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Built for Living


To Our Future Homeowner, Thank you for considering G&G Custom Homes for your next build. Our promise is to avoid the typical stresses that come along with the average custom home building process by providing you with G&G’s unique building experience. We will develop a close working relationship with you and guide you through the entire process, one step at a time. We believe a house should be a reflection of the people and the families that call it home. At G&G you will receive personalized service by working directly with me, Joe Garcia, owner of G&G. This is virtually unheard of in the custom home building industry. My goal is to provide you a memorable experience and a house you are proud to call your forever home. Your project will be memorable – and for all the right reasons! By limiting the number of homes we build each year, our time, my time, is devoted to you to assure you receive the attention you deserve throughout the entire process, from start to finish. Building a custom home can be intimidating and overwhelming. We aim to provide a peace of mind before, during, and after your custom home is built. G&G Custom Homes does not push or pressure you. Instead, we offer the education and resources you need to make informed decisions. Our team of both interior and exterior design experts are here to help. If you have plans, bring them! If you do not, we will work with you to create your perfect forever home, while still considering your budget and practical concerns. At G&G Custom Homes, we are committed to providing you a “Better Building Experience” through constant communication. By using BuilderTrend, an internet-based construction management platform you are always up to date on the progress of your home. When it’s all said and done, we stand by our philosophy - “We will not just hand over the keys and walk away; we look forward to building a long-lasting relationship with all our clients.” We want you to enjoy your home as much in one year and one decade as you do on the first day you take the keys. We offer a 10-year insured warranty to provide you reassurance as to the quality and durability of your home. I’m excited for the prospect of building a home that is a true reflection of you and your family, a house you are proud to call your forever home. We hope you will join our G&G Family. From our family to yours,

Joe Garcia Owner, G&G Custom Homes


From Our Family to Yours G&G HOMES 3


18 Details Matter G&G HOMES 4



Intro Letter From G&G


Meet Joe Garcia


Accolades & Awards FEATURED PROJECTS:


A Stellar Wine Cellar


Empty Nesters Build For Room to Grow


The Ultimate Home Builder’s Dream THE G&G PROCESS:


Building Your New Home: A Checklist


Budgeting: Details Matter


A Better Building Experience


A Warranty For Your Custom Home


Design Dreams Made Simple, Stress-Free


EnergyEfficient Home


Joe Garcia: FROM STEEL MILLS TO CUSTOM BUILDS by Christy Heitger-Ewing / photo by Brian Brosmer

Though Joe Garcia was born in Spain, he moved to the Hoosier state when he was just three weeks old.

THE GARCIA FAMILY: (left to right) Gabe, Joe, Mindy and

“I like to tell people that I was made in the USA but born in Spain,” says Garcia, who grew up in northwest Indiana. He graduated from Purdue University, then worked for seven years at U.S. Steel in Gary, Indiana., before relocating to Indianapolis in 2001. He was working at Eli Lilly when he decided to build himself a house.

Christian with dogs Quincy and Moose.

“My background is in engineering but I’ve always managed projects and people,” Garcia says. “At the steel mills, I was managing the mechanical and electrical guys, as well as production and maintenance. Building a house was no different. It was all about getting the right people to do the right thing at the right time.” Joe was working at Lilly when he met his wife Mindy, a Realtor. In 2003, the pair launched G&G Custom Homes (her maiden name began with a G). The couple now has two sons: Christian (12) and Gabe (10). “I love the sense of accomplishment I get knowing that I’m building a family’s dream home,” says Garcia, who builds 10-12 homes a year so as to never sacrifice quality workmanship or quality time with his family. When he first started this company, Garcia asked friends to share their “building horror stories” so he knew what to avoid doing. The issues typically revolved around two things: 1) the homeowner being promised that the home would be finished by Date X and not delivering on that promise, and 2) getting hit during closing with a gigantic change order bill. To avoid such headaches, Garcia sets upfront expectations. “I start by asking people what they’re looking for,” Garcia says. “Then I price that all into the budget so there are no surprises.” BuilderTREND, our web-based communication tool, enables homeowners to track selections and spending online as well as access their schedule and budget. They can also review their portfolio throughout the building process. Even though we employ a superintendent and designer, Garcia remains the main point of contact for homeowners, offering his own brand of TLC.

