Exclusive interview with the family behind Elite Builders
We recently interviewed Steve and Barbara Venincasa, along with their daughter, Julie, to get some insight on how Elite Builders has been doing.
How have the past two years been overall for Elite?
Everything has been going very well overall for the whole company, and we have adjusted to the Covid situation as much as possible, considering the many ups and downs over the past two years. We have managed our sites efficiently to keep construction moving forward, and we have worked very closely with contractors and subcontractors to keep the supply chain going. That said, it has definitely been a challenge. We have had to deal with delays and make substitutions, but we work hard to minimize those as much as possible. Where we’ve had to switch out a product at various points, we remain committed to offering the same level of quality while also accommodating closing dates and deadlines. We’ve learned how to be flexible in new ways, in conjunction with our subcontractors and vendors. Working together as a team has definitely helped things run more smoothly in these challenging times!
Holding open houses was challenging for a while during the peak of the pandemic, but we figured out ways to make it work and ensure that people felt comfortable by using masks, sanitizing practices, social distancing, and even holding some private showings.
Activity has been strong, with eager buyers who are ready to move. We sold out Wyman Farms Shrewsbury, which is a 26 unit condominium community, during the height of Covid. We’ve also started new developments, including Highland Ridge in Berlin, which is a 66 unit condominium community, and have units under agreement with closing dates set for more than a year out. We attribute this increase in activity to the buyer who is ready to move immediately. And because interest rates have continued to remain low, this is the ideal time to make the move.
What exciting new builds/communities do you have in the pipeline?
We are about midway through construction at Highland Ridge Berlin 55+ condominiums. Some other projects coming up this year include the Ridings in Westborough and the Ridings in Grafton (single-family home communities) and 59 apartment units at 19 Canal Street in Millbury, which will be ready for leasing early 2023.
We also have Bungay Brook Condominiums in Bellingham, which should be 100+ units, and is a non-age restricted community. Some other projects are still in their initial stages, such as condominiums in Walpole, and Boylston, so stay tuned for more on those soon!
Any current challenges you could share?
The cost of items is definitely a challenge. When we price out a certain complex, it’s been difficult with material delays and pricing increasing by 50% or more at times.
We’ve held our pricing and honored contracts, but it’s very hard to do. For future developments, marketing materials are delayed so that when we do publish for the public, they will be as accurate as possible with minimal material substitutions, price changes, and accurate closing dates. These are a few challenges we will be looking at and adjusting as we continue to build.
Another challenge has been the fact that our contractors have been stretched to the limit and are picking up secondary crews, which means there can be gaps in productivity. On a positive note, we’ve established so many great, solid relationships with our contractors over the years that we know we can work through these times. While facing these challenges, we want the buyer to know we are a strong, secure, and knowledgeable company. When we are forced to hold back and make changes, it can make buyers question the process. But because we are all in unprecedented times, there’s a general understanding regarding changes and uncertainty across the board.
What are some things of which you are most proud lately?
Barb: I am most proud of our dedication to making improvements all the time. When we deliver a product, we’re delivering a high quality product. When we walk through a house, there are very few callbacks, and our quality control improves all the time. We also put so much time, thought, and effort into our floor plans and outfitting a home with the materials the new owners will not only appreciate, but that will suit their individual needs and lifestyles.
Steve: I’m proud of the transformations we make in the neighborhoods in which we build. We always aim to bring the highest quality of homes, which in turn, add to the standard of living and quality of the communities. Even when people have concerns about new construction in their communities, they ultimately realize what an asset our communities are to their town. We like to help create the whole package—beautiful homes that help to build happy neighborhoods where people live, work, play, and raise their families. The bar is constantly being raised, which challenges us to keep elevating our game. I love planning out a neighborhood and envisioning how it will serve its inhabitants, ensuring it’s pet-friendly, bike-friendly, and kid-friendly. I aim for a unique approach and appearance, not a cookie cutter formula. After all, people save diligently for/spend a lot of money on their homes. I’m also very proud of the MassWorks award that the town of Millbury has received, as it means more funds are directed toward improvements and upgrades within the community, and we get to be part of that ongoing process!
Julie: I am most proud of the company and team we have built over the years. It takes a lot of effort and motivation across the board, but we feel it’s important to reflect our vision and the respect we have for all of our relationships we’ve cultivated over the years with various partners, subcontractors, and suppliers. In the end, we’re proud to show our developments, and promote what’s happening, both now and in the future!
What do you do to decompress?
Steve: I love to go on pedal biking adventures, which I do as often as possible.
Barb: We like to be with our grandchildren, both visiting them and attending their events. And if Julie and I just have some time for a lunch or coffee outing and we happen to also chat about work, that can feel enjoyable and stress-free. We also have the upcoming builders show in Florida, which we’ve been attending for years, including this current year 2022. It’s exciting for us to see new products, talk to people around the country, and attend various fun events there!
Julie: I enjoy spending time with my family and my young daughter. I love spending time with my parents, both at work and beyond, and I’ve even been told by some clients that it’s very apparent how much we all enjoy what we do and how well we get along. That’s truly one of the best compliments we could ever receive!