One of Michigan’s Finest Custom Home Builders

A Client-Focused Approach

At AVB, our passion lies within the tradition of quality home building. This commitment to build homes at the highest caliber possible remains stronger than ever. With one of our Core Values of “Be Client Focused,” we have created a custom home building process that is tailored to be an enjoyable experience while maximizing the value of your investment. Learn more about our residential construction team.


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Planning & Communication

It is very important that you select an experienced building partner to guide you throughout the home building process. For almost 40 years, AVB has been continuously innovative as materials and building techniques in the building industry evolve. During this information gathering phase we will be actively engaged in regular meetings both in our office and onsite as we begin to understand your vision and your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions:
How long does it take to design and build a home?

Pre-construction – This phase of the building process includes drafting and finalizing home design plans, site planning, establishing building specifications, and pricing. This typically takes between 60 to 150 calendar days to complete. If you have your own architectural plans, we utilize them to generate site plans, building specifications, and pricing. This typically takes between 30 to 90 calendar days to complete. Once these preliminary documents are finalized, it takes approximately 30 to 60 calendar days from signing the contract to the start of excavation. During this period, you are starting to select exterior colors, some interior finishes, and closing on your home site and financing. We are finalizing the construction drawings, applying for building permits, scheduling trade contractors and finalizing documents with your lender (if applicable).

Construction – From the start of excavation to your move-in, your home will take from 180 to 240+ calendar days to complete, depending on the size of your home and the level of features and finishes you select.

c. Construction – From the start of excavation to your move-in, a home with less than 2,500 square feet of finished area typically takes 160 calendar days, a home between 2,600 and 3,000 square feet of finish typically takes 180 calendar days, a home between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet of finished area typically takes 210 calendar days, and homes over 5,000 square feet take 240+ calendar days to complete. Total finished area includes lower levels (basements), if they are being finished with living space.

How long have you been building custom homes?

AVB was established in 1981 and we have been building custom homes for almost 40 years. The founders of AVB, Daryl Rynd and Joe Gesmundo, are still very involved in the day-to-day operations of the business.

What sets you apart from other builders?

AVB has built a diverse portfolio of homes including lake cottages, homes on golf courses, homes in neighborhoods, country and equestrian estates, from very traditional to industrial contemporary to modern farmhouse and everything in between. We bring a tremendous amount of knowledge in all aspects of building, ranging from design to service. As you work with us, you will see the quality of what we build.

Our design and construction process is the most comprehensive and inclusive you will find in this area. We have a very open and honest communication system and our proven process helps us exceed your expectations while constantly improving our work.

Combined, our AVB team has hundreds of years of experience. We are not just made up of some of the most talented individuals in the local building industry but also, each and every one of our team members represents our five Core Values. We can guarantee that everyone you work with at AVB will Do the Right Thing, Be Client Focused, Have a Positive Attitude, Be Proud of What We Do, and Be a Team Player. We truly care and treat your home as if it were our own.

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Site Planning

Selecting the right location for your new home is the first critical step in making your dream home a reality, whether you already own a parcel of land or are considering acreage, lake frontage, or a home site in one of our planned communities. There are a number of factors to take into consideration on a home site including trees and other natural vegetation, views, topography, light exposure, surrounding properties and homes, and the style of your home. We will guide your design to fit into the surroundings while respecting the natural environment.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Where do you build?

Approximately 50% of all the homes we build are on our client’s own home sites and 50% are within our communities. We prefer to build within the Southwest Michigan area. We have built in Kalamazoo, Portage, Vicksburg, Battle Creek, South Haven, Richland, Schoolcraft, Mattawan / Texas Township, St. Joseph, just to name a few locations.

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Architectural Design

Designing a custom home is an evolutionary process that most find very exciting and enjoyable. You will see your dreams and ideas start to come to life as we marry your plans to your home site. Our talented and experienced team of home designers, interior designers, and Computer Aided Design (CAD) team will carefully listen to you and help you through every step of design. We will first present sketches of our interpretation of your home. After your approval, our CAD team will develop detailed construction drawings that include structural elements, electrical layouts, and drawings for custom features, such as cabinetry and built-ins. If you decide to partner with an outside designer, we highly recommend your AVB team be involved in the design process to save time and keep the cost of your home on budget.

Frequently Asked Questions:
What types of homes do you build?

We typically build homes ranging from about 2,000 square feet to over 10,000 square feet, starting in the upper $200,000 range to well over a million.

Who designs the homes you build?

