Modern Home Builder - Fall 2017 - 86
Dobson Homes works with clients to build
their forever homes. BY TIM O'CONNOR
The late 2000s were a time when well-established home-
To ensure each home meets its high standards, Dobson Homes gives project managers and
subcontractors a checklist of 30 quality measures.
" We're not here to build our homes;
we're here to build theirs. "
TOMMY DOBSON, OWNER
builders struggled to survive, let alone new businesses that were
still finding their footing. But that was the situation Dobson Homes
found itself in, having started only a few months before the subprime mortgage crisis hit.
"You took a very deep breath and you realized you have to be
very lean and make sure you were extremely efficient because your
margin of error was very small," says Tommy Dobson, owner of
Dobson Homes, "and you had to provide what the market needed."
The real challenge at the time was financing projects. People
still wanted to own their own homes, but bank lending had dried
up as financial institutions became more cautious in the wake of
the mortgage industry's implosion.
As a new company, Dobson Homes did not have the same level
of obligations as other builders that were already tied up in properties or developments. It pivoted toward clients that already had
cash and could finance their homes without the need for a bank
loan. Many of those early clients were retirees who wanted to take
advantage of low prices to build their "forever home."
Because it is a custom homebuilder, Dobson Homes was able
to further reduce cost by handling every step of those early home
projects, from design through to the end of construction. "It allowed me to give them great value because [there was] less market," Dobson explains.
www.dobsonhomesva.com / Headquarters: Charlottesville,
Va. / Specialty: Custom homes / Employees: 13
www.mhb-magazine.com Fall 2017
As the market rebounded and lending policies loosened, the mix
of customers became more diversified, but the company still focused on the forever home market.The typical Dobson house costs
between $750,000 and $1.5 million to build, not including land.
It's a considerable cost; however, the quality of construction and
customized features deliver on that value, Dobson maintains.
For about 70 percent of its projects, Dobson Homes works with
the homeowner to design their house from scratch, only occasionally working with outside architects. The company does not have a
set style, and is capable of designing and building anything from a
European contemporary home to a true period colonial estate that
matches the kinds of materials used in the 1800s.The goal, Dobson