Q. How did Legacy Custom Builders get started? How many custom homes do you build each year?

James: My brother, Rob, and I started Legacy Custom Builders 24 years ago. We have a combined total of more than 43 years’ experience in all phases of the building industry. We’re local, family-owned and operated, and based in Warren County. 

We’re not a big builder. We do four or five homes a year. We try not to get more than that going because we’re a custom builder, and there’s more detail involved. And we’re very hands-on, so that requires more time, too.

Most of our projects are in and around Warren and Hamilton Counties, in Hyde Park, Lebanon, Mason, Morrow, and Loveland.

Rob: We try to keep our builds in close proximity, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Warren County is our main area, but we currently have builds going in five different counties, so sometimes we can get spread out. When a homeowner calls and says, “We have a parcel of land and we want you to build a house,” that’s where we go.

Q. Do your customers come to you with plans in hand, or do you typically start from scratch?

Rob: About 90% of our clients come to us without any plans or an idea of what the next steps are. A few come with sets of drawings they’ve had designed by an architect. We like to be involved from Day 1 all the way through move-in day because it gives us the opportunity to build a relationship with our clients as we work through the design process by giving them feedback on pricing and efficient building methods.

Q. Do your houses have a typical price range?

Rob: Back when we started building homes, many of them were in the $400,000 to $600,000 price range; however, most of the custom builds we have going now are averaging in the $700,000 to $1.5 million price range.

Q. Tell us about your selection process.

Betsy: Each client has a different idea of what they’re looking for. We work with a couple of different interior designers depending on what style a customer wants. Then they go with them to our distributors’ showrooms and help them make their selections. It’s all relationship based.

We decided a long time ago that having our own showroom wasn’t necessary, and we could pass those savings on to the client. We can’t provide all the available selections in one room, so it gives them a chance to see more options and the most up to date items out there.

Q. What would you say is the biggest misconception people have about building a custom home?

James: That they are going to be overwhelmed by the entire process. We’ve truly streamlined our process for customers, using selection sheets and having a designer walk through the selection process. 

Q. What trends are you seeing?

James: Everybody’s talking about home offices because, since COVID, there are more work-from-home businesspeople looking for that kind of designated space in a new home. We’re seeing a lot of interest in aging-in-place designs. And we’re not seeing a need for dining rooms like we used to.

Q. Has your build time changed drastically?

Rob: Seven to nine months is usually the timeframe for a normal build. At this point, it’s closer to 10 to 15 months, based on the size of a project. Because of the materials and logistics challenges, everyone is trying to keep things running and clicking. When COVID hit, a lot of businesses had to reinvent themselves. It has definitely affected our build time.

Q. How do you keep your customers updated and involved in the custom home building process?

James: We like our first meeting to be face-to-face to get the customer-builder relationship started, and then we regularly communicate throughout the process by cell phone, text threads — constant conversations and daily updates about what’s going on, timelines, and what comes next. We make sure customers’ selections are made and ordered. It’s all about regularly updating clients and being honest and upfront.

Q. What is your favorite part of the process?

James: There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes with being a custom home builder; however, we feel like the best part of each build is the relationships built with each client.  It’s an eight-to-nine-month to a year-long process.  I like getting to know our clients, seeing their dreams come true, giving them an exceptional product, and walking away with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing they love their new home. That’s why we do what we do.

Rob: Building relationships. If you enjoy who you’re working with, that makes it easier to deal with the challenges. That’s what makes it fun.