Stadler Custom Homes
Stadler Custom Homes’ employees are their own harshest critics when it comes to the quality of their work. “Most of our clients would define quality as a good paint job or having trim joints meet; we go way beyond that,” says Ray Stadler, founder and co-owner of the Bulverde, Texas-based homebuilder. “We nitpick things to death in order to get to the highest level of quality as we can. Nothing’s ever perfect, but we spend a ridiculous amount of time and effort making sure our homes reflect the highest level of quality and workmanship.”
Every home created by Stadler endures a rigorous inspection process for every phase of its construction in order to avoid any potential defects. Any flaws are noted and fixed prior to the homeowner moving into the residence and each finished product is also extensively inspected and reviewed at a higher level than the inspections performed by city building officials.
“Some would say that it’s too easy to be a builder in Texas,” Stadler says, when commenting on how easy it is to obtain building permits and pass inspections in the state. “It’s very important for people to know who it is they’re building with and be familiar with the integrity they have as well as the builder’s internal inspection processes, so they’re not left with a big mess at the end.
“We want to do a good job taking care of our customers,” he adds. “Whatever the city inspectors may find, we always find more than them.”
Stadler Custom Homes builds 12 to 18 homes a year ranging in price from $400,000 to $5 million, with an average home price of $1.6 million. Stadler works in the greater San Antonio and Boerne, Texas, regions.
Stadler and his staff are intimately involved with the homebuilding process long before construction even begins. “We interact with customers from the very beginning,” Stadler says. “We help them feel comfortable choosing the right lot and using their lot in the right way, help them with the design process with the architect, and navigate them through the construction process so they end up with the house that’s best for them design-wise. Being an instrumental part of the process with our customers is something we’re proud of.”
Each Stadler Custom Homes client meets with a project manager every week during construction, and can access progress photos online on a personalized blog created just for their project. Ray Stadler also gives every client his personal cell phone number and e-mail address. “Anytime a client needs me, they can let me know,” he says. “I never turn down a request to meet with someone.”
Stadler’s relationships with customers continue years after they move in. “I’m most proud that, for 98 percent of my customers, that they’re still comfortable calling me with a problem five years afterward, and I’m confident seeing them socially and using them as a reference.”
Clients are given a great amount of control over the fixtures, features and layouts of their homes. “We are one of the few homebuilders in town with a fair amount of volume that is a true custom builder from top to bottom,” Stadler says. “We allow clients to pick anything they want, and they can change things from the start of the project to the day they move in.”
Common customer requests include home automation features such as lighting controls. “Some of our customers are just looking for a little automation, while others want to be able to control their lighting, alarm system, hot tub or refrigerator right from their phone,” he adds.
Energy efficiency features are also common. The company recently completed a home that included a 25,000-gallon rainwater collection tank beneath its pool deck, and has completed seven similar tanks on other projects. Stadler Custom Homes has also installed solar arrays and geothermal HVAC systems, Stadler says.
Stadler says his company can be creative when it comes to design requests. As an example, one recent client requested a movable wall in between a game room and a theater room that could be open or closed for parties or private viewing. The company took advantage of its relationships with other contractors and suppliers to complete the wall for $6,000, significantly less than the more than $20,000 such a feature would normally cost, he adds.
Other unique interior features the company has installed include “glowing walls,” which include a piece of backlit onyx in the center, as well as different metal-based fixtures including wall coverings. The company also has built homes of varying designs and on lots of differing topography. “Suppliers and manufacturers are very creative these days,” Stadler says. “The number of things that you can put into a house is mind-blowing.”
Finding Their Way
Stadler’s interest in construction started in his childhood, when he assisted his father – a barber and insurance man who also owned and worked on commercial properties – in home addition and improvement projects. “We added to every house we had,” he says. “My dad was always tinkering.”
After graduating Brigham Young University in 1993 with a degree in construction management, Stadler worked for a few homebuilding companies before starting his own in 1995.
In addition to building homes, Stadler also co-owns two related companies: Stadler Commercial, which builds commercial properties such as churches, warehouses and professional offices; and Stadler Latham Development, which owns and develops residential land around San Antonio.
Like many in homebuilding and construction, Stadler’s business was affected by the housing downturn and recession of 2008 and 2009. The company’s commercial business and willingness to expand its offerings guided it through the worst of the downturn, Stadler says.
“We never had less than eight homes under construction, even during the recession,” he adds. “When the economy turned, we asked ourselves how we could adjust to the market or find new ways to make revenue.”
One way the company met the needs of the market was to build a wedding facility, The Lodge at Bridal Veil Falls, on the Cascada property. The facility attracts more than 20,000 visitors per year.
In addition to their construction and development work, Stadler and his employees stay busy in the community by contributing their time to a variety of local organizations and causes. These include the San Antonio Food Bank, American Diabetes Association, MS Society and various other women’s and children’s groups. “We want to be good citizens in our community and give back to those who give to us,” Stadler says.