Modern Home Builder - Fall 2017 - 27
Once the site is chosen, McCarthy spends time with her clients
on the building site and home arrangement, visualizing different
aspects of the home. "I really walk them through and try to visualize how they are going to live in their homes," McCarthy says. "I
always try and build to my client's lifestyle."
As the heat in Texas is well known, there is always a significant
emphasis on energy conservation. McCarthy uses a well-proven
method known as open cell foam installation, which seals the envelope of the home effectively. Though she notes that green technology in homes is an extra cost that needs to be considered. "In
the full custom sector," McCarthy says, "Clients need to weigh the
upfront cost of green building technology against the expected
payout of the energy savings. The extent of green building technology used in each home is different for every client."
What customers do prefer are wide-open spaces, where a lot of
their living can be done merging the indoor and outdoor spaces.
That means large sliding doors. "Customers really like having large
doors where breezes give cross-ventilation," McCarthy says. "It
contributes to that open feel."
John Merritt Homes traditionally builds 10 to 12 homes a year, and
has excelled operating at that level. Though the company could expand to build more, McCarthy is hesitant to grow much bigger. "I
like staying a family company," she explains. "I personally supervise
all construction so if we were to grow and expand, I fear we would
lose that personal touch."
That touch includes strong communication with clients throughout the entire process. Not only does she meet at least once a week
with clients, she uses modern technology for clients to stay updated. "My husband can develop personal websites for our clients
to access all the way through the end of the project," McCarthy
says. "On that site, they can access PDFs of all their construction
documents and detailed plans of the project, as well as photos and
videos of their home as it is constructed."
McCarthy also stresses strong communication with her subcontractors. Due to extensive growth in the San Antonio area, the
competition for quality subcontractors is fierce. "We have a strong
subcontractor base that we have long standing relationships with,"
McCarthy says. "They deliver quality work at a fair price."
While McCarthy is price conscious, she does value quality
work, knowing that quality workmanship leads to fewer problems
down the road. "My subcontractors know my expectations," she
says. "I work closely with them to ensure things are done right."
In addition to its regular slate of custom homes, John Merritt
Homes builds one or two spec homes as well. "Tastes are always
changing, so I try to show new ideas and keep up with current
trends in our models." McCarthy notes. "People tend to like our
model homes, so we often sell them before completion." )
Fall 2017 www.mhb-magazine.com