock the door, you have this awkward moment when someone opens the door, realizes that there’s a huge office home base in this garage. And they just stare at you for at least like… It’s like a deer in the headlights moment with human beings. And it’s really weird, and it happens every time. They usually just stare at you for like 30 seconds or a minute and go, “Oh, this is an office?” And then I have to be really nice, because they could be a potential client. And I say, “Yes it is. Is there anything I can do for you?” And I hope the answer is no, but when it’s yes, there goes my day.

Paul Wurth:

Sure. Right, yeah.

Joe Christensen:

So that from…

Paul Wurth:

So you’re always getting interrupted throughout the day.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

That’s a tough one.

Joe Christensen:

It can. Most of the time-

Paul Wurth:

It can happen.

Joe Christensen:

… we lock that door, and I don’t answer it, unless someone persisted.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Sure.

Paul Wurth:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Joe Christensen:

But I see it slowly coming to an end. We are bringing another project manager on board, and that’s going to be our 10th. We’re going to be 10 people in here. I emotionally love it, because of just being so close to my product. I’m going to miss that. So I feel like, “Wow, it’s going to be hard to meet people at just some office space. Do I have to build out something cool?” But then I’m like, “I don’t want to spend that money.” But I don’t want to show people just some run of the mill office space with Gino carpet tiles. And so right now, we got that that hinge point of what to do. Anyway, that’s a great question. That’s been on my mind for a long time.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah. I’m sure a lot of listeners are thinking about that too. So thanks for sharing your experience on that. Let’s transition a little bit. Talk about what sets Cardinal Crest apart. Because you’ve been on our radar for a little while, just because of your customer experience that you offer. So we kind of like to dive in and talk about that if that’s cool with you.

Joe Christensen:

Yeah. You guys didn’t pay me to say this or anything. We’ve been using Buildertrend for almost the inception of Cardinal Crest. I think it’s been eight and a half years or so. Eight years. And I say that to segue in what sets us apart. We have always looked at like we’re a service industry, right? And a lot of people say that. And so, as a service industry, how do you get rid of the friction of the purchasing? The experience of… And we mostly build custom homes, so they’re there. So before… We do have models, but those are just to show people. So we’re constantly getting into the nitty-gritty of how do you solve all the friction points of the customer experience? How do you stop those combustion points as you’re going throughout the build process? And we’ve actually won. And we use Buildertrend religiously in certain areas to help solve some of those things.

Joe Christensen:

So what we do, we’re a custom builder. We’re super heavy on pre-construction. And that’s really unique to us in this Kansas City area. I know it’s not unique nationally, so if somebody comes to us and they go through our stock plans and actually decide they want to build with us. We get a design deposit down, and then we have in-house architecture. So we’re true design build where we’re going to take four to six weeks. They can take one of our base plans and they can tweak it. They can go full custom. And so, we have an architecture department of two guys that handle all that. And after that architecture gets down, and we’ve got a solid plan, we give them a new base price. And then we go onto pre-construction selections. And we have a full time interior designer, and we do everything.

Joe Christensen:

And I tell people I want to get down to 98% of the cost of the home at final contract. I want to be able to have a 2% contingency, or gray area. And really, I’d tell them the only thing that I don’t know is the subsurface materials. Everything else, we should be able to figure out. If we’ve got a lot, if we’ve got a plan, and we’re going to control the specs, I could be able to get a client 98%. And the 2% is going to be what’s underneath the soil that I can’t control and maybe acts of God. I mean, that pre-construction could be three months. It depends on the client, and how big the home is. It can be four to six months of what their timeline is. But we’re really heavy on that.

Joe Christensen:

And the reason being is because if you’re a custom architecture, immediately, a lot of times people separate architecture and interior design too much, where depending on like… Just like in the bathroom. The way the bathroom lines up, it directly communicates and talks with interior design as well. They go hand in hand. And a lot of times what happens, and we noticed this, and this is why we brought it all in-house, is that you get plans from an architect. And then the interior designer wants to do something totally different. And then you’re like, “Hey, that’s just not going to work.” And you’re having this conflict constantly, like trying to make this work on site, where the architecture wants something, interior design wants something.

Joe Christensen:

So, anyway, that pre-construction solves all that. And then the other thing is that it makes the build process enjoyable. The homeowner knows, “Hey, I’ve got all my selections. They’re on Buildertrend. We’ve done our Buildertrend selection, like section is heavy, super populated. And so, we have it all documented. And usually, they might be tweaking, but just little things. And that way, I mean, anytime someone says I had a horrible experience building, it’s because the communication was bad, and their expectations were aligned. And I feel like the preconstruction solves all that

Tesla Tom Houghton:

That’s really good. That was a good answer.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. I mean, I think that makes sense to somebody from outside the business, because I think that’s the real shock for people who don’t know construction. And that’s where the mismatch in communication happens is that, I do feel a lot of custom home builders and remodelers feel like they’re communicating really well. And they feel like they’re setting expectations really well. The problem is that those expectations are just in their head based on their historical, “Hey, I know it’ll get done. Don’t worry, it’ll be fine, and yeah.” You might be able to pay a little bit more here or there, but that’s just how it works.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Right.

