“TRUST, EASE OF WORKING, DEPENDABILITY”
“Most people who are in the privileged position to build a custom home realize that they are at the mercy of their chosen home builder. We understand the details of our own businesses, we think we are pretty savvy, but if we are honest with ourselves we admit to a high degree of ignorance about the ins and outs of building a home – and, in our case, building in a state that is 1,800 miles from what had been home. If our builder wanted to take advantage of us, to cut corners,to pad the bill, to use inferior materials, to hire inexperienced craftsmen, etc. there would be no way we could find out. So for us, the primary criterion (after competence) for choosing a builder was: “Do we trust this outfit?”
Sterling Custom Homes is a firm you can trust implicitly. We trusted them from the get-go and they more than earned that trust over the entire 18 months of design, build, and settle in. The most remarkable part of that trust is that it permeates the organization. Trustworthiness is in the Sterling culture.
Gary Grambley, the marketing VP, “sold” us on Sterling. Not slick. Not full of promises. He’s simply knowledgeable, helpful, delightful and exudes trustworthiness. Duke McDowell, the owner, gave his personal guarantee – a handshake – that he’d build us a great home and stand by his work. Cody and Bruce, our construction managers, were always on the job and kept us in the loop. Christine kept track of progress, decision deadlines, design choices, etc. and is as sweet as she is competent. Jeff kept track of every dollar spent. The architect and designer Sterling recommended – each with 10+ years of experience working on Sterling jobs – were exceptional.
From looking at prior Sterling projects and Showcase Homes, we knew that Duke and his team could build us a first-rate house. but would this be a nightmare experience? Or would it be a project we could actually enjoy and remember happily? Answer: It’s been a fabulous experience from day 1. We had the luxury of living a mile away during construction, so we were able to be immersed in the details. Sterling staff made the process fun and engaging. Questions – us of them and them of us – get answered almost immediately.
It’s now been six months since we moved in. Every time we have a question or a small problem, Cody or Bruce is on our doorstep literally the next day to remedy the issue. We are entitled to a Year 1 checklist of final things to be addressed. But, honestly, that list is zero right now. Our neighbor lives in a Sterling home, and has called on Duke to remedy an issue 5 years after completion. The answer is always “Sure – OK”.
Sterling Custom Homes? We trust them, they were a joy to work with, and they are dependable beyond what the situation calls for. Did I mention competent? Oh yes…”
Ten months have passed since we moved into our new home and I wanted to wait no longer to tell you and your team how pleased we are that we chose
Sterling Custom Homes to build for us. I waited this long to write this letter so that we could really get a solid feel for the home, with plenty of time to truly experience it. Suffice it to say that these months have reaffirmed to us the level of quality and attention to detail that Sterling is known for. We really love our Chateau du Lac.
Our project was a big one, with difficult lakefront and hillside slope complexities, along with a heavy dose of customer (Donna and Gregg) specific requirements and demanding expectations. Nevertheless, we were extremely impressed with Adam and Vick, especially, as they dealt with the inevitable challenges and made all the right decisions as they arose. Those two guys deserve a medal, having diligently and intelligently managed the construction of an absolutely stunning, quality built palace (in our eyes anyway). You should be proud that your folks worked with us with incredible patience and the highest degree of respect for the customer, even under pressure.
Finally, your team deserves notable accolades as relates to the level of service and follow-up after the home was completed and we moved into it. Naturally there are always a few things to do after the close, and I have to say that we were incredibly impressed with the prompt and efficient support we received from Sterling, well beyond any reasonable follow-up period. Vick and his folks diligently addressed each issue thoroughly, professionally and promptly. Even now I feel like I could call Sterling if we had an issue, and it would be resolved without debate or delay. As we have all heard the horror stories of how some builders disappear after the close, this was the furthest thing from the truth with Sterling.
Duke, we hope you are as proud of your creation as we are. There are always difficult and stressful times in large complex projects, but we are extremely pleased and proud that we chose Sterling, and we highly recommend your company wherever and whenever we get the opportunity. We consider the Sterling team our friends, and please thank each one of them for us.
