Monday, September 17, 2012

Excel Homes Builder has a Great Story

Pieter Wolfe, Wolfe Builders, likes to say he was born with a hammer in his hand. He started building houses when he was 18 and spent 20 years growing a business with his wife, Amanda. Framing is the best part of the job for Wolfe, he takes pride in knowing the network of 2-by-6 lumber he puts together by hand will be a durable skeleton when the house is complete.

As a traditional builder, Wolfe dismissed modular construction with the attitude nothing made in a factory could be the same quality as a house built from the ground up. In his opinion, a modular house was a cubic zirconium next to a stick-built gem. 

But in 2009, the Wolfes began to realize they were missing out on a growing portion of the construction market. During a visit to the Coxsackie, NY village clerk in 2009 to file a building permit, Wolfe saw nine of the 11 permits on file were for modular homes. He discovered time, even more than money, was the motivation for his customers. While the cost of modular is comparable to traditional construction — Wolfe said a customized modular ranch-style house runs about $185,000 in Greene County — the time frame is much shorter.

"People want quick builds, and going modular cuts the time for a new house in half, from six months to three months," Wolfe said.

When the Wolfes looked closer at factory made construction, they were impressed by the craftsmanship Pieter Wolfe, who describes himself as a stickler for detail, found lacking in the past. The Wolfe's most recent house is a stick-built home Pieter Wolfe built in 2008, but Amanda Wolfe said after her experience with modular construction, she would live in a pre-fab house.

Amanda Wolfe in their model home

The Wolfes do business with Excel Homes, a company based in Liverpool, Pa. They have three full-time employees and six part-time employees. The team continues to build traditional houses as well as modular homes.

Excel operates a climate-controlled, 200,000-square-foot factory.  The homes are customized down to the doors, the paint color on the drywall and the drawer pulls. The Wolfes ordered a modular home to use as a model home on Route 9W in Coxsackie, where clients meet to make choices on what they will order for their modular home, picking kitchen appliances and floor finishes the same way you would select a top and bottom for a two-piece swimsuit.

The 2,800-square-foot, two-story Colonial the Wolfes use as a model home allows home buyers to see modular construction firsthand and provides an office for the company.

For more information about Excel Homes, contact Dustin Walter

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