The year was 1972. Don McLean’s “American Pie” topped the Billboard charts, “The Godfather” made big-screen history, Billie Jean King won her seventh Wimbledon Tennis championship, and George Parmer founded Fine Line Homes in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. In the 45 years since, American Pie still enjoys significant airplay, The Godfather remains one of the top-rated movies of all time, Billie Jean King’s impact on gender equality in professional sports can still be felt, and thousands of Pennsylvania and New York families come home to a house built by Fine Line Homes.
Such enduring legacies are neither accidental nor “good fortune.” Fine Line Homes has not merely survived, but thrived, for multiple generations in part because home building is a process, which Fine Line Homes has honed to near perfection. Then there are standards, such as name-brand building products. Yet it may be the company’s cornerstones of quality and integrity that laid the foundation for success, according to Mark Bittner, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing.
“Under Mr. Parmer’s leadership, Fine Line Homes has grown to now serve all of Central and Northeast Pennsylvania as well as Southern New York,” said Bittner, continuing, “The company, and the homes we build, have evolved, but our ‘customer-first’ commitment is unwavering.”
Recently, Fine Line Homes’ customers Barbara and Jim Scheifley were interviewed in the Williamsport Sun-Gazette regarding their new home. Jim was quoted as saying, “They [Fine Line Homes] are very honest with you and there were no hidden prices.” And, “Their standard construction options are what other builders offer as extras.” Even the article headline, “On Budget and On Time,” attests to the company’s focus on the customer.
Each of Fine Line Homes’ regional offices (Harrisburg, Lewisburg, State College, Hazleton, and Sayre) has a different model home built for prospective home buyers to tour. There, they’ll meet with one of Fine Line Homes’ Housing Consultants who will help them through the home design, product selections, and purchase processes. Bittner practically brags on the Housing Consultants, “The majority have been with Fine Line Homes for more than 10 years. They know the homes, they know the products, they know the process. They know what can and can’t be done. Their knowledge is a tremendous value for our customers.”
Bittner says “Our home designs have evolved, based on customer feedback and input from Design Basics through their Woman-Centric Matters!® research into women’s preferences in the home. Our plans are more open and inviting, with larger kitchens and pantries, places to work from home, and more spacious bathrooms as well as enviable owner’s suites. Yet square footages have remained fairly constant over the past decade.” How? Most of today’s Fine Line Homes’ buyers favor one eating area as opposed to the formal dining room plus separate breakfast area layout, so the space formerly devoted to formal dining can be re-allocated. Similarly, a high majority of the company’s customers are choosing an oversized shower and dual sinks, but no bathtub in the owner’s bathroom.
Read the full feature story about Fine Line Homes by clicking here.
Nothing says more about a builder than the homes the company builds. Your homes communicate what you believe is important and what [you perceive] buyers want and value. Some aspects are obvious to prospective buyers; others are “hidden assets” buyers might overlook or not notice at all. That’s where your stories regarding those hidden assets can powerfully influence the buying decision. But ultimately, whether or not the home sells is based on the stories prospects tell themselves.
We’ll use Design Basics’ new Beckley Place (42348) home plan to illustrate. The eclectic exterior incorporates shake and horizontal siding plus stone accents. A combination of composite shingles and metal roofing, carriage-style garage doors, shuttered windows, and a covered front porch create a façade that’s new and distinctive. The volume entry foyer is wide and inviting, while the flex room to the left presents a great opportunity to stir the buyer’s emotions. Simply asking “How would you use this space?” will help you identify your prospect’s priorities. As designed, it might be an ideal parlor, music room, or sunroom. But if a craft room or home office is what the buyers have in mind, closing the space off with double doors can provide desired privacy. Just beyond, the staircase landing presents a window seat flanked by built-in shelving. Explaining that the window is both aesthetic and a safety issue (better lighting in the staircase), and that a split staircase, such as this design, reduces fall danger and serious injury, can help your buyers appreciate such an amenity. Some buyers might place books on the shelves; others may display nick-knacks that bring a smile every time she passes by them!
Drop zone stories tend to center around de-cluttering the kitchen; parents recognize the desirability of lockers for organizing their kids’ stuff; and, a bench by the lockers is great for removing shoes. A planning desk is also shown in this space, which could be repurposed as a coat closet or bulk item storage if preferred. A covered patio means your outdoor plans need not be cancelled due to rain, and the corner location offers added privacy as well as making this space more pleasurable on windy days.
The garage is wonderfully sized for active households, including the extra-deep outside bay, which is ideal for backing a boat into or perhaps a collector car. The generous storage area presents workshop opportunities or organization that eliminates the “trek-around-the-bikes-and-garden equipment” routine. Explaining it in this way triggers related memories!