“I build every house like I’m building it for my family.” – JOE GARCIA Owner, G & G Homes G&G HOMES 6

Accolades & Awards Na t i o n al A sso ci ati o n o f Ho me Bu ild e rs (NAHB)

Ce r t if ie d G re e n Pro fe ssi o n a l Gra duate M as te r B u i l d e r Ce r t if ie d G ra du a te B u i l d e r Mas te r Ce r t if ie d G re e n Pro fe ssi o n a l

Bu i ld e r s Asso ci ati o n o f Greater Ind ia na p olis

201 0 B AG I Es pri t D e Co rp s 201 2 B AG I B uild e r o f t h e Yea r 201 2 Hamil to n Co u n ty B u i l d e r o f t h e Year 201 4 BAG I B oard Pre si d e n t 201 2-201 7 B AG I B oa rd o f D i re c to rs

BAG I a n d Fi rst I n tern et B ank Home-A-R a ma

“We are IN residents that wanted to build a Frank Lloyd Wright style of home with a good experience. From our very first meeting with Joe, we knew that he could bring our vision to life. We would recommend Joe to anyone, he is fantastic to work with!” Kate B. 201 4 H o m e -A-Ra m a Pe o p l e s’ C h o i ce Wi nn e r 201 6 Ho m e -A-Ra m a Pe o p l e s’ C h o i ce Wi nn e r

B e s t o f Houzz

“We could not be happier with our new home. We met with several builders but Joe really got our vision. Joe made the process easier, and was always available to answer questions, and provide guidance. The finished product is stunning!” - Mary

“Joe and his team go above and beyond the average builder. We have built several homes and the home Joe built for us was far superior than our previous homes. He is very organized and on time with his projects along with very high quality work. I would highly recommend Joe and his team.” - Theo



Building Your New Home A CHECKLIST

Building a custom home can be stressful: there are so many decisions to make, factors to consider, and steps to take when you want your home built for living. At G&G Custom Homes, we help you take those steps one at a time. They say the journey of 1000 miles starts with a single step: once you take the first, the second is easier, and third easier still. Here is a quick custom home build checklist to help you get your mind wrapped around the process.


BUILD A BUDGET Track income and expenditures. Get your finances in order. While this is your dream house, going beyond budgetary constraints can quickly become a nightmare. Check your credit reports. You get three free credit reports per year: use them! Check that they are accurate and up-to-date. Any erroneous entries? Get them cleared up. Clear up any outstanding debts. It might be a doctor’s bill languishing on the kitchen counter, or even a small credit card bill we thought was behind us. Check your credit report for any outstanding debts and pay them off to boost your credit score. Gather key documents. Lenders need to see income statements, bank records, retirement account statements, and proof of other assets so they can mitigate their risk - and give you the loan amount you need. Determine down payment. Banks usually require a 20 - 25% down payment for custom home builds. Budget this in, save, and if you can, put down even more to enhance your loan terms and monthly payment structures.

CLARIFY YOUR VISION Find inspiration. Scour sites like Pinterest and Houzz, as well as magazines like Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and Better Homes & Gardens for ideas. Get those creative juices flowing! Determine the features that matter most. Think big and make a list! Do you want a single level or multiple stories? A finished basement with a custom bar? Four bedrooms and three baths? An open floor plan or dual staircases? A game room? An expansive kitchen? Decide what features will best accommodate your lifestyle and make your house your dream home. Create a vision board. Using Pinterest, a digital solution, or a good old-fashioned pinboard, clip your favorite style and architectural elements into a vision board. When you find the right custom home builder, you can share these ideas to jumpstart a conversation.