Paul Wurth:

They don’t even say that verbally to the client. That’s just what they think. And so, when you come in raw from not knowing construction, you’re already on high alert. It’s probably the biggest investment you’ve made to date in your history as a family, probably, or yourself. So to be super, super clear, and take that time in the presale process is, I think, going to pay it back times 10, right?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Do a lot of your clients end up being really good resource for you for new leads?

Joe Christensen:

Oh, 100%. I mean, I expect that when I tell clients that I’m building this home. And I’ve worked for production builders, and nothing wrong with that. There’s a market for it. There’s a reason for it. And I totally respect that because I’ve been in that field. They solve a part of the segment of the population that needs a price point home. Now I build a different type of home, and I would be lying if I… As business orientated, and as much as I work on strategy and systems, I’m super emotional about the process too. And I like that part. I like that it is. And I tell my clients that like, this is… You’re going to get comfy with me. You got to like me and I got to like you a little bit, because it’s super personal.

Joe Christensen:

You might not think it’s going to be emotional, but you guys are going to start thinking like, “I’m going to live here forever, and there’s so much money.” And so, to answer your question, like I 100% tell people, “I am not a one and done. I want your friends’ homes. I want your families’ homes. I want everybody.” When you’re done, I want to say, “You’ve got to go Cardinal Crest. It’s the only way. It’s the greatest experience.” And so with that… That’s kind of been our mantra. There’s a lot of expectations that I think is built into that. And so, we do a lot to try to make it smooth.

Joe Christensen:

I tell people there’s always going to be a problem. There will always be something that’ll arise that’s going to be, seems like it’s the end of the world. And it’s the way we all handle it together, is what’s going to make it right. We’re never going to throw our arms up and say, “That’s just the way it is.” It’s a constant communication negotiation about how to handle things when they come up.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah. So as far as communicating with your customer, can you give us a little insight into how you guys approach that? Do you set a standard with your project managers that you need to be creating a daily log and tagging the owner in it on a certain frequency? Or can you give us some insight into that?

Joe Christensen:

Yeah, so that’s perfect. We do all the project management. So we actually have a rough-in project manager who handles the job from foundation all the way up to pass rough-in inspections. He’s going to get that house rough-in inspected. And then there was a point where there’s a handoff crossover, and then the finish project manager takes over from there. And we can get in a little bit why we did it. But to answer your question, every time they’re on site, they should be creating Daily Logs. And even if it says… And it’s taken a little bit, but we try to tell them, “You don’t need to be formal about it.” You’re going to be… It’s as if you’re texting them. Just text them, “Hey, I was onsite. This is what’s going on. I talked this guy.” They love to hear that. This is brand new to them.

Joe Christensen:

Don’t, don’t make it… And Paul, you talked about that. It’s a second language to them. To us, it’s so easy to be like, yeah. I talked to the structural engineer and when I looked at those trusses and the moment frame of this beam is right here. It’s not going to work and blah, blah, blah. He’d get into this craziness. So yes, we try to do Daily Logs, do a lot of pictures. And then, we actually have a communication, like a sign off sheet with our clients, where we say, “Hey, we can text. We can phone call, but if you want to change, it’s got to be a change order. No matter what, even if it’s going to cost, and it’s not going to cost money or not, it’s got to go through Buildertrend. Don’t matter. It’s not going to happen unless it’s sold. So you can text us and phone call, but you got to put a request to a change order if it’s going to happen.”

Joe Christensen:

And that helps a ton because as they get comfortable with you, they flood you with information. And then the other thing we do is we use the software so much. Our selections are actually broken out in our milestone meetings. We have predetermined walkthroughs, and each one of those predetermined walkthroughs have deadlines associated with the selections. And we have the agenda that we give people. So we say, “Okay, foundation’s coming up, the foundations poured. And we’re going to have a foundation milestone.” And they have this agenda sheet that says, “This is what we’re going to go over, and this is what we’re going to talk about.”

Joe Christensen:

We might even have a little fun activity, and it’s going to say, “Hey, we’re going to do this too. And when to take pictures by the foundation, we’re going to talk about this. And these are the upcoming selections. And then, here’s the closing date. And we haven’t had any issues with it, or this is what we projected.” And so I think communication wise, it’s got to be constant. And the next thing it’s got to be organized. I think it gives [crosstalk].

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Absolutely. I love that you added in the fun aspect of that too. I think that’s important. Like you said, “Organized, it’s got to be constant, but it needs to be like, you can enjoy your job.”

Joe Christensen:

Totally.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Like that should be a part of everybody’s business, right? You make this enjoyable, not just for you, but for them, like thinking of that, “Hey, let’s take a picture by the foundation, because this is really where it’s beginning.” I love that.

Paul Wurth:

Well, and that’s a really cool idea for dual purpose marketing too.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Absolutely.

Paul Wurth:

Like, “Hey, we’re going to take a picture of the foundation. The Cardinal Crest sign is going to be right there. I encourage you to put it on your social media.”