“We can’t begin to tell you how thrilled we are with every aspect of our new home. When we began the process of buying the lot, hiring an architect, and finding a builder, we were truly novices as to how this must all work together to ensure that the home we envisioned was in fact the home that we eventually moved into.”
“Our friends who have gone through this exercise, as well as friends who were going through it at the time, told us horror stories about the disagreements with their builders, excessive charges for minor changes, shoddy workmanship by subcontractors, long delays in completion, and builders who, after the agreement was signed, forced them to deal with superintendents who could not make even small decisions without approval from the boss, not to mention after-the-sale customer service. Duke, these friends think we are joking when we tell them about our dealings with you and your staff. We have done business with many different companies, and on very few occasions have we had the pleasure of dealing with a company with as much integrity as yours.”
“Anyone who needs quality workmanship and wants to deal with a company that stands by its work from beginning to end should contract with Sterling Custom Homes. Keep up the good work.”
When we found Flintrock Falls, we knew we wanted to retire here. But, we didn’t know anything about Austin builders. When we started asking people we met about Sterling, there were always positive comments (unfortunately, we can’t say that about other builders names we mentioned). So we chose Sterling to build our home, and after being in the house for six months, just had to take a moment to “formally” thank you and let you know how absolutely thrilled we are!”
“We look back to all the meetings we had to make sure every detail of our plan was discussed and understood to the days before the foundation was poured when you walked the lot to see the best way to position the house to take maximum advantage of the view to the day we met to see the framing of the living room ceiling and you recommended changing the angles to make it a more inviting room. All these personal touches helped make the beautiful home we have today.”
“And, of course, we remember how you handled things when something wasn’t right. There was never a question it was going to be right and it was.”
“You’ve surrounded yourself with experienced, caring individuals that help your customers on a daily basis. There isn’t anyone on your staff that wouldn’t bend over backwards to help us and their attitudes made us feel like we were dealing with family, not vendors.”
“So our home is complete, and our focus has changed from building a house here to building a life here.”
“We will always be grateful that you and your team were part of both.”
Linda and I would like to let you know how much we are enjoying our new home that Sterling Custom Homes built for us in Flintrock Falls. Our friends and family have been very impressed with the quality of the woodwork and all the other finishing touches that have made our home so comfortable and livable. Our building experience was basically pain free thanks to the wonderful staff you have working for you.
Working with Colt Cook as our superintendent is what made things so easy for us. He always kept us informed from Day One, throughout the building process, and continues to monitor the last few punch list items through completion of each one. He is always personable, professional, and made himself available at any time when we came in to town to discuss things. Colt always had the jobsite in an orderly fashion, which is a good indication to us that he has a good rapport and the respect of the subcontractors.
We loved the idea of the “Sterling Cookbook”. That was a wonderful resource book for us to use, especially living out of town. The maps helped navigate us to the different vendors and now it is packed full of all the info of things we picked out for each category. The weekly timelines that you faxed to us were also very helpful, and we always knew where we stood as the building progressed and what we needed to pick out next.
Christine was also a pleasure to work with. She kept us inline and always informed with where and when we needed to be there. Again, with living out of town throughout the building process, we could not have done it without her doing all that she did for us. She could answer any question we asked of her, and if not, she would do whatever it took to find out the answer. She was kind enough to take pictures on occasion to keep us updated. She is quite an asset to your office.
Mindy was always there to keep us informed when draws were needed. She was ever so patient and kind with Jim, who was always so busy and needed that extra reminder!
Duke and Vick, thanks for always taking time out of your day to meet with us when we needed to discuss things throughout the construction phase, whether it be at the job site or in the office. We truly appreciated that.
Again, we thank all of you for all that you did to make our building experience a pleasant one and you can count on us for future references as Flintrock Falls continues to develop.
“Kathy and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your hospitality at the Showcase of Homes last week and throughout our entire homebuilding process to date. More importantly, the primary purpose of this letter is to thank you and all of your employees in helping us validate our decision to build our dream home. Although the other builders who participated in the Showcase were outstanding and had very nice homes, the quality of your home and the professionalism of your employees reminded us why we chose you as our builder.
