Bad Real Estate News Means Conditions Ripe for Economical Custom Home Building

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Denver custom home builder Spencer Chase says that weak economic conditions give significant cost breaks to people looking to build their dream home.

The nation’s real estate market is in full depression: home prices in many regions have plummeted, home building permits have dropped nearly 80% from the peak in 2006, mortgage lending policies have tightened, and potential buyers are hamstrung by the inability to sell their existing home at an acceptable price. In spite of all that, veteran custom homebuilder Spencer Chase, founder of Denver’s Chase Custom Homes, says this is the perfect environment to build a dream home.

“Low acquisition costs coupled with sub-contractors and building material suppliers hungry for business mean that building a new custom home is less expensive now than it has been in several years,” says Chase. “Moreover, when building was hot projects routinely got delayed and extended because of over-committed labor and materials shortages; for any job today ‘on-time and on-budget’ is a given.”

Chase, who founded his custom homebuilding company in 2009 after spending years as a senior project manager for one of the nation’s largest custom and semi-custom homebuilders, Toll Bros., is an expert at sourcing subcontractors, home building labor and building materials. During the go-go years of home building through most of the 1990s and on into 2007, he says, costs for every aspect of building a home were on a constant rise as demand for services and materials often outstripped the supply. Everyone from electrical and plumbing contractors, to lumber yards and contractor supply houses kept their prices high “often to avoid taking on yet another job in a hyper-busy building environment,” he notes.

“Not today,” he adds. “I get call every day from contractors and suppliers looking for work just to keep the cash flow going. In this tight economy there are highly qualified crafts people and contractors offering their services far below market prices from just a few years ago, and the lumber producers and contractor supply shops are discounting to move inventory. There couldn’t be a better time to build a custom home.”

Chase Custom Homes takes an unorthodox approach to home building, a process designed to maximize the information available to the client and to create a built-in formula to maintain building budgets and time-lines. Founder Chase notes that typical custom home builders use a “cost-plus” fee schedule, which basically is a percentage of the project cost – including cost overruns. Chase Custom Homes, on the other hand, employs a pre-specified-fee-for-service which is based on a calculation of the time involved, and this doesn’t change no matter what the circumstances involved.

This all begins with the building of a complete Bid Book, a sort of bible for each project, which details the specific costs of each aspect of the entire project, including time lines. This Chase Custom Homes Bid Book is given to the client and each of the contractors and subcontractors involved, and acts as the discipline to keep the project on-time and on-budget. Using this process gives Chase the ability to bid out each aspect of the project to highly-qualified subcontractors, which reduces costs without sacrificing quality.

“Our Bid Book for each project is actually an incentive for me and every subcontractor to maintain costs and timelines, so the client is the ultimate beneficiary,” says Chase.

Chase, who spent his early career doing detailed investment banking procedures, is also able to assist clients to find suitable property for building, in securing financing for both construction and long-term mortgages, and in retaining the services of architects whose experience is suitable to the proposed project. Plus he has extensive experience in locating such custom home amenities as vintage building materials, and custom-designed fixtures and features.

Chase Custom Homes serves the Denver metro area and the state of Colorado, managing every detail of a custom homebuilding project. For more information on the firm’s exclusive project Bid Book and all aspects of building a custom home, visit


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Danielle Yuthas

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