Buyer hot-button issues continue upstairs, starting with the owner’s suite. Three transom windows over the likely headboard wall are a visual delight. The combined shower/bathing area is trending upward and if your hopeful buyers aren’t “tub people,” the bathtub could be omitted and that space given over to an even larger walk-in closet. Because most of us disrobe in the bathroom, a door from the owner’s bath to the laundry room eliminates steps, and there is room between the laundry sink and dryer for a hamper/clothes basket. This is another one of those stories buyers rehearse when they’re contemplating their new home purchase with you. Two sinks AND separate vanities for the compartmentalized hall bath is a great way to reduce conflict, especially when teens are in a hurry. While some buyers love the spaciousness of a two-story entry, others see this as “wasted space.” For those individuals, suggesting this space could be finished and turned into a walk-in closet for bedroom #2 or hall cedar closet or open study area may help turn prospects into customers!
Search our library of home plans here.
Whether it’s a big family meal or formal dinner party, keeping food hot while you’re trying to get everyone around the table has long been a challenge. Viking Range has come up with a delicious solution with their 18-inch wide under-counter Incogneeto™ Induction Warmer that mounts directly under your stone or engineered stone countertop, transforming that portion of your countertop into a food warmer. The Incogneeto works with cookware that has an induction compatible base and features Automatic Pan Detection so there is no heating when the pan or bakeware is not present. Viking claims the Incogneeto can hold food to within +/- 2° F and has four temperature settings: 150°, 160°, 175°, and 190°. Best of all, the unit mounts underneath your counter with no drilling or cutting of the stone needed!
For more information, visit: www.vikingrange.com
(Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.)
It’s just common sense, there’s a reason every time you wash your hands. Yet prior to each wash, you’re grabbing the faucet handle – that collector for all of the previous bacteria and germs you needed to wash off! Auto grease…raw fish and poultry…chemicals…what residue has built up on your bathroom and kitchen faucet handles? Touch-activated faucets to the rescue, such as Delta’s models with their Touch20® Technology. Simply touch anywhere on the faucet spout or handle to turn on and off. The faucet will deliver the same settings (flow rate and temperature) as the previous use. Powered by six AA or six C batteries, LEDs around the base flash red to indicate low battery; or choose the optional AC adaptor.
For more information on touch-free faucets, visit: www.deltafaucet.com.
Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes; we do not formally endorse any product or service.
What do you like best about working with Design Basics?
Design Basics has been a part of my life for a long time. I have met a lot of life-long friends over the years and we currently have a great group to be a part of.
What made you decide to become a designer?
I have been in drafting classes from 7th grade through high school. I felt this was what I was meant to do up until my senior year. I was very active with my church at that time and at the last minute I decided to go to a Bible College to become a youth minister. During my second year there, I really missed drafting and designing and made the decision to come back to Omaha to study at the University of Nebraska – Omaha.
What do you find is most fulfilling about working with our customers?
I love working with people and love designing houses. I am in a great position. I find that the excitement I see in my clients after I walk them through their final plans is the most fulfillment you can get out of a job well-done.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What is spare time? Ha-ha! Every bit of spare time I find is spent with my family. I tend to work so much that I cherish the time I can get away with them. We enjoy going to the UNO Lancer hockey games and the Omaha Storm Chasers baseball games.
You hold a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. What do you enjoy most about it and do you still actively practice the discipline?
Unfortunately I don’t get to work out any more, but I still have a family in the martial arts that greet me with open arms when I get the chance to see them. The thing I liked most about training is teaching as I love being able share the tremendous information I have been taught.
Your son plays hockey and you host hockey players. What sparked your interest in the sport?
Jena [my wife] and I started going to Lancer games in the early 90’s. Neither of us had played the sport, but met a lot of great people at the games and got hooked. One game we were at in 2000, the staff announced they needed host families to house some of the players. Christian [my son] was 4 at the time and since we couldn’t have any more children, we thought we would open our home to these young men. That same year Christian started skating and enjoying playing the game. We have had 24 players, including 4 Europeans, over the years, and keep in touch with all but one. Christian is now playing for Missouri State and we enjoy getting down to watch his games whenever we can.
Name three things someone might not know about you:
- I was blessed to be born with two spleens! I got in a bike accident when younger and needed to have one removed; the second spleen grew, so I didn’t need shots.
- I met Jena’s kidney donor 30 years ago and didn’t realize it until two years after the transplant.
- In 30 years of martial arts, my only broken nose was when I won a light-weight title and had to fight the heavy champ for a Grand Champion title.
Learn more about our Team on our Contact Us page.