Kathy and I were extremely excited about our decision of selecting you to build our home, and we had no idea that you could actually turn one of life’s most painstaking processes for a married couple into an enjoyable experience. Your “Can Do” attitude and intensive focus on your customers are obvious reasons why people continue to refer business to you long after their homebuilding process is completed. Kathy and I will eagerly serve as your “Pied Pipers” both now and in the future, as we could not imagine what our homebuilding experience would have been had we chosen any other builder.
We look forward to the completion of our beautiful new home. We wish you and all of your employees the best of luck toward the accomplishment of all your goals in 2006 and beyond.”
It’s hard to believe that it has been over a year since we moved into our new, beautiful home. I apologize that it has taken this long, but wanted to write to let you know how much Ginny and I appreciated Sterling’s effort and how wonderful both the experience and outcome were.
While we primarily worked with Vick, Christine, Mindy and Hank, all of your folks were and continue to be a joy to work with. Ginny and I never felt outside of the process. It was remarkable and we appreciate how much all of you shared our goals as we built this house together.
Additionally, it was a wonderful surprise and delight to find out about our new home winning an Austin Max Award. We were then totally blown away with the four Texas Star Awards! We obviously share your pride in that accomplishment. There is no way it could have happened without the people, process and partnership that Sterling Custom Homes brought to our home project.
I want you to know that we will, and have, unconditionally recommended Sterling to our friends and acquaintances. While we anticipate enjoying this home for many years, should we again build, I know we will need to look no further than Sterling.
Chuck & Ginny Ashley
“When I retired four years ago, my wife, Diane, and I made the decision to relocate from Dallas to Lakeway to be closer to our grandchildren. We began our search for custom home builders in the area to build our dream home. Of all the custom builders we researched we quickly identified Sterling Custom Homes as a builder we needed to consider. After our introductory meeting with Gary Grambley and touring one of Sterling’s award winning homes in Flintrock Falls, we were both convinced that Sterling was the builder for us. It was evident that their organization was focused on the client and that they placed a high value on quality construction and attention to detail. After a 40+ career in design and construction of high end retail stores, it was clearly evident to both of us that Sterling would deliver the home we desired.
Throughout the entire planning, designing and construction process, the Sterling team made us feel like we were their only client. They were very attentive and responsive to our suggestions and concerns. Developing relationships is a priority for the Sterling team and throughout the entire process they kept us informed and were extremely helpful in assisting and guiding us through the decision making and selection process. These relationships are most evident in the subcontractors they have selected to assist in the building process. They are all very professional, take a great deal of pride in their work and display the highest level of craftsmanship.
Our desire to build a Tuscan inspired home became a reality in working closely with the Sterling team. Our interactions with Duke McDowell, Gary Grambley, Cody Wagner and Christine Mann were all very positive and they continue to keep in touch with us and are responsive to any questions we have even though we have been in our home almost two years. We continue to receive numerous comments from our friends and family who are impressed with the layout of our home and the quality of construction. We are extremely happy with our home and agree there is not one thing we would have done differently!!! Building a new home can be a very challenging and stressful process, but we both agree the best decision we made was to select Sterling Custom Homes as our custom home builder!!!
“Duke, we love our Sterling custom-built home. You made it both easy and fun to plan and build. After living in it for over nine months, your continuing service has reinforced the wisdom of our decision to select you as our builder.”
“Our new home demonstrates the benefit of your engineering background and custom homebuilding experience. The value of your high professional standards is reflected in the work and the attitude of your staff, subcontractors, and business associates. Thank you for your suggestions, concern, understanding, care, clear and frequent communication, patience with our many questions, attention to details and follow-up.”
“We have been meaning to drop you a note and tell you how thrilled we are with our new home. We can’t believe that the time is passing so very fast here.”
“Now that the dust has settled (literally) and we take a look around us, we realize just how lovely and well built our ‘Dream Home’ happens to be. And we know that this was no accident, it happens to be the result of a fine Texas gentleman who promised us ‘one fine home’. The magic came in when the house was actually done on time.”
