Home 2.0 Blog Archive

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Pre-Construction Team

With construction set to begin on the Starter Home 2.0 project in the next few weeks, I thought I would take some time to acknowledge the different players that have been involved with the project leading up to ground-breaking. Everyone I have worked with so far has done a fantastic job and I'm hoping that will continue through the duration of construction.

Owner-Developer-Architect | Mike Benkert, AIA: As the owner, developer and architect for the Starter Home 2.0 project my task is to decide what to build, where to build it, how it will be built and who will build it. I am also responsible for developing the drawings and specifications that will be used to build the house.

Legal Counsel | Strauss Troy: Going through the process of purchasing a lot to build a home on for the first time, I wanted to have an attorney review the purchase contract supplied by the seller's Realtor to ensure the proper safeguards were in place should I discover anything during the inspection period that would prohibit me from building a house on the site. I ended up choosing Strauss Troy to review the contract based on a connection I had with one of the partners at the firm, Frank Klaine, who was on the Cincinnati Housing Partners Board, when I was there as an assistant construction manager there in 2010-2011.

Geotechnical Engineer | Alt & Witzig Engineering: During the 30-day inspection period I had after signing the purchase contract, I hired a geotechnical engineer dig test pits around the property and prepare a subsurface report outlining the soil conditions and recommending a foundation type based on the soils found on-site. 

Title Company | Security Title & Guaranty Agency: A sister company of Strauss Troy, Security Title & Guaranty Agency was brought onto the project team to ensure that the property had good title, prepare all the documents needed for the transfer of ownership, and conduct the closing on the property. 

Lawn Service | Exterior Property Management: My cousin has a small landscaping business and I decided to hire him to maintain the lot and keep it looking nice so it doesn't become a blight on the neighborhood like a lot of vacant lots.

Surveyor | Greg Koopman: The City of Cincinnati requires plot plans prepared by a licensed surveyor before issuing any building permits so I went to Angie's List and did a search for recommended land surveyor's in the area. Greg Koopman was far and away the most highly rated on the site, so I decided to reach out to Greg for his services.

Site Clearing | AJ's Tree Service: When a large tree limb fell on my property this past fall that I needed to get removed, I made the decision to go ahead and clear the entire site so that it was 'construction ready.' I once again went to Angie's List to look for tree removal companies and one of the things that stood out to me about AJ's Tree Service, was that they had the capacity to not only service trees, but perform additional landscaping tasks that weren't offered by the other tree service companies I talked to.

Builder | Mike Brown Construction: The most important thing for me in selecting a builder for the Starter Home 2.0 project was finding someone I could trust. Trust that they would build a quality home at a fair price, trust that they would be someone I could learn from and have fun working with, and trust that they would have my best interest in mind throughout the project. I am confident Mike Brown Construction is just that and look forward to working with them over the next several months as we see this project through completion.

Lender | Guardian Savings Bank: I was referred to Greg Capannari at Guardian Savings bank by Mike Brown construction as someone who they have had a lot of success working with in the past. In comparing Guardian Savings Bank with the other lenders I was considering, Guardian had more experience in new home construction lending and lower rates than anyone. Combine this with the successful relationship they already had in place with my builder, it just made sense to utilize them to finance the Starter Home 2.0 project.

As you can see, just getting a project to the point where it is ready to break ground is quite a team effort with a collection of different professions and personalities involved. I have learned a lot from each individual I have dealt with and look forward to continuing to grow my network as the construction process gets underway in a few weeks.