APPROACH LENDERS Interview potential lenders. Inquire with local banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. Ask the right questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions: how does the process work? What will my loan terms be? Can I get funding to cover construction and then roll it over into a long-term loan? What are the differences in interest rates and terms for construction vs. permanent loans? If you don’t understand something, ask again! Lenders should be clear and forthcoming. Make your financing decision. Don’t let interest rates be the sole deciding factor. Consider other fees and costs, the ease of the process with lenders, etc. Get pre-approved. Now you know the ballpark you can shop in when it comes to purchasing land and drawing up plans for your custom home.

FIND THE RIGHT CUSTOM HOME BUILDER AND TEAM Do your homework. Research builders that belong to the Builders Association of Greater Indianapolis and/or the Building Partners of Central Indiana. They must meet specific criteria for membership; this gives you reassurance that they meet or exceed industry standards. Vet potential builders. Just as with lenders, you want to make sure to ask the right questions. How long has the builder been in business? What do online reviews and ratings say? What do past clients say? Can you look at a model or in-process build: how is the craftsmanship and material quality? The right fit is essential. Start with a conversation. Discuss your ideas and vision with your builder. They should listen intently and, while honoring your vision, help you make decisions that align with your budget. Create a game plan. What’s next? Go through the steps of the process from design to completion with your builder and make sure you are clear on expectations and deliverables.

LOOK AT LOCATIONS Look at lifestyle factors. Do you want to live in an urban, suburban, or rural area? Are you looking for a certain style in a developed neighborhood? Do you want a large lot with lots of trees? A sunny space to grow a garden or to maximize natural light in your design? Look at the practicalities. If the lot is not developed, how easy will it be to install utilities? Will you be able to access municipal water/sewer, or do you need to install a well or septic system? Are the amenities (schools, medical centers, restaurants, shops, transportation, your job, etc.) you want and need close by? Evaluate the geography/terrain. Some terrains make it more time-consuming and costlier to build (e.g. a steep ridge). You also want to have a survey done and ensure the soil is tested. Walk Through with Your Builder. It can be difficult to assess the nuances of a piece of land. Have your builder walk through with you so they can give you an idea of the benefits and potential downsides of building there. Will you have to adjust your design? Should you keep looking? Is it the perfect spot? They can help you answer these questions. G&G HOMES 10



Finalize design and sign the contract. Your vision has been translated to working drawings. Estimates and budget are complete and you are ready to break ground. Review your contractual agreement carefully before signing.

Take a walk-through. When your home is complete and your builder obtains a Certificate of Occupancy, they will take you on a walk-through. If you have any final questions, now is the time to ask!

Pay your deposit. Typically, deposits are nonrefundable; your builder will then prepare working drawings and start lining up subcontractors.

Sign closing papers. Sign on the dotted line and get your keys. You’re almost home!

Understand your responsibilities and those of the builder. Stay in touch with the builder during the process: this is your home. If something concerns you or you have questions, contact your point person immediately. They should be happy to walk you through the issue. Make decisions (light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc.) in a timely manner so work can proceed smoothly. Your builder will handle insurance, subcontractor supervision, permits, inspections, and, of course, building your home! Know the process for change orders. Changes in your design can delay your project and add on costs. Ask your builder how they handle these changes and what your role is.

Enjoy. While you still have moving in to contend with, the project is done! Now is the time to savor your custom-built home and begin filling it with life and happy memories.

Your custom home should be a reflection of you and your family, and that starts by knowing what to expect from the process. The process can seem daunting, but the team at G&G Custom Homes is happy to talk about your specific needs and concerns. Schedule a free consultation with us to have all your questions about the custom home building process answered. G&G HOMES 11


A Stellar Wine Cellar by Christy Heitger-Ewing / photos by Leah Tribbett

At his previous home, Jay Jaffe had a wine cellar that was 18 feet deep and 6 feet wide, with racks on both sides. Though the space was utilitarian in terms of storing bottles, making space for people was a different story. “There was no room for anyone to congregate. I’d have a party, and six or seven people would stand in the aisle with nowhere to sit or move,” recalls Jaffe. So, when he built his new home with Joe Garcia and G&G Custom Homes, he designed a wine cellar that was spacious enough so guests could comfortably hang out or even enjoy a meal. The G&G team worked with Jaffe to incorporate everything the owner wanted, including the space necessary to hold