“I personally was pleasantly surprised to see our house plan on your marketing disc. For empty nesters, this size is just perfect, and by the way, we did have an extra room on the lower level to finish off for a snack area for guests. A big hit if I do say so myself.”
“We hope that you and your family are finding time together with all of the ‘boom town’ crazies that are going on right now. Thanks for sending us the Christmas card to see your little angels, but mostly, thanks for being our contractor and getting us our little piece of Texas, with pride.”
“I wanted you to know what a pleasurable experience building with Sterling Custom Homes has been from start to finish. Building a home is a wonderful, but sometimes stressful time. You have made the whole process a gratifying and extraordinary time in my life.”
“During the building of the home, Brian Edelmon did a superb job of overseeing the actual building. It was obvious that he has earned the respect of all subcontractors that he was in contact with during the entire job. He was tremendously helpful during the move going way above the call of duty. Brian even put back together my formal dining table that had been badly damaged during shipment. He was professional and prompt in the follow-up list that always remains when you move in a new home.”
“Vick Pope as purchasing agent certainly tried to keep me up to date. He was more than just purchasing agent, comptroller, etc. It is obvious that he is interested in the people he is working with, not just an address.”
“I could continue with everyone else in your office because you certainly have a tremendous group surrounding you.”
“Duke, the long and the short of this is that after nearly one year of living in my home, plus a couple of years of building and drawing plans, I would recommend Sterling Custom Homes to everyone I know. I appreciate your friendship and the professionalism I have experienced.”
“We would like to thank you once again for building our new home. Creating our ‘dream house’ has been a very pleasant experience in every aspect.”
“From the time we walked into your office last fall, we have felt we made a wise choice in a builder. The name Sterling Custom Homes is synonymous with quality. As owners of one of your homes, we are happy to add our accolades to your reputation of building high-quality homes.”
“Throughout our initial visits, your experience as a custom homebuilder became apparent in the questions you asked in helping us define the type of house we wanted to build. Your patience and encouragement in those early stages kept us on track during a time when it would have been very easy for us to have shied away from the whole building process.”
“Thank you for letting us be as involved as we were. We found the process of creating and building a house challenging and exciting. At every turn, we were learning and observing something new. As the weeks ticked by, we came to admire your attention to detail, your desire for perfection, and your low-key tenacity, which produced results from the subcontractors. Open and frequent communication between us kept misunderstandings and confusion to a minimum.”
“Most people are probably excited — and relieved — to finally have the building process completed, so that they can move into their new house. We have mixed emotions. The lovely home we have worked so hard to create is perfect, but we are sad that the whole ‘creating’ process has come to an end. Now we’ll have to hang up our hard-hats and our carpenter’s aprons.”
“The house is perfect Duke! We cannot thank you enough for creating it. We hope we never have to leave it…that would break our hearts.”
THANK YOU! Nancy and I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your terrific team for building our home in Flintrock Falls.
When we decided to move to the Austin area we looked long and hard at locations and then found just the right property on which to build our home. That decision was trumped by the challenge of finding a builder that we felt comfortable in working with on this project. Not being a local, and realizing that during much of the construction we would not be in Texas, our concerns were compounded. Dealing with Sterling Custom Homes turned out to be one of our best decisions. In my business career I have found that setting customer expectations, and most importantly meeting those expectations, is the precursor to success. Sterling hit the mark!
Your team, along with a great set of skilled craftsmen, have more than met our expectations and made the entire process less stressful. Colt Cook worked extremely hard to make certain that our new home is beautifully constructed and the quality is easy to spot. Thanks to all! The follow-up on any issues has been prompt and the results have been terrific!
Please feel free to use us as a reference at any time. It would be hard to imagine a builder that could top Sterling Custom Homes.
“Duke, as first-time homebuilders, the best decision we made was selecting you and Sterling Custom Homes as our builder. We knew we made a wise choice from the beginning, and that has been reinforced many times, both before and after closing. We had heard all of the horror stories about building and were cautioned about the pitfalls, but your systematic approach and quality staff made the process seem easy.”
