Growing up in Minnesota, Tom Budzynski accepted long, cold winters as a way of life. But those heating bills, looming as large as the national debt? That’s another story.
The young man—who’d bought his first investment property at age 18 and snagged his real estate license at 23, fresh from the Navy—built his business chops by buying, fixing and reselling houses. But why refurbish other peoples’ structures when you could build it better from the ground up? So, says Tom, “I decided new construction was the main thing,” and launched his custom building enterprise, TJB Homes.
But every builder needs a niche to stand out from the competing piles of 2 x 4s, he realized. And that’s when he first embraced those dreadful Minnesota winters. “To make it in the market, I decided to construct energy-efficiency and cold-climate houses: super-insulated, with air exchange and fireplace heat,” leaning on techniques proven successful in (even colder) Canada.
“I was way beyond the times,” he states with gusto. “When the Minnesota legislature passed a new code in 1999, we had to change nothing in our specs, we had been building this way already. TJB Super Energy Homes exceed everything in the code and enable folks to save on their energy bills.”
That’s the value-added bonus that comes with TJB’s high-end custom homes sprinkled throughout the metro, from Blaine and Edina to Woodbury and North Oaks—upwards of 25 homes a year ranging from $400,000 to $2.5 million. In the past decade, TJB has built two homes for ABC-TV’s Extreme Makeover show, and completed eight projects for the DIY Network’s Bath Crashers.