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Expert Advice on Building a New Home: An Interview with Amanda Meek of Keystone Construction Builders

By Amanda Meek

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Our Company is a hometown rural construction company. We have over 40 years combined experience in the all phases of construction. We offer everything from building from the ground up to small projects. In an ever changing market of construction, we feel we are very competitive and affordable. We focus on making each project unique to the customer and their needs. We also are very proud to support our other local businesses and encourage them to do the same.

Here are some of the services we offer:

  • Building new construction
  • Remodeling
  • Rebuilding
  • Drywall
  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Flooring
  • Decking
  • customized to your home
  • Custom Grill/ Outdoor Kitchens
  • Pergolas and Arbors
  • Landscaping
  • Brick Stone Stucco
  • Veneer Stone
  • Fountains and Ponds
  • Decorative Concrete, stamped, stained or etched concrete.
  • Concrete Counter tops
  • Re pointing/Repairing masonry
  • We offer property maintenance, residential and commercial, for all aspects of property care.
  • Pressure washing
  • gutter maintenance
  • 24hr emergency services
  • handicap accessibility and modifications
  • elder care accessibility, making it easier for those who want to stay at home.

What are some of the misconceptions that people in Pennsylvania have about building a new home when you first meet with them.

Most people we meet with have some misconceptions about the actual process necessary to complete their project. We work in a very large area and travel quite a bit. We make sure that at every initial meeting we get as much information from the client as we can. We try to explain as much about the process of their project as we can. I would say that one of the misconceptions is the amount of time/material/cost is usually the biggest misconception and that can go either way. Some people think that the process will be a lot more or less involved or expensive than it actually is. We always work with our clients to fit their end goal of what they want this project to be. It is not unusual for us to prepare or adjust estimates according to the preferences of our clients, giving them multiple choices to pick from. A lot of our clients are unaware that they can have a multitude of different choices for a project. Ultimately, we are not happy until our clients are happy and this process helps them be informed of their choices and get what they want.

Can you briefly talk about the major choices that prospective homeowners will need to make?

Major choices for a homeowner/home builder would be, size, first and foremost, you don't want to end up with too little or too much space for your needs or budget. Going down that list the home owner also wants to consider the functionality of the space, what you want each area to serve a purpose for. Consider also how this space will serve in future use. There is always a happy medium in form and function of space. The key to finding that happy medium is to have an informed homeowner. We encourage our customers to research their options and are always glad to help them with that process. We provide whatever we can to help the home owner find their desired finished project, whether it be products, pictures, information packets or samples.

What are the biggest differences between custom- and production-built houses?

The major differences between custom and production houses is obviously, Custom homes are built very closely with the homeowner. The homeowner gets to pick most of the aspects of the house and works closely with a builder until the blueprint and specifics are ready to build. Production built houses, the homeowner is provided with several choices of homes and picks which one they want. The major difference here is that the custom built option obviously will take longer, may cost more, but in the end will be exactly what the homeowner has chosen for themselves. A production home, on the other hand, is pre-designed and can be built rather quickly. This process cuts out all the time that a custom home would take in planning. Although production homes can be built more quickly the cost of then customizing the home is an added expense. It comes down to the personal choice of the homeowner. Do they want to be living in the house more quickly. Do they want to remodel the home later to customize it to their needs. Does their budget allow for them to build a custom home now or customize a production built home later.

What do you think is one of the most challenging parts of the building process for homeowners?

Home building can seem like a daunting, overwhelming task for a homeowner. Any time you take on a project of that magnitude it is so important to have a builder you feel comfortable with. We try to make to homeowner as comfortable as possible with the process. Great communication is an absolute must. We try to involve our clients as much as possible in every aspect of the project. Making sure the homeowner is in control of their own project is very important. You can never prepare enough for a project and making sure that our clients are well informed and ready to tackle the project is key to a successful relationship. We are always available to our clients for questions or concerns they may come up with during the process, this is also a key challenge. We don't want them to feel like after the initial agreement they are just "along for the ride" until it is over. So, the most challenging part I think for the homeowner is being prepared, being informed, and understanding the whole scope of project.

What tips do you have for homeowners to help them better prepare and avoid stress while their home is being built?

Once again, knowledge is the key. If a project is well thought out and planned, and the homeowner is educated to the process, there should be relatively little stress involved. We try to give our clients all of the information we can to put them at ease regarding their home. Being well informed and weighing all the options is critical. Research, research, research!! That is the most important thing for a stress free experience. When the home builder has been informed and given the opportunity to participate in the building process they are much more at ease. Another very important aspect of having a stress free experience is, you have hired a professional, if an issue comes up let them worry about the solution, it is their job, and what you hired them for. A good contractor will not blink and eye at any issue, we weigh the options, present them to the homeowner and come up with a solution. No stress.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

They can contact our company just about any way possible! We have worked very hard to make ourselves available in every avenue. We are on the web at www.keystoneconstructionbuilders.com. We are on Angieslist, Houzz.com, Google, twitter, facebook, pinterest. We have pictures of our projects on many of these sites. We also have project ideas and tips. We welcome, emails, texts, phone calls and also offer 24 hour emergency services for anyone in need. We have tried to make ourselves available to anyone interested. We always appreciate any feedback we can get from clients and prospective clients.

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