wine glasses, magazines, corks, and other accessories. “We love coming up with unique ideas that we have either not done before or can tweak to make it their own based on how [the owner] lives,” says Garcia. “That’s the great thing about building custom homes. Every house, every person is different so it’s nice to come up with something new that fits their needs and lifestyle.” Jaffe is pleased not only with the quality craftsmanship of the project but also with the constant communication between himself and Garcia, as well as the work of our crew. “Joe is very accountable. Even if something happens during building that’s not his mistake, he’ll fix it,” says Jaffe. “I have the best team in the business. I am only as good as the team I have with me,” adds Garcia.



Empty Nesters Build FOR ROOM TO GROW by Christy Heitger-Ewing / photos by Leah Tribbett


EMPTY NESTERS Merilee and Tom Klootwyk decided to build their new home based on lifestyle, rather than just a traditional downsizing. The result is a unique home perfect for making new family memories.

Joe Garcia, owner of G&G Custom Homes has witnessed a trend in home building as homeowners design houses to suit their lifestyle. “I have clients who are technically ‘empty nesters,’ but they don’t want to build a typical ‘empty-nester home,’” says Joe. Such was the case for Merilee and Tom Klootwyk, who hired us to build a home in Westfield’s Chatham Hills. Though the couple originally planned to downsize, it soon became clear that they wanted ample space to hold their growing family. “We wanted to be able to host everyone for holidays,” says Merilee. Their oldest daughter is married with a one-year-old son. Their second daughter is engaged, and their youngest daughter likes coming home on college breaks and inviting friends over. “At first, we questioned if we were doing the right thing, adding square footage. In the end, we absolutely did,” says Merilee. They also made sure to design a home they could age into. So, the master suite is on the first floor with a reading room adjacent to the bedroom. The family’s favorite features of the home include the outdoor living area, complete with heaters for chilly evenings, and the kitchen’s “snug” – a booth that resembles the kind you’d find at a diner. Merilee admits that initially they were nervous about moving out of their home of 23 years. “We made many great memories there, but it’s amazing how quickly this place became home,” she says. “Now we’re making new memories here!” G&G HOMES 15


The Ultimate HOME BUILDER’S DREAM by Christy Heitger-Ewing

When G&G Custom Homes decided to participate in the 2016 Home-A-Rama in Westfield’s newest custom community called Chatham Hills, we determined it was a risk worth taking because of the growth potential of the area. With the completion of U.S. 31 and the growth in the area, G&G Custom Homes became the first builder to break ground and complete a home in the community. “We typically build homes on contract, but we recognized the opportunity to be a part of this unique community in Westfield,” says Joe Garcia, owner of G&G Custom Homes. More than 15,000 people toured the home in three weeks and voted it the “Best of Show”. The exterior of the 6,500 square-foot home is described G&G HOMES 16

as the American Craftsman Style or American Arts and Crafts movement, which offers a wide variety of related but conceptually distinct European design movements that were developed out of the British Arts and Crafts movement going on since the 1860s. This inspired the interior design elements of the home that reflects a modern-meets-rustic look. The home certainly provides that wow factor with unique design elements throughout. Wood beams used in the main floor ceiling and fireplace as well as the sliding barn doors and booth in the brew house-themed basement were salvaged from a 149-year-old barn that helped create the rustic theme throughout the award-winning home. The 4-car garage is heated and includes a basketball hoop and

a climbing wall to extend the theme that this home is about a big family that loves to entertain. The covered patio offers additional living space with a grill, sink, refrigerator, TV, and plenty of space to relax. “This house essentially has a full menu of options offered by G&G that clients can select and pick the elements that work best in their budget,” Garcia says. Garcia noted the community is still taking shape and only about 15 percent complete with many more amenities being planned. G&G focuses on unique design elements that complement the needs and dreams of each homeowner. We are ready to assist you in building your ideal custom home.

“This house essentially has a full menu of options offered by G&G that clients can select and pick the elements that work best in their budget.” – JOE GARCIA Owner, G & G Homes

Before and after of the Sea Star kitchen remodel on Geist Reservoir.