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Tag us, yeah. Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

And they’re going to use all their networks, going to see their entire life cycle of the job. And you guys put it on your social media. And people are going to say like, “Man, I want to be in those people’s shoes. I want to take those pictures.” That makes a ton of sense. That’s cool.

Joe Christensen:

I’ve tried to, and I haven’t always like been on top of people, but we actually created this thing that we called Cardinal credits. And we said, “Hey, as we’re doing these milestones, take the pictures. And if you share them at different things. If you add up to so many posts and shared, we’ll give you some kind of credit for in the home.” To try to help people. And it’s not as viral as you want, but it helps push people. The funny thing is when people do it, they always say, “I’m so glad I documented this.” Because a lot of times people are maybe reluctant or depends on the clientele. Maybe they don’t even to use social media.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. That’s a really cool idea.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah. I love that. I have so much more I want to ask you about.

Paul Wurth:

You have a lot of questions, and we’re running out of time.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah.

Paul Wurth:

Which always means that Joe’s a great candidate for repeat-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Yeah. I completely agree.

Paul Wurth:

… repeat guest, so.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Real quick. Let’s wrap up with this, so it’s-

Joe Christensen:

So I didn’t blow it. That’s good.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

No, you did great.

Paul Wurth:

Not at all.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

You did fantastic. I think our listeners would agree with that.

Joe Christensen:

I was a little nervous. This is my first podcast. And-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Oh, you crushed it.

Joe Christensen:

I had one set up a while ago, and I guess something happened. And so anyway, I didn’t go through with it, but [crosstalk 00:24:24] time.

Paul Wurth:

No, Joe, Tom and I both have like 10 more questions, so, let’s just do one.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Let’s do one. We’re going to do one and we’re in it because we want to… We’ll have you back on. We’re going to talk to Producer Kayleigh about scheduling that. But real quick to kind of like tease, maybe we’ll talk about them in future. Custom homes in 2020. Real quick, what’s something you’re seeing trend wise that you like?

Joe Christensen:

That’s a good question. I keep seeing a push for these one spaces of eat-in dinings and big kitchens. I think it’s going to continue. At one point, the eat-in kitchen was kind of getting small, because it was plans were being used as like, “Hey, this is a breakfast.” And we’re just going to use this as our eat-in kitchen. And it’s labeled breakfast on the plan, and we’re going to use the formal dining as an office. And that kind of was happening for a while. And as eat-in kitchens have now become a standard, I’ve seen where the dining room is just being mixed completely.

Joe Christensen:

Now that eat-in kitchen or eat-in dining is no longer breakfast, but people want it more proposed as an actual dining room, which that means it’s just bigger. And that’s the big thing that I’ve seen is our plans tend to now focusing. That even though it’s still an eat-in breakfast, where right off the Island, right by the kitchen. It’s being magnified, and a little more set apart that this is the dining area of the house, where before I felt like not on purpose. But like people were so iffy about giving up this dining room, that they were forcing plans. And I would always tell them, “Just get rid of it. Let’s get rid of it. Let’s repurpose that room.”

Joe Christensen:

And people were holding onto it for tradition. And I think now they’re finally saying, “Okay, I’m done with the dining room. Let’s make the dining room off the kitchen, and let’s make it big and make it cool. And it’s going to be its own thing.” And I think that kitchen dining area is really evolving, because it’s very practical. Super functional, and it obviously saves up some good money to be able to put that square footage somewhere else. I think that really keeps evolving. That would be one of… That’s a hard question as one of many. I could probably name three.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

No, that’s good. We’ll bring you back on and we’ll talk about more trends we’re seeing in the custom home industry.

Paul Wurth:

Yeah. That’s a great one though. I see that all the time with new homes being built. So, it’s a-

Tesla Tom Houghton:

It’s the heart of the home, really. So it makes sense.

Paul Wurth:

The hearth or the heart?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

The heart.

Paul Wurth:

What’s the difference?

Tesla Tom Houghton:

One’s by the fire.

Paul Wurth:

Okay, the heart.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Maybe you have a hearth in your heart, in the kitchen.

Paul Wurth:

Okay.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

On that note, what a great way to wrap up that podcast.

Paul Wurth:

Good.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Joe, thank you so much for coming on and sharing your expertise. We loved hearing your story. And again, we will definitely bring you back on so we can talk more about trends. But then also just to hear what sets you apart. I think we’ve got a million questions that we could talk about the customer experience that you guys are providing, which is great. So we applaud you for that. Continue to keep the good work.

Joe Christensen:

Thank you. Thanks for having me on. I really enjoyed it guys.

Paul Wurth:

Thanks Joe. I Appreciate. You go Chiefs.

Joe Christensen:

Yeah, go Chiefs. We’ll see you.

Tesla Tom Houghton:

Love what you heard? Don’t forget to rate and subscribe to our podcast, so you can hear from more guests that will benefit your business. Also, please check out our show notes page for more information on what we discussed on this episode. You can find it at buildertrend.com/podcast. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you next time on “The Building Code.” We appreciate you.


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