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Built by Brett focuses on 'care after the sale'

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by Michele Skalicky

SBJ Contributing Writer

Brett Godfrey knew nothing about building houses when he decided to construct a home for his family.

"I didn't know which end of the hammer to hold," said the owner of Built by Brett. With the help of his father-in-law, Godfrey's house went up and Godfrey caught the building bug.

Godfrey built his first speculation house when he was in college, working on a degree in hotel and restaurant administration.

He got his degree, and, even though it took him two years to sell the spec home, Godfrey decided to go into business for himself building houses.

He said his degree gave him an edge over other builders. "I learned a lot of things that helped me in the business," he said. Customer service is important in the building industry, according to Godfrey, and that was one focus of his studies.

"That's the premise of my business," he said. "If I can't offer excellent customer service, I'm not going to do it." In fact, Godfrey said, he attributes his success to "the care after the sale."

Built by Brett remains fairly diverse. The company builds upper-end starter homes along with pricier homes, with house prices ranging from $80,000 to $600,000.

When he first started, Godfrey built more spec homes than custom homes, but now that's "almost totally reversed," he said.

The market is now more heavily weighted toward custom homes, according to Godfrey, and has been for a few months. He expects that to continue for at least the next three or four months.

"Interest rates have shaken people loose," he said. "The stock market's up. There's a lot of money out there now." That means a lot of business for builders, but Godfrey said there's always business for builders who offer an excellent product and service.

"Things would have to slow down really slow for them to have to look for work."

Godfrey recently developed his first subdivision, Foxwood, with partner Tom Barr, and he would eventually like to do more development "where we apply model home-type sales on lower-end homes."

He offers design services for customers and prefers to work with them from the beginning to "help choose a lot and floor plan that coincide," he said.

What Godfrey likes best about his job is his chance to be creative. His wife, Sherry, takes care of the business end and Godfrey is the "creator" or "dreamer," he said. He also enjoys being able to offer people "a place they call home."

Godfrey said he plans to stay in the business for a long time, because he enjoys his career.

"With this kind of business you've got to really like it or it's not worth the commitment," he said.

"I don't dread getting up in the morning and going to work. Most of the time I look forward to getting up and doing the stuff that I do every day, and that makes for a pretty good life," he added.

PHOTO CAPTION:

Brett Godfrey is completing this home in the Millwood subdivision in Springfield.[[In-content Ad]]

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