Details Matter: CUSTOM HOME BUDGETING Budgeting can be one of the most difficult aspects of the custom home building process to wrap your mind around. The big “chunks” can be relatively easier: the land, the layout and size. But what about the details? These are what make a house a home – your home. Let’s take a look at how finer details can influence your budget and determine costs. Your Dream, From the Ground Up

When you build a custom home, you are in control of every aspect that goes into it – given the constraints of your land and budget, that is! You can opt for simple products (standard doors, faucets, lighting fixtures, etc..), or upgrade to elements that are high-end, integrate smart technologies, or are custom designed. Listing every single detail that could potentially go into a home would be impossible in one article. From smart appliances and automated window treatments, to crown molding and architectural features, the possibilities can be endless. For each detail and possibility, the cost can range tremendously. The key is to balance the aesthetic and functionality with the quality you desire and align that with your budget. Consider that your front door might cost a few hundred dollars for a simple yet classic choice, or closer to $30,000 for a high impact, attention grabbing masterpiece. With windows, costs increase for premium materials,


non-standard and large sizes, and more complex features such as bay windows. A high-end flooring project could potentially add tens of thousands of dollars depending on selection, or you might decide to save money with a quality yet budget-friendly option. It is also important to consider the details you must have (e.g. “I really want an oversized pivot entry door!” Or “I must have a cozy reading nook with a fireplace!”) versus those you can live without. Be sure to keep those must haves on your list from day one. If having a smart home is important, you will save money by including that upfront in the design phase, rather than as an afterthought once the home is being built. To get an idea of how much you should budget for the finer details of your custom build, talk to your builder. They’re your partner in this process, so be upfront with all of your wants and desires. Be wary of a builder who doesn’t ask questions to understand your expectations before pricing your home. Also, inquire if they have any in-process builds you can visit so you can compare the details in these homes to your vision and have a conversation with your builder about costs. Your builder is an essential piece of the budgeting puzzle: they will have ideas for “cost engineering” so you achieve the look, feel, quality, durability, and convenience you want. We’ve created a Budget Calculator to help educate you on how the numbers typically break down, as well as provide some flexibility for you to prioritize the finishes that are most important to you. Check out the calculator at



A Better Building Experience WITH BUILDERTREND At G&G Custom Homes, our aim is to deliver a better building experience. Designing, planning, and constructing your forever home shouldn’t be a stressful process, full of headaches and hassle. We ensure that it is streamlined, engaging, and positive every step of the way. One of the ways we accomplish this is with BuilderTrend. What is it, and how does it work for you?

provide the highest level of personalized service. We’re your team, and you can call on us whenever you need to. To supplement your experience and add the convenience of 24/7 access to your project information, we offer BuilderTrend.

BuilderTrend: An Important Tool of the Trade

• Access the building schedule for your home. You’ll see your project’s current status, as well as reminders of important dates and upcoming events.

During typical custom home builds, homeowners are often stressed, frustrated, and overwhelmed. What decisions do I have left to make? How much of my budget is unexpended? When is electrical work going to start? When are the window and door installers coming? What’s going on with my house right now? I need to approve a change order - do I have to drive all the way to G&G to sign? G&G works with only a select number of homeowners each year in order to G&G HOMES 20

This web-based service allows you to:

• See photos of your project’s progress. If you can’t get to the job site, we’ll bring it to you! You can also easily share this customized photo gallery with your friends and family. • Track your spending and even categorize expenses to keep your budget on track.

• Access important documents (e.g. warranty information, green building certifications, etc.). • View and approve change orders. Message us — anytime, from anywhere. With BuilderTrend and G&G Custom Homes, you get your very own secure website to track the progress of your project. You are always welcome and encouraged to contact our team via phone, email, or a visit! And, since you will be working directly with owner Joe Garcia, he is your dedicated go-to. The online platform gives you another way to stay up-to-date on your project. We want to build more than beautiful, efficient custom homes; we want to build lasting relationships with our valued clients. Building your custom home that is a reflection of you and your family is what we do. Delivering the best experience is how we do it.


