Love Letter: “Would you be so kind as to provide me with a reference?”

Q. Hi, I received your contact information from Charles Rinek. I understand he recently completed your new home build. We are currently considering using Charles to construct our home in Flagler Beach. Would you be so kind as to provide me with a reference? Specifically, I am wondering if you can tell me if he met your expectations. Also, how smooth was the process? If you had any issues, were you satisfied with how they were handled? I appreciate any feedback you can provide. This is a daunting process for us and I am trying my best to research our options. If you have any advice, please feel free to share! Thanks in advance for your help.

Sincerely,

Wendy

 

A. Wendy, I will gladly and kindly act as a customer reference for Charles Rinek. FYI, our home is still under construction, and we’re hoping it will be completed in May. Let me first give you some background info on our builder selection process, why we selected Charles Rinek, and our ongoing relationship to the present.

Background: My wife and I have owned the Palm Coast lot our home is currently being built on for many years. I retired 3 1/2+ years ago, but we waited for real estate values to recuperate after the bubble burst before we decided to put our Maryland house on the market, sell it, move south, and build a new retirement home. We’re currently renting while the new home is being built. Selection Process: Back in the fall of 2014, I did an internet search for Palm Coast Builders and selected about 12 candidates. We also favored builders who were on Angie’s List, of which Rinek Construction was. I emailed the candidate builders with an introductory letter, our rough timeline, preliminary specifications, and conceptual sketches that I prepared, and waited for replies. I also wanted to know if they would build to my design, on our lot, and what their company size and experience were.

Charles Rinek was the first builder to get back to me via email (more on that later). He also sent us a questionnaire regarding our preferences so he could learn more about what we wanted beforehand, along with his standard construction specifications, including cost upgrades. None of the others did so. Other builders got back expressing interest. Others said they couldn’t meet our schedule or were disinterested. One went out of business. One wouldn’t build to my design. And others only got back after I called them on the phone about two weeks after the initial email inquiry. Those that I had to give a wakeup call to were struck from the list, as was the one who wouldn’t build to my design.

We pared the list down to 3 builders that were smaller custom builders. Two were very experienced and one was an inexperienced upstart and long shot we selected out of curiosity. Then we contacted them and told them we planned to drive down to Palm Coast in early December to personally meet them and view some of their homes under construction. After our December meetings, we continued back-and- forth communications with all three for a couple months trying to gauge and feel out the candidates while the Maryland real estate market improved. Not knowing a lot about residential construction and Florida construction standards, I had many questions during that time. One aspect that immediately became apparent in our eventual selection was that Charles Rinek promptly and consistently replied (usually the same day) to our emailed questions and answered them in detail that improved our comfort level. The other two builders sometimes took days to reply or gave ambiguous answers. Not good.

Our Selection: Our selection criteria were trustworthiness, honesty, responsiveness, and experience. Trust and honesty are intangible and subjective qualities that are extremely important to us. They are also difficult to ascertain, but were made easier in our face-to-face meetings and follow-on phone conversations. My wife, Reiko, is a better judge of people than I am, and she strongly believed Charles Rinek to be a trustworthy and honest person. He is also a good listener, something that furthered our confidence and comfort level. Regarding responsiveness, we wanted a builder who promptly responds to our evolving needs and questions, has time to personally meet with us on short notice, and is someone who we believe we can rely on. Being a smaller custom builder as opposed to a larger corporate (AKA factory) tract builder, allows Charles to personally address our needs on a timely basis. I believe he calls it a concierge approach to building. Our house is modest in size and cost, but Charles treats us as if we were his most important customer. And finally experience. I believe Rinek Construction has been in business for over 18 years building homes of every conceivable type, size, and value. Every time someone asks us who our builder is, we tell them Charles Rinek, and they always have good things to say.

After we selected Charles Rinek, we also had constructive meetings leading up to and after contract signing to the present. I had prepared my own design, but Charles personally made constructive critiques and changes that improved it. Again, we trust his word and expect to have a home we are proud to own. In conclusion, we are still in the construction phase, and we believe Charles Rinek is performing to our expectations. Thus far the process has flowed very smoothly with only a couple minor issues, one of which was a self-inflicted minor change order to the floor plan that I should have addressed earlier. Another was also a minor change to the master bath shower arrangement we contemplated just the other day that was handled to our satisfaction and at a cost savings. To conclude, we are thus far very happy we have chosen Charles Rinek to build our new home. Speaking for both myself and my wife Reiko, we wish you success in your new home building endeavor.

Sincerely,

Richard

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