The Lewes Building Co. makes custom affordable
Leebel had been working five years for a national homebuilder and decided the time was right to go out on his own.
He started Leebel Construction in 2001, and in 2007, the name changed to The Lewes Building Co. Last year, Jeffrey Dawson joined the company as a principal and investor. Leebel and Dawson together had earlier built a few new homes and rehabilitated and preserved historic homes in downtown Baltimore.
Dawson co-owned a healthcare consulting company, which was sold in 2007. “About that time I was looking for something different to get into. It sounded like something that would be fun, an opportunity, and it all came together,” Dawson said. Leebel said he and his wife Kathleen decided the Lewes-Rehoboth Beach area was where they wanted to raise their family. “We were looking around to find where we wanted to relocate. My family had been coming to the Delaware beaches since 1981, and this has always been a second home to me. It’s the small-town charm, and that’s what we’re all about,” Leebel said.
He said The Lewes Building Co. offers clients direct contact with the builder.
“A majority of builders down here have multiple levels of management – superintendent, project manager, vice president and owner. That just creates a lot of room for miscommunication, misinterpretation and missed details. I work directly with the client from start to finish.
“Being able to provide that level of service for the price point we’re going after is critical,” Leebel said.
Homes the company will be building in the Wolfe Pointe and Hawkseye communities near Lewes are priced at $500,000 to $700,000 for lot and home.
Leebel said he maintains a tight construction schedule and builds a home in four to six months.
He said among common mistakes homebuyers make are falling in love with designs that don’t match their lifestyle; selecting the wrong lot or neighborhood; thinking a custom home is not affordable; and not getting at least three bids.
Leebel said the company’s clients are those who might be relocating to the area building a second home or retirement home. “The typical client is in their mid to late 50s and preparing to retire in about 10 years,” he said.
The Lewes Building Co. is not a production homebuilder, a company that puts up 100 vinyl-sided houses at one time, Leebel said.
He said the company custom builds homes like those featured on the pages of Southern Living and Coastal Living.
“I know how I feel when I look through those magazines and fall in love with those houses, the attention to detail, the built-ins and the little nooks and crannies. They’re beautiful homes,” Leebel said.
He said those who don’t think they can afford a custom-built home should reconsider their options. Because the company is small, it’s nimble and capable of building a custom home that doesn’t have a high-dollar price tag.
Leebel said based on what he saw in the housing market last year, things are looking good for 2011.
“There are 10 or 11 homes being built in Wolfe Pointe and 10 homes under construction in Hawkseye.
“People are choosing to build and get usable living space, not two-story family rooms and two-story foyers that don’t really add anything.
“We’re not about building McMansions, the 5,000- to 8,000-square-foot monstrosity. We’re looking to build 2,000- to 4,000-square-foot, nicely built homes like those people see in design magazines,” Leebel said.
The Lewes Building Co.’s offices are at 105 Second St., Lewes. For additional information, call 302-797-8700, or go to lewesbuildingco.com