For the past 17 years, Irvine-based Brandywine Homes has built nearly 800 homes in 25 small- and mid-sized infill communities. Though it’s a small company, Brandywine still operated like the big tract developers, mass-producing homes. But two years ago, the firm established a “custom” homebuilding division, hiring out to build just one home at a time directly for the homeowner.
We asked Operations Vice President Mark Whitehead to explain why …
Us: What is a custom home and how is it different than a “tract” or “production” home?
Mark: Typically, a custom home is an organic process that begins with an owner and a dream. There are many different places to start, but usually it would be the future homeowner with a home site in mind, and an architect who begins to plan the home based on that particular buyer’s direction (size, bedroom count, etc.).
Somewhere along the line, a builder such as Brandywine would be contracted to come in and begin the process of permitting, specifying materials and eventually construction.
A production home, on the other hand, will be designed with a more mass market appeal and will have more typical materials and finishes. As far as cost goes, that depends greatly on spec level and what a particular buyer is trying to achieve.
Brett Whitehead, 39
Brandywine Homes, Irvine, Calif.
BS, Finance, Loyola Marymount University; MS, Finance, Pepperdine University
Oversees major facets of 15-year-old, mid-sized home-building company, including land acquisition, entitlements, strategic planning, and finance
Under his watch, firm acquired and planned more than 25 developments and 800 residential units
Forged strong relationships with lenders and equity partners, which helped the company acquire land and open new communities during the downturn
Board member, BIA Orange County Chapter
Assists City of Stanton, Calif., with land and community planning
OFF THE CLOCK
Hobbies include fishing, skiing, snowboarding, and traveling
Getaway spot: Cayman Islands
Fave reads: “The Art of War” and “Monday Morning Leadership”
Planned to work on Wall Street after graduate school but fell in love with real estate
Stepfather was one of the first developers in Anaheim Hills, Calif.