Courtesy of Mark Samuelson
Who are the dozen largest-volume homebuilders in Denver? You're familiar with every brand on that list, except for the very last: G.J. Gardner Homes. Calling itself 'the biggest builder no one ever heard of,' G.J. Gardner has climbed to become Denver's 12th largest builder by reaching buyers that the big production builders can't touch - those who want things done their own way.
"The difference in our buyers is that they're people who want things to fit their lifestyle," says Brenda Calvin, project manager for G.J. Gardner in Parker and Elbert County - putting the finishing touches on a spacious walkout ranch on a five-acre site for the 2014 Parade of Homes (you can preview it today).
"With us, they can design every space to fit the way they live," Calvin adds, "instead of being forced into spaces that work for everybody else." That starts with location: G.J. Gardner has ten Colorado franchisees building from Colorado Springs north to Cheyenne - with builders that specialize in acreage properties such as the Parade ranch in Elbert County; to growingly popular city neighborhoods like Highlands and Berkeley, with walk-to dining, parks and entertainment.
Those niches - ones that big production companies typically won't touch - used to be handled by custom builders; but custom firms don't do the job of competing with production builders that G.J. Gardner does, says Scott Moberg, G.J. Gardner's Parker/Elbert builder. "My customer is usually somebody that won't even look at production-built homes," he adds, "but finds most custom builders are either too slow or too expensive."
G.J. Gardner uses technology to fill the gaps - systemization that allows franchisees to compete against larger companies. Gardner also allows buyers to pick from three levels of personalization; saving on costs for a less-personal experience; ratcheting up for buyers who really want a custom home. Those levels include a 'Value That Matters' option in specific communities around Colorado, where buyers can deposit at around $5,000, go to contract for 3.5% of estimated price, and use builder-arranged financing. Higher up the scale, buyers can opt for 'Prestige' services for more options and a wider lot selection for homes $450,000 to $700,000; or for a Signature option - a true custom home involving a $10,000 lot deposit, premium finishes included.
At Elkhorn Ranch southeast of Aurora Reservoir, you'll preview that Parade home on a 5-acre site - around 27 times bigger than an 8,000-foot lot. G.J. Gardner builders are available this weekend to discuss specifics on your project; check GJGardner.com for builders in Adams County, Boulder, Cheyenne, Denver, Douglas County, Falcon, Golden, Grand Junction, and Loveland. To preview the Parade house, from E470 take Smoky Hill Road southeast two miles to S. Powhaton; turn south to County Line Road, then east five miles.