A Warranty FOR YOUR CUSTOM HOME G&G Custom Homes knows how important your home is to you; this is why we stand behind our work and offer a rigorous warranty. Your Custom Home Warranty Your home is a significant investment. We hope it will be your forever home and a source of pride and joy for years, and decades, to come. To this end, G&G Custom Homes provides a 10-year insured warranty through Residential Warranty Corporation (RWC). RWC is one of the country’s leading providers of third-party insured home warranties, and they have a long track record of protecting millions of homeowners. They have maintained an Excellent rating by A.M. Best since 2001, and deliver unparalleled leadership and experience in this industry. G&G Custom Homes are built to last, and they are built to provide both efficiency and enjoyment for as long as you live there. Our 10-year home warranty is designed to provide you with extra peace of mind and security in terms of our professionalism, the quality of the materials and supplies we use, and the meticulous attention to detail throughout every phase of your project. Your custom home warranty will cover workmanship, materials, and systems such as windows, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. Peace of mind. It is what your home should provide you. Each of our custom-built homes is covered by a solid warranty, as well as our word that we’ve built each them with integrity, honesty, transparency, and skill. This is your dream home; accept nothing less.



Design Dreams MADE SIMPLE & STRESS-FREE by Courtney Walker Pope

Hilari Goris

In an exciting building market, we understand it can become overwhelming with the array of choices available to consumers. G&G Custom Homes simplifies those choices and alleviates stress by pairing every custom client with their Interior Design Selections Coordinator, Hilari Goris. Hilari is an expert at bringing the client’s dreams, Pinterest and Houzz boards to life! Let’s walk through the process with Hilari…

I begin working with the clients as soon as digging the foundation begins! We try to make sure every client has plenty of time to make those big decisions by staying on track with build deadlines To narrow in on our client’s style, we have them send any inspiration images they’ve collected and I find the correlation. We meet with vendors throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. At each meeting, clients can expect to receive drawings, material samples and picture packets to collect along the way. Each time we meet, their story begins to come together! The building process typically takes nine to ten months and I’m by their side for around eight of those months. Post closing, I typically continue to help clients with space planning, window treatments, furniture, art, and accessories. I love the building process, but also enjoy seeing them move in and making it all come together for the family.

When you choose to build with G&G Custom Homes, you have the expertise of Hilari and the entire G&G team dedicated to helping you build a home that is built for living.



Tips for Building A N E N E R G Y- E F F I C I E N T H O M E by Christy Heitger-Ewing 0



















When building a new home, energy efficiency is influenced by many factors. Homes are rated from 0 to 100 by using the HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index, so the little things add up. “Like a golf score, the lower the number, the better,” says Joe Garcia. “Inefficient older homes will be closer to 100 while Net Zero homes that don’t use any outside utilities come in at 0. Efficient homes fall into that 50-60 range.” The energy efficiency of insulation measures with an R-value. “You get higher

R-values with better insulation, which, in turn, gives you better utility values,” says Garcia. LED bulbs are 80 percent more efficient than standard light bulbs, and ENERGY STAR appliances use less electricity – and water in the case of washing machines and dishwashers. In addition, tankless, on-demand water heaters use 30-50 percent less energy. Homeowners are wise to choose Low-E, double-paned windows, which provide a 12 percent savings on the utility bill. Another smart choice, Garcia maintains, is the Geothermal HVAC system, as it uses energy stored in the ground

to heat and cool your home. Though this system is more money up front, it pays for itself over the life of the home. “I always tell people that if you’re willing to pay more for granite because of the look, consider paying more for these higher efficiency systems because you’ll start seeing your savings on a yearly basis,” says Garcia. These days, there are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient, and G&G is proud to help you incorporate them into your next custom home build. G&G HOMES 23

“We build homes for clients that want to avoid the stresses of an average custom home build. Our owner, Joe, believes a house should be a reflection of the people and families that call it home. By selecting only a limited number of homes to build each year, Joe develops a close working relationship with each family and works directly with them from start to finish. This provides a memorable experience and a house they are proud to call their forever home.�

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