“Rarely does one have the opportunity to deal with someone of your honesty and integrity. Your attitude, patience, and personality made building this home fun and educational. These qualities enabled us to have total confidence and trust in you and your subcontractors. The result was a unique home that reflects our style of living with the distinction of being associated with the name Sterling Custom Homes.”
“People always ask, ‘Who built your home?’. When we tell them it was Duke McDowell and Sterling Custom Homes, we get two responses… ‘They build quality homes’ …and… ‘Duke is a great guy’. We know that we have a quality home that is backed by a company and people of honesty, integrity and service.”
“Carol and I want to thank you for making the home building experience a pleasant and rewarding one. We were new to the Austin area and wanted to build a new home. Fortunately, the name Sterling Homes was mentioned by a number of people we met with the most enthusiastic recommendations coming from people living in Sterling built homes. Based on these favorable impressions and the straight forward and frank discussions with Duke, it was an easy decision to go with Sterling Homes.
We feel we got an outstanding house for the money and a home that will provide enduring value and pride of ownership. However, getting a quality product is only one aspect of home building. As a customer, feeling comfortable with the design and the various stages of construction are important too. Duke’s well thought out manual (we called it the Bible according to St. Duke) guided us through the choices required for roof, siding, colors, etc. and acquisition of hardware items with a minimum of effort. Duke, Tim and Karen were always accessible to provide answers to our questions and to alleviate any concerns. In general, we also found the sub contractors competent and pleasant to work with when necessary.
Also commendable is the friendly, relaxed atmosphere and spirit of team work apparent in our dealings with everyone at Sterling. Carol and I came to think of Duke and Tim as Batman and Robin, or at least, the Dynamic Duo. We will miss Tim now that he has moved on to the next step in his career. Karen is the glue holding things together. In fact, now that we have moved into our house, we miss those frequent chats with Karen while keeping abreast of building progress and requirements.
Now on to that 30 day list.”
I wanted to write you a note to let you know how much June and I have enjoyed working with you and all of the associates at Sterling Custom Homes. We have entered into quite a few building projects over the past number of years and none have compared to the experience we have had with Sterling. You have handled our entire building process with class, character and honesty. These are attributes not always associated with the residential building business. You have taken the arduous task of building a home and made it understandable, reasonable and actually fun at times! The way in which you schedule, plan and execute home construction is impressive.
We are also very impressed with the quality you demand from your subcontractors. This attitude and dedication to quality is what separates Sterling Homes from all the rest.
Lastly, what impresses us the most is “after construction” follow up. At no time after we moved in were we left to deal with subcontractors on our own for follow up items. I can’t tell you how important this is to customers building their dream home.
Thanks again for helping us along the way and making our whole experience worth remembering.
“We are writing a letter (long overdue) to thank you and your team for doing an outstanding job in designing and building us a quality home in the Hills of Lakeway. We are very pleased with your efforts as you provide us with more than we ever expected.”
“We thought the design and costing process was very accurate and your input here was very valuable as it significantly reduced change orders that one might expect. This allowed us to plan our expenditures and we knew early in the building process what we could expect. Your process in this regard was exceptional.”
“One point that we should make, which sets Sterling apart from every other builder we have observed, is the competence and the “can-do” attitude of all of your employees. This includes everyone, your office staff, those who procure supplies, your site supervisors and your follow-up people. Truly, everyone did an outstanding and were always pleasant and got results. Their advice to us was very useful. I could mention the names, but I don’t want to miss anyone. Everyone was great!”
“Another point of excellence is the follow-up service that you do after closing. This has been exceptional for us and we greatly appreciate what Sterling does in that regard. I have heard so many horror stories in the area of service and Sterling is just the opposite. You are the “model” and I would recommend that anyone consider buying through you, do so just because of this commitment to service on your part.”
“Lastly, I appreciate your integrity and working relationship throughout the building process. Sterling Custom Homes is a “CLASS” operation you should be proud of.”