Often times, a custom home design begins with a dream. Next, comes finding the perfect property, a piece of land with gorgeous views. Then the fun part begins, designing a house that is perfectly personalized. It should be as simple as it sounds but many folks find this crossroads a rather difficult process.
When we met Mary Ann Baxter, she was in this exact situation. She and her husband Kirk were looking toward the future, planning for retirement and slowing down. Mary Ann’s career had afforded her a great deal of construction knowledge and she had a precise of her forever home.
The Baxters were set on building a beautiful custom home, specialized for the two of them in beautiful Boerne, Texas. One essential aspect of their home design was a separate guest unit. Kirk & Mary Ann were supporting their daughter’s decision to leave the medical field and go back to school to pursue a teaching degree. They wanted to make sure that she, and their grandson, had a place to call their own, on site and independent of the main house,
Like most people looking to build a custom house, Kirk & Mary Ann did their due diligence, shopped around, and received several construction bids. They sifted through numerous home designs, but none of them seemed to match their concept and, save for Tilson, many of the builders they called were reluctant to talk numbers.
Industry wide, many contractors and home builders are less than eager to give an exact quote, which Mary Ann found frustrating. More so, most “custom” home builders limit clients to one of a few plans, a point of contention when there are specific design ideas in mind.
Tilson Homes is a family-owned business, dedicated to building homes that are truly custom. We have been around for 85 years and one thing we aren’t afraid to do is listen to our customers. When we sat down with Mary Ann and her husband, we carefully considered their needs, wants, and time restraints.
For us, it just feels good to do honest business. Mary Ann felt something click the day of our first meeting, and we felt it too. When we heard Mary Ann describe her dream house, we heard someone’s mom, someone’s Nana, someone’s sister. Her dream became our plan. Our team took notes and came back to the Baxters with a transparent bid.
After months of searching for the right builder, Mary Ann felt what we are most proud of, and what sets us apart in the custom home industry, honest communication and a sense of trust.
That first discussion with Mary Ann and Kirk felt a lot like sitting down for sweet tea with old friends. Through warm conversation, we were able to paint a picture of their dream home, and determine their must-haves. We dedicated ourselves to the Baxters, promising to build the custom home they wanted, and needed, sans compromise.
Later in the conversation, Mary Ann shared a story of purchasing their previous home. The Baxters last home required a construction loan. Mary Ann echoed an experience that we here at Tilson hear from a lot of our clients. Construction lenders are difficult to work with and construction loans are terribly restrictive.
We’re always happy to share with our clients what we call Tilson Easy Buy Financing. During construction, we cover the cost, not our clients. There is no need for a construction loan, no monthly payments due, and no accrued interest while we build. Mary Ann & Kirk were relieved to find out that all we ask for is a $1,500 deposit and self-fund our construction projects.
“When we signed the contract with Tilson, we knew exactly what the house was going to cost. We didn’t have to worry about any outside costs,” recalls Mary Ann. “The house got done quicker than a custom builder… we didn’t have to worry about anything.”
One of the most enjoyable parts of working on the Baxter home was their passion and hands on involvement. It wasn’t unusual for the two of them to stop by and watch us work, taking in the daily progression and enjoying the process. Tilson builders love an audience and curious questions.
One afternoon, Mary Ann brought their neighbor, a fellow builder, over to see the progress. We are proud to say that we passed the test and gained his approval. Though we loved all the human interaction, the best part about the Baxter’s site visits were the greetings we received from Charlie, their Boxer puppy.
Under a pretty quick turnover deadline, Tilson designed and constructed the Baxter custom home in a matter of months. Mary Ann, a talented DIYer, requested we leave a few finishing touches to her.
“It probably got done quicker than a custom builder would have and, I think had we tried to do the entire build ourselves, we would have had all kind of scheduling problems. Things progressed the way they were supposed to.” said Mary Ann. “I like the fact we could to do some of the work ourselves. We decided to go with our own tile. That worked out really well. I think that is the only thing we decided to do on our own.”
When our team finished the Baxter’s home and handed Mary Ann the keys, we made sure to keep in touch. A few months later, the Baxters needed some leveling work done and called us asking for advice. We recommended a colleague who does business like we do, honest and well-done, and he continued a long-term relationship with the Baxter family, installing their septic system and completing other jobs on their property. Likewise, Mary Ann referred her hair stylist to Tilson homes, another client we are happy to call a friend.