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Trends in Custom Home Building in Orange County: Why Now for Brandywine?

When and why did Brandywine establish a custom home division, and how is that different from what you were doing before?

Brandywine Custom Homes was established in the spring of 2009.  Creating a custom homes division was an idea we’ve discussed for several years so when the decline of homebuilding hit coupled with several custom home opportunities, the process of launching this division was accelerated.  With land prices and labor costs at an all-time low, the price of a custom home in today’s market is a relative bargain.

Since our inception in 1994, Brandywine Homes has been strictly a production infill home builder and developer, producing between 25 and 100 homes per year.  Building a customized home for the homeowners’ exact standards and ideas is an art form.  Therefore, we set up Brandywine Custom Homes with a completely separate staff handpicked specifically for their experience in the world of custom homebuilding.

Is this a trend? Do we see other homebuilders expanding into custom homes, and if so, why? Presumably because new homebuilding and sales are close to record low levels, correct?

We don’t think custom home building will necessarily become a trend.  Most production homebuilders tend to avoid subdivisions smaller than 20 homes much less one-off custom homes.  There is a level of care and detail that many builders just aren’t staffed for.  We have always prided ourselves on our attention to detail and craftsmanship, even in our larger developments.  Although it took the addition of dedicated staff, the jump into the custom homes arena wasn’t as big as one might think.


The attention to quality construction and detail that Whitehead brings to his role with our company is one of the reasons many of our customers have purchased second and third Brandywine homes.

As vice president of operations, Whitehead’s duties include overseeing construction, purchasing and customer service. Since joining our company in 1995, he has established long-term relationships with material suppliers and subcontractors which have allowed Brandywine Homes to benefit from master contracts. This helps to minimize construction costs while maintaining a quality that shows in every completed home, which is a testament to the quality control and attention to customer service that Brandywine demands.

Whitehead learned the business from the ground up by working as a field superintendent overseeing daily operations and construction of various communities in Southern California.

His ability to work closely with municipal officials during the entitlement process sets the stage for Brandywine and cities to work together to create cohesive communities.