We have a portfolio of floor plans, designed by the AVB team and our architect partners. We can build from your design and ideas, or we can all sit down together and start from a blank piece of paper. We have a very talented team of designers and architects that can guide you through designing a home that matches your lifestyle, vision, and budget.

Pricing

As we work with you, we will provide cost estimates throughout the design process. Once your design is complete, we utilize our superior purchasing power, purchasing alliances, and market knowledge to secure the best value for materials and labor for your home. Finally, before you build, we always guarantee your costs.

Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I know I am getting a great value?

a. We build more custom homes than any other builder in the area, which gives us better buying power. It also allows us to garner the best trade contractors and better scheduling. We estimate that we purchase materials and labor between 3 to 5% less than our peers.

b. We belong to an exclusive multi-state buying group which enhances our purchasing power on more than 70 top-tier products such as Trane furnaces, CertainTeed shingles, Kichler light fixtures and Pella Windows.

c. We build homes for sale, so we are constantly looking at the market for the best value in materials and trade contractors. We typically have two AVB-approved trade contractors in each category of work bid on every home we build.

How are cost overruns and change orders handled?

We are a guaranteed-price builder. The price we quote is the price you pay, with the exception of any subterranean issues. We recommend that you carry 3%-5% contingency for change orders. The recommended contingency is for items you decide to change during the building process. Building a custom home is an evolutionary process and we welcome your modifications. It would be very difficult to build a custom home without making changes.

We pride ourselves in spending time going over the plans and specifications in detail to ensure we have all the items you want included and we take extra time to make sure you understand all of the components of your home. This extra time we spend reviewing the specifications and plans upfront results in you spending less time and money on change orders. Most change orders come in finish selections such as plumbing fixtures, electrical, flooring, trim, light fixtures, counters, cabinets, and appliances.

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Home Finishes & Selections

Once you finalize your home plans, it’s time to select those items which help make a house a home—exterior colors, cabinets, trim details, appliances, floorings, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and more. Our Selections Coordinators will guide you through the options and help you make the right decisions so your home reflects your personal style. We provide you with a detailed calendar for when these individual selections are needed to keep your home construction progressing and on schedule.

Frequently Asked Questions:
What are my options for customizing my new home?

We are a custom builder so if it is what you desire, we can do almost anything. With the number of homes that we build, we have decades of experience with different materials, products, and layouts, and we bring that wisdom to every home we build. In short, we will help guide you through the maze of choices and selections based upon your needs and budget.

Will I have a schedule as to when selections will be needed?

Yes, we do two comprehensive schedules in Microsoft Project for every home we build. One is for construction and the other one is for selections. The selections schedule is reviewed with you regularly and the construction schedule is communicated to our trades weekly so they can plan accordingly. We organize the selections into three to six major categories, which will allow you to focus on the areas needed in order of construction. The first areas are exterior colors, and then we start working inside with cabinetry and so on.

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Construction

This is the fun part, seeing your dream home become reality. As dirt begins to fly, we know that it’s open, honest communication that is the key to a smooth process. This kind of personal care continues throughout the building process as you are actively engaged in regular progress meetings and on-site visits.

Frequently Asked Questions:
How do you communicate during the construction of our home from start to finish?

Communication is the key to making the building process of your new home enjoyable. We communicate via phone, e-mail and a majority of our team is equipped with iPads. We can FaceTime or Skype while you are out of town or not available to meet on site. We are continually incorporating technology to make the process easier for everyone.

We have found a standing weekly meeting on site with our superintendent and/or selections coordinator throughout the project is very effective. It is a great time to review what has been done, what is next, and answer any questions. A weekly meeting is not required, but if you are available, we suggest it when possible.

How will I know what is coming up in each phase of the construction process?

If you are meeting weekly, you will get most of your updates at that time. We have a homeowner’s manual that outlines the construction process. This includes a flow chart of the steps of construction, and we will provide the selections schedule. We are in constant communication, so you are very aware of what is happening and what we may need from you.

How often (and when) will I have access to the home during the building process?

Your safety is very important to us. When on site, we want to make sure you are with someone from our team. A construction site can be a dangerous place, especially when work is in progress. We provide you with your own hard hats and safety glasses so that you are protected when overhead work is being done. Once your home has the doors and windows installed, it will be under lock and key to protect your investment.

How do you manage the home building process?

Each home we build has a designated site superintendent and selections coordinator. The superintendent manages all the day to day activities on-site and schedules trade contractors and suppliers. Your selections coordinator will help you with all your material and color selections.

Do you have a current building license, general liability, and workers’ compensation insurance?

Yes, copies are available upon request. We also have trade contractor agreements with each and every trade contractor and supplier, along with copies of their current insurance policies on file.

