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Matt Sitra Custom Homes THE HEART OF TEXAS

For Matt Sitra Custom Homes, which specializes in large family homes in the Austin area, the phrase “deep in the heart of Texas” has both personal and business connotations.

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by Joan Tupponce

or Matt Sitra, the phrase “deep in the heart of Texas” has both a personal and business connotation. A third generation Austinite, Sitra heads Matt Sitra Custom Homes, a company that specializes in building projects in and around the Austin area. Sitra’s interest in home building dates back to his college days when he worked in the construction industry during summer breaks. After graduating from the University of Texas in 1996, he was a top producing superintendent for a production home building company in Austin for over two years. “I was their number one guy in the field, overseeing 35 to 40 home sites,” he says. In 2000, Sitra decided to open his own business, starting with one spec house. Today, he is a sought-after custom builder, building homes that range in price from $750,000 up to $2.5 million. “Our bread-and-butter projects now run around 4,000 to 5,000 square feet,” he said. “I don’t think too many people are going to be building 6,000 to 10,000 sq. ft. houses any more, at least that seems to be the trending pattern for the next cycle.” all photos coutesey of Matt Sitra Custom Homes 4 Architecture ConstructionLeaders LeadersToday Today


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Matt Sitr a Homes th Custom rives

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Since opening his business, Sitra has concentrated on building homes in Austin and the surrounding areas as well as in South Texas. When he first started, the city of Austin was on the tail end of a growth boom. “By the time you could pour the foundation on a spec house, it would sell,” he says. A savvy businessman, Sitra wasn’t lured into thinking that the building boom would last forever. He built the one spec house and then waited to see how the marketplace would play out. At the same time, he looked for a bank that shared his conservative mindset and found Frost National Bank in Austin. “That’s why we only did one spec house,” Sitra said. “Now I’m really glad we didn’t stray off the path. I’m glad I was conservative.” Sitra’s business today consists of custom home building, 6 Architecture ConstructionLeaders LeadersToday Today


We have been building a

strong core and good loyal customers...

Honesty

&

remodeling and some light commercial building. Custom homes account for 65 percent of his business. The remaining work is divided between remodeling projects – 30 percent – and light commercial, representing 5 percent of the business. “We have done only four spec homes in the past 10 years,” Sitra said. Styles of his custom homes run the gamut, from Texas Hill Country ranchers to Mediterranean designs. “I try not to brand myself to any specific style,” Sitra said. Texas Hill Country homes have been extremely popular with Sitra’s customers for some time. The warm, inviting designs feature expansive porches, exposed timbers and detailed rock work. “That was a big fad in Austin for a while,” Sitra said. Today many homeowners favor the warm earth tones featured in his Tuscan designs or homes that carry more traditional features. Sitra has built his business through networking and word-

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Integrity...

that goes a long

custom home

way.

of-mouth endorsements from satisfied customers. He sees his company’s growth as managed and steady. “We have been building a strong core and good loyal customers,” he said, noting that he has built his reputation on honesty and integrity. “That goes a long way.” He feels fortunate in the current economy that his business has remained steady. “Things are picking up and we are staying busy,” Sitra said. “Right now, we are inundated. “We are tying to get proposals out which is a nice problem to have.” When it comes to dealing with the economy, Sitra resorts to a philosophy he’s followed for most of his life: You have to deal with the hand you are dealt and make the most of it. “I have always had that attitude,” he said. “You have to do what you have to do to get the job done.” He credits the company’s stability in these tough economic Summer 2010 7


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times to its diverse portfolio of services. “We haven’t switched gears too much as a result of the economy,” Sitra said, noting that in the past his remodeling projects usually run $200,000 and up. “We have started looking at some smaller remodels, from $30,000 up. It’s hard to compete in the lower dollar level though because your pricing has to be competitive with the handyman that comes in and bids.” Sitra’s remodeling projects have included second-story additions and kitchen and master bath remodels. “We 8 Construction Construction Leaders Leaders Today Today

do a little bit of everything,” he said. “It all depends on the client. We do anything we can to keep the customer happy.” His customers remain loyal because they value the personal attention they receive from Sitra. “I am available to my clients, easily accessible,” he explained. “One of my top priorities is communicating with homeowners.” Even though he has a project manager on staff, Sitra still goes to job sites two to three days a week. “We keep them immaculate,” he said. “We always have

professional job sites.” He is also very proud that vendors, sub-contractors, clients and homeowner representatives know, by his reputation, that he is a man of his word – he will do exactly what he says he will do. “I try to treat each person with respect and honesty,” he said. For Sitra, the fun comes in watching each project evolve and develop. “I like seeing a raw piece of land turn into a finished product that is something I am proud of at the end.” ALT


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We do a

little bit of everything. it all depends

on the client. We do anything we can

to keep the customer happy.

Summer 2010 9 2010 9


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Matt Sitra Custom Homes