Partner with Level Craft Construction, Virginia Van Lear joins the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast to discuss operating a female-run business, the pandemic’s effects on the construction industry and building inside the perimeter. Van Lear joins hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick for the All About Real Estate segment.
Level Craft Construction is a premier custom home builder headed by Van Lear and her business partner, Debbie Hollonbeck, with over 20 years of experience building, designing and renovating homes and commercial spaces inside the perimeter area (ITP). The company works primarily in Brookhaven, Buckhead, Decatur, Midtown, Virginia Highland, Morningside, Kirkwood and Scottdale.
“You can come to us with your project, and we will help you every step of the way,” said Van Lear.
Level Craft partners with homeowners from building, planning, lot selection and funding while remaining close at hand through every step of the process. As well as residential work, the company works with investors to develop residential properties, expanding and improving the real estate industry in the metro area.
When the pandemic began, Van Lear and her team expected all operations to come to a halt, but this has not been the case. Many people working from home have assessed their spaces and found them lacking. Whether there is a lack of beautification, a needed update or the desire for more capacity, many clients feel cramped in homes that were at one time adequate. Level Craft Construction has seen a dramatic increase in additions and outdoor living spaces in the past year and a half.
Specializing in large-scale construction projects over $250,000, popular additions like screened-in porches tend to be a part of sizable projects that also includes a master suite and additional rooms. Some homeowners even go as far as starting from scratch.
In Atlanta, a current issue is obtaining a building permit earlier than six months before starting a project, which presents problems for homeowners and the Level Craft team, because a lot can happen with pricing during that timeframe. Another issue is the interruption in the flow of products from sources outside of the United States. For example, if roof trusses are needed for a build, there is difficulty obtaining the necessary metal brackets. For HVAC systems, the motherboards to operate the machinery are sourced from China, causing sizable delays.
Van Lear said, “What took us five or six months to build now takes us eight or nine months because we’re just waiting for product.”
It’s common to see houses start construction and come to an abrupt halt because of disruptions to the supply chain. Level Craft Construction has been keeping communication open and regularly updating clients to ensure the interruptions don’t prevent the homeowner’s dream from becoming a reality.
Since all of Level Craft’s projects are larger-scale, 99% of renovations incorporate a kitchen upgrade for a larger and more functional space. Based in the South, it is common for Level Craft Construction clients to also desire screened-in back porches with room for a wet bar and a Big Green Egg. It is also common for homeowners to request a martini pool or larger family pools. Van Lear shared that the current main pillars of renovations are larger kitchens, outdoor living spaces and additional rooms to provide office space for working from home.
Just some of the most common home styles that clients ask for include the commonplace southern farmhouse style, Craftsman bungalows, two-story bungalows and recently, modern prairie styles, a personal favorite of Van Lear. She also shared that the company enjoys the challenge of experimenting with different exteriors, such as stacked stone versus stone veneer.
“It’s fun for Level Craft to build outside of the box,” shared Van Lear. “It keeps our wheels turning a little bit and keeps us sharp. We always want to learn new things.”
Level Craft has a designated job process to ensure efficient and high-quality work. Van Lear’s work includes sales and development of projects such as vetting homeowners, gathering estimates and following up with architects and lenders to negotiate prices. Van Lear’s partner, Hollonbeck, shops with clients to select finishes, conducts design meetings and works within the budget set by Van Lear to bring the home to life.
Brandon Sheffield, Van Lear’s project manager, oversees and updates Van Lear on daily operations and works through demolition, framing and more. Project Manager Stan Bearden, captained by Hollonbeck, handles plumbing, mechanical and electrical for the builds.
Level Craft’s designer, Jordan Evans, receives the homeowner’s expectations and desires for tile, lighting, doorknobs and more from Van Lear, and handles pricing, ordering and organization for integral home design elements.
“In building, it’s imperfect people with imperfect materials in an imperfect environment,” said Van Lear. “We always have problems that have to be solved, but it works for all of us at the Level Craft team.”
Since 1996, Van Lear has been an active player in an industry dominated by men and shared that she has always felt included, respected and accepted. Many clients see it as a bonus that Level Craft is female-owned and female-run due to the higher level of organization and communication. The belief largely stems from the fact that most women have children and a career; this demands efficiency and Level Craft’s daily operations prove the theory. When Van Lear meets a potential client, many are impressed with Level Craft’s operations, placing them at an advantage.
To learn more about Level Craft Construction and discover its vast portfolio, visit www.levelcraftatlanta.com or browse its Houzz profile. To speak with Virginia Van Lear directly, email her at email@example.com.
Georgia Residential Mortgage Licensee, License #22564. NMLS ID #6606. Subject to borrower and property qualifications. Not all applicants will qualify. Level Craft Construction and New American Funding are not associated. Click here to view the terms and conditions of products mentioned during the show. Corporate office 14511 Myford Rd., Suite 100, Tustin, CA 92780. Phone: (800) 450-2010. (October/2021)
New American Funding is a family-owned mortgage lender with a servicing portfolio of over 123,000 loans for $30.4 billion, 198 branches, and about 3,100 employees. The company offers several niche loan products and has made Inc. 5000’s list of Fastest-Growing Companies in America six times. It has a state-of-the-art career training facility and develops innovative technology, including the GoGo LO mobile application. For more information, visit www.branch.newamericanfunding.com/Atlanta.
The Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio “All About Real Estate” segment, presented by Denim Marketing, highlights the movers and shakers in the Atlanta real estate industry – the home builders, developers, Realtors and suppliers working to provide the American dream for Atlantans. For more information on how you can be featured as a guest, contact Denim Marketing at 770-383-3360 or fill out the Atlanta Real Estate Forum contact form. Subscribe to the Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio podcast on iTunes, and if you like this week’s show, be sure to rate it.