A best practice for Lifestyle Homes has been to connect with homeowners on a deep level.
When homebuilder and design veterans Steve and Lora Overweg founded Lifestyle Homes in 2016, the husband-and-wife team took on their biggest design/build project ever. Four years into building 36 condominium units in 18 buildings in the Quincy Meadows neighborhood in Holland, Mich., the Overweg’s definition of success has evolved and turned into a new best practice to follow moving forward.
“It’s been a greater success than we could have imagined in ways we didn’t expect. [That] is what we are starting to see now that we are almost finished,” Lora Overweg says. “People want to connect and know that we see them and make them feel relevant. When you are in the middle of building and doing everything you can to get the work done, you forget to look back at what it is you’re accomplishing.”
Lifestyle Homes has found its best practice in homebuilding and design is connecting with homeowners on a deeper level and building more value than numbers on a spreadsheet. “Success will come from the relationships we build with others,” Overweg says. “I realized that more and more, and maybe partly because we are older that we see that. It was something we didn’t really look for and part of what we didn’t expect to be a success to us. Ultimately, it was what we prayed for. I feel we all desire to be a blessing to others in some way.”
Lora Overweg has more than 15 years of interior decorating experience and says her niche is crafting a client’s personal style and integrating their own décor. “Every unit in Quincy Meadows has its own features,” she adds.
While it would have been easier for Lifestyle Homes to create cookie-cutter units, the Overwegs are hands-on with their clients during the design process. Lora Overweg will even go to clients’ existing homes before they sell it to see their decorating style. “It’s funny how you see a client drawn to a certain feel and look and not another,” she notes. “It’s been interesting to see that dynamic happen.”
Quincy Meadows is attracting a range of buyers, from first-time buyers to retirees who are downsizing. The deepest connections the Overwegs have made with its Quincy Meadows clients are women making a first-time purchase without a spouse. “It was difficult for them,” Lora Overweg remembers. “I think the level of trust they had with us really inspired them to make a move that was significant in their life.”
Homebuyer Carol Rase, for example, says Steve Overweg’s experience as a professional builder was one of the reasons she purchased a condo in Quincy Meadows. “Steve’s highly skilled professional experience in design and architecture provided me generous and spacious living with my affordable senior budget,” she adds. “I feel very much at home here and Steve’s wife, Lora, with her professional interior decorating experience, cheerfully went out on a limb to assist me with difficult decisions such as colors, window treatments and kitchen layout and décor.”
Residents are developing their own bonds and creating a community within Quincy Meadows, hosting regular events such as potlucks, holiday parties and garage sales to get to know each other. “There are friendships being built there and I’ll forever have friendships with them,” Overweg says. “They are often inviting me over for wine and decorating tips. They tell me as soon as I’m done with construction to come back over to fine tune their décor and I’m looking forward to that.”
Homeowners Dan and Pam Biederstedt say Lifestyle Homes met or exceeded their expectations every step of the way. “We know that to accomplish what [they] did for us requires extra hard work and many sacrifices on [their] part,” they added. “The buck doesn’t stop here. [They] have become part of our family.”
Prior to Quincy Meadows and Lifestyle Homes, Steve Overweg owned and managed Overweg Construction Inc., a contractor that has completed more than 900 homes, but this is the first time the couple has gotten really close to its clients. “We have enjoyed building individual homes in the past, but building an entire community gave us a different experience of fulfillment,” Lora Overweg says.
Juggling the Demands
Each Quincy Meadows unit is built with quality in mind. “With Steve’s framing background, there is a lot of experience behind the drywall,” Overweg says. “He makes sure we are using top quality materials to be sure the home is solid structurally.”
Although Lifestyle Homes self-performs framing, it works with a number of specialty contractors on other aspects of its projects. “All of our subcontractors and vendors who are working with us are trusted professionals that are dedicated to quality and contributed to the success of the project in many ways,” Overweg notes.
Lifestyle Homes’ realtor Lori Jurries has worked tirelessly on introducing clients to Quincy Meadows. “Her personal commitment to her profession and this project is outstanding,” Overweg says. Lifestyle Homes says Quincy Meadows has sold faster than it had expected.
In 2018, Steve Overweg says he stopped work as a framing contractor to focus full-time on Quincy Meadows. “Sales were steady and required all of my attention to keep the project moving smoothly,” he adds. The Overwegs say they have poured themselves into this project and there is not a clear line between their business and personal life.
“We infused our passion for quality with our belief in the value of what we are doing. We had a level of trust this was going to grow and we never stopped building,” Lora Overweg says. “We have never been about seeing what others are doing, but how we could be our personal best and authentic to ourselves and that’s something clients saw in us, too.”
Lifestyle Homes expects to complete Quincy Meadows in 2020 and plans to return to building personal homes. “I’m excited to stick to simpler projects, but am proud we kept our commitment to ourselves to create our vision,” Overweg concludes. “We feel incredibly blessed for the opportunities to provide a service for our clients and all of the partners that have worked with us to make this goal a reality.”