In the early days, Mike Rygh owned a real estate firm with three branches in the Twin Cities. “Occasionally I’d help a client purchase a homesite, and then he or she would ask me to recommend a custom homebuilder,” Rygh says.
But according to Rygh, 30 years ago there weren’t a lot of good custom homebuilders in the Twin Cities market, so it was tough to make a recommendation. That’s what inspired Rygh to get into the custom home building business himself—initially as part of a franchise that eventually transitioned into his privately owned company, Cottage Grove-based Custom One Homes.
Now, after 30 years in business, Custom One Homes has built several hundred homes, the majority in the east metro communities of Woodbury, Cottage Grove, Stillwater, and Lake Elmo.
The homes Rygh builds range in price from around $500,000 to $1.5 million, and he typically completes around 20 homes per year.
“I have always believed in surrounding myself with good people. In the early days, those people taught me a lot. Today, the majority of my trade partners have been with me for the past 25 years, which allows us to perform quality inspections during construction and greatly reduces call backs after the home is completed,” Rygh says.
“It all starts with choosing the right homesite—the homesite is paramount,” he says.
Custom One Homes has lots reserved in prime east metro neighborhoods; it can build on a homesite that a client has already purchased; or currently has two new neighborhoods, Autumn Ridge of Woodbury and Brown’s Creek Preserve of Stillwater, that it has developed exclusively for its clients.
“Once a customer has purchased a homesite, the first thing we do is establish a price range, and the person’s preferred style of home. Next, we match our customer with the architect that best fits his or her style,” Rygh says.
After the basic design has been created and finalized, the Custom One Homes team is ready to go to work—and it truly is a team approach.
“The three things that frustrate people most during the home building process are unexpected price increases, not knowing a firm closing date, and poor communication, so we’ve put everything in place to ensure our customers don’t experience that kind of frustration,” says Rygh.
Custom One Homes’ customers know every detail about their home building costs up front. This eliminates surprises and allows them to better manage their budgets.
Rygh also has a guaranteed closing date program. “Once we have shingles on the roof, we set a closing date and it is firm,” he says.
He also requires his team to respond to any communication from customers within eight hours.
Even though Rygh has been in business for three decades, he prides himself on utilizing the latest technology. For example, his team uses a special project tracking software so customers can login and monitor their home’s progress. He also uses customer surveys that can be viewed online by anyone.
What does Rygh enjoy most about the custom home building business? “Doing the job right,” he says.
Written by Fran Howard