Cabin Fever – The January Effect for Custom Homes

From Eric Sallee, President of Progress Street Builders in Blacksburg, Virginia, USA:

Something about January brings thoughts of building a new home to people's minds. Maybe it's the cold. With everyone and everything nestled inside, the house feels just a little extra cramped and cabin fever sets in. Maybe it's the extra holiday gifts and the annual game of "Now where are we going to put this or that?"  Or maybe it's just a time of year when people naturally reflect and refocus on the future and feel comfortable moving forward with the next great phase of their lives.

The January Effect produces thoughts of a custom home...Whatever the reason, at Progress Street Builders, we typically experience an increase in inquiries about building custom homes starting some time in the middle of January – we call it The January Effect. Often the family has already spent months (or years) thinking about and even working on a design, getting finances in order, identifying a house site, etc.  But for some reason January will often be the first time they actually talk to a builder about fulfilling their new home dreams. "When would you be able to start..?" "What do you think our house will likely cost..?" Professional builders are more than ready to begin answering these first critical questions.

We have found that new home customers often think a builder can start their new homes within just a few weeks. While that may be the case if it is a home design the builder has constructed before (so the costs are already known) and on a lot the builder owns or controls (so identifying and purchasing a lot is not a delay; usually it takes several months for details and a schedule to be worked out).  Building plans and materials choices need to be completed, costs identified, possibly engineering to be done, and soil tested. Site planning and permit applications have to be obtained.  In some cases, the neighborhood design review board may require advance review and approval of the plans before construction can begin. Subcontractors and suppliers also have to be lined up ahead of time in order to provide materials and skills at just the right time so the home doesn't start, then stop, then start again.

The work and wait do eventually pay off and the house begins to rise, often as the weather begins to warm.  Like anticipating those first spring flowers, it is hard to be patient for them to sprout but then it's so worth the wait.

Since our focus at Progress Street Builders is to build not just houses, but homes, this up-front planning time with our customers is crucial to our ability to create something altogether beautiful, functional, and lasting.  We enjoy what we do and, like our customers, are anxious to get started.  We know from experience, though, that great planning is the key to a great home and a great homeowner experience.


Eric Sallee is President of Progress Street Builders, a custom home builder serving the Blacksburg, Roanoke and New River Valleys of Virginia, specializing in the design and construction of unique single family homes, townhouses, additions and residential remodeling projects.

You're invited to read more about Progress Street Builders on Handshake 2.0 and to visit Progress Street Builders on Facebook.

Progress Street Builders, Inc. is a client of Handshake Media, Incorporated, the parent company of Handshake 2.0.

Who's in FRONT? Evan Smith


  1. Anne – thanks again for helping us help our customers – Eric

  2. Eric, “It’s still who you know” and I’m getting to “know” you and your work through your posts. I very much like what you have to say about what you do.


Speak Your Mind