How am I assured that no liens get filed on my home?

We have a very skilled accounting team including two Certified Public Accountants (CPA) on staff. We utilize Timberline, which is a very powerful accounting software program that allows us to analyze almost every aspect of accounting associated with the homes we build. We work off of a purchase order system that allows us to track all awarded contracts, their work, payments, and lien waivers. This information is then validated by a title company (if you have a loan). We protect all of our owners from liens associated with the work our staff, trade contractors, and suppliers have performed.

How do you qualify the trade contractors and suppliers for my home?

We typically work with two to three vendors in every category of work from HVAC, electrical, plumbing, flooring, painting, and more. Having multiple trades keeps our pricing in check and allows us to keep our homes on schedule. These are vendors who have worked with AVB for a long time (some for more than 20 years) and who have met our pricing, quality, scheduling, service, and warranty requirements along with having a great staff. The final determination of who works on your home is based upon their bid and availability.

What’s your process for inspection at key points of construction and addressing any matters that need attention?

Our homeowner's manual does a great job of outlining this process and these will be reviewed with you prior to construction. We have identified eight critical points in the construction process that we have formal walkthroughs with you. Each one of these phases has a long list of items that we will review with you, everything from the location of the mailbox and air conditioning to punch list items.

The eight phases are Pre-Construction Conference, Pre-Excavation Tour, Post Frame Tour, Pre-Drywall Tour, Pre-Trim Tour, Flooring Tour, Pre-Paint Tour, and our Homeowner Orientation. These are just the walks we do with you; our project manager has review meetings with each and every trade contractor before, during and upon completion of every construction phase.

How do you handle job site safety?

AVB goes to great lengths to provide a safe environment for our trade contractors, suppliers and staff. A construction site is a very dangerous environment and it is important that everyone is aware of their surroundings. We provide ongoing safety training to all of our team members that goes well beyond the requirements of the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) laws and regulations, along with a residential safety program that exceeds state requirements. In addition, we provide personalized hardhats, safety glasses and review safety procedures while on site. Hard hats and safety glasses are required at all times while on site prior to the home reaching the drywall stage and at all times an overhead hazard exists, without exception.

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Quality Care

AVB will ensure your new custom home will have the enduring qualities to provide a lifetime of enjoyment. Once you have settled into your new home and have a chance to “test drive” everything, we will be there to do the fine -tuning with a 60-day and 11-month walk-through to make sure you are completely satisfied. As a finishing touch, we provide you with a home owner ’s manual including information on all the colors and materials—including model numbers—used in your home, and a list of all the trade contractors and suppliers who worked on your home. This will allow you to care for your new home with confidence and protect your investment for the long-term.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you have a written comprehensive warranty?

Yes, copies are available upon request. In addition, almost all of the products we use have their own warranties. For example, the carpet you select may have a 5 to 10 year stain warranty, the windows you select may have a 10 year warranty on seals, roofing might be 20+ years and so on.

AVB has a very comprehensive customer care program that starts with the homeowner orientation and comprehensive walkthroughs at 60 days and 11 months after you move-in. We continue to provide service on the homes we build for a very long time. We help people who are the third, even fourth plus owners of the homes we build.

What’s your process for inspection at final walk-through and addressing any matters that need attention?

We have a final staff walkthrough of your home prior to your orientation to make sure that we have completed everything to our requirements. The homeowner orientation is typically a time to celebrate the completion of your new home we have built for you; very few items are typically added to a "punch list."

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Energy Efficient Design

AVB is a leader in energy efficiency design, construction, and green building techniques. We take great pride in building energy efficient homes and reducing the carbon imprint we make on our environment. Depending on the options selected, our homes use 35% to 65% less energy than homes built to the current energy code. Your home will be inspected by a third party during and after construction is complete to ensure we have met AVB’s enhanced energy requirements. This audit often includes a physical inspection prior to drywall and upon completion, and includes an air duct leakage test, blower door test, and a thermal imaging scan of your home. These inspections ensure the thermal envelope of your home is very well constructed. You will be provided with the audit report. The report includes the actual data on the energy efficiency of your home and is an asset when you sell your home in the future.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do you ensure my new home is healthy and safe?

Throughout building your home, our supervisor will be on site almost every day. His or her primary job is to schedule the trade contractors and ensure that everything is installed correctly. There are also third party code inspections throughout the building process to ensure that all the critical components are built and installed to code.

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We take a process with a reputation for being difficult, and make it into something that’s enjoyable.

Bethany Lehmer
Certified Public Accountant