Springfield, MO

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A Conversation With ... Jeff Fahrlander

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Tell us about your company.

With Fahrlander Custom Homes, I've been building full time since about 2003. I'm the president, and my wife, April, is the vice president. Our customer demographic is typically $250,000 to million-dollar homes. I like to do a mix of 50-50 on custom and speculative homes. I work with pretty much any type of family. ... I like French country (with) the brick and stone (and) custom cabinets. Every house is different. I subcontract for pretty much everything ... and I do remodeling.

How has the economy affected your business?

It's pretty typical (for me to) build about eight homes a year, but ... last year I did two and the year before, I did three. With the housing market being down a little bit, it's pretty slow right now. But I'm very optimistic. I have plans to do, hopefully, a basement spec house out here in Kelby Creek, so my feeling is that the market's right on the edge of a turnaround. I've sold three houses in the past three months, two of them in the mid-$400,000 range. (Remodeling) is something I started doing a couple of years ago, when I saw it slowing down. My philosophy is that I'll do whatever it takes to support my family.

Why are you building a St. Jude home?

I took a trip with the (Home Builders Association of Greater Springfield) representatives last month, and I went to the hospital. It took me about 10 minutes (to decide) - they'd been talking to me about possibly (building) the house. I've got a wife and two kids, 11 and 8, and I thought if I was ever in that situation where I needed St. Jude, what better way for me to give back? The Lord has blessed me and given me a talent, and what way can I give back? St. Jude does so much that people don't realize. A child can have cancer, and they will pay for them to get there, take care of all their treatment, whether they have insurance or not, and there were so many great cases of people who have had treatment and success.

What is your role in making the St. Jude house a reality in the Kelby Creek subdivision in Nixa?

My role is no different than with any custom or (speculative) house I would build. I hire all of the subs. I completely designed this project, with the help of my draftsman, Chris Brown. I started at the beginning, from getting the plans set out. ... I picked the colors (and) what trim was going to be used. The first people I went to are the people I normally work with (who) have been dedicated to building a Fahrlander custom home. And the majority of them have been gracious and donated their labor and a lot of materials. ... Kelby Creek (developers) have bent over backwards. They've given us a gorgeous lot.

What can you tell us about the home?

The 2010 St. Jude Dream Home is a single-level house with a media room upstairs. The square footage is about 3,700 with four bedrooms. A couple of neat features (are) when you first walk in off the garage, there's built-in storm shelter room with storage, and then you can just crawl down (into a shelter). Missouri Storm Shelter provided ... an engineered storm shelter. ... (The home has) an oversized kitchen with a hearth area, beam trusses, an island that's 5-feet-wide-by-6-feet long (and) a stone fireplace. ... It's got three regular bedrooms ... and a master bedroom with a big sitting area. ... It's a $400,000 house.

What industry trends are you seeing?

The biggest thing right now is energy efficiency. (The St. Jude home) will be an Energy Star-rated home. I'm trying to really focus on energy efficiency and helping people out on their utility bills. I'm a certified green professional through the National Association of Home Builders. ... What I've seen a lot of is people downsizing, going from that 6,000-square-foot house down to a single-level house. We're in the baby boomer era, and a lot of people are getting to the point where they're going to be empty-nesters, and they're trying to find smaller houses. But I also see a lot of families that want a basement house. They're worried about southwest Missouri storms.[[In-content Ad]]


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