Social Distancing or as we like to call it ‘Physical Distancing’ has raised a number of challenges for everyone. Fortunately, home building operations were deemed essential business during a ‘Shelter in Place’ order. We have adapted our processes to make sure we can continue to serve our customers and future customers. For some, home-buying can be a confusing process under normal circumstances so we wanted to explain what you can expect from Gerstad Builders from start to finish when it comes to Physical Distancing Procedures and Essential Operations.
Gerstad Builders Sales and Home-buying Counseling
- Our sales agents are still working normal hours, just remotely. If you fill out the ‘Contact Us’ form on our website. Tammy Olsen or Tom Roach will get in touch with you to discuss your interests, mortgage options, availability and many other questions you might have about building.
- Once you connect with one of our sales agents, they can start to advise you on your individual home buying experience. Home-buying experiences can take different shapes based on the needs of each individual, these are general guidelines meant to provide an outline on our adapted process.
- As you move forward, our sales agents can be available by email, phone, Zoom, or Facetime. On-site individual appointments are available.
- We will start correspondence via phone or email.
Gerstad Builders Model Tours and Option offering
- Gerstad Builders currently has eight 360 Virtual Tours Available and is anticipating another by the middle of May. Our sales staff can share all eight tours with you or you can find them individually posted on our Facebook page.
- Showcase videos are also available on our Facebook page. These 20-40 sec. videos give you a feeling of each of our individual models.
- Model Video Tours are also available by appointment. Let our sales staff walk you through one of our 3 model homes. We currently have 3 furnished models available for video tour; The Jackson and The Palmer are in McHenry, IL and our Bay View Model in Poplar Grove, IL. We recommend Zoom conferencing for our meetings but if you have another preferred video conferencing software please let our staff know and we will try to accommodate your meeting preference.
- In person meetings. Home-building and Home-buying are essential parts of the economy. Unfortunately, not all parts of our business can be done remotely because things often look different in person than they do online. For these in person appointments, we have established a general operating procedure that will be explained below.
To help clarify what appointments will need to be done in person and the procedures that will be followed, we have classified in person meetings as “Essential Operations”. These are appointments that need to be done in person due to the nature of the task as it relates to the construction or closing of your new home.
Essential Operation tasks are:
- Model Visits
- After contract color selections and option review
- Pre-closing Orientation
Gerstad Builders in person meetings
Pre-visit confirmation for all appointments. Our sales agent will perform the following tasks approximately 2 hours before your appointment
- We will confirm the status of your health
- Are you feeling ill?
- Have you or anyone in your home been in contact with someone who was known to be ill or sick?
- Has everyone attending today’s meeting checked their temperature?
- You may be asked these questions twice. Once over the phone and once on site.
- WIFI connections may not be available for all appointments.
Who can attend? Only people who are on the contract or plan to be on the contract are permitted to be in person.
- We encourage you to invite other decision makers to attend via your favorite video chatting service.
- Legally, we are not allowed to hold any appointments exceeding 4 people including our employees.
- If you are unfamiliar with video chatting or conferencing services let us know and we will be happy to point you in the right direction.
- Please learn how to use the video chatting service selected prior to our meeting and be sure to test it using a cellular data connection (turn off WIFI antenna when testing at home), WIFI connections may not be available for all appointments.
Facial protection WILL NOT be provided but is expected during the entire interaction.
- Due to the personal nature and supply shortages, we cannot supply every person with their own masks. Our staff will be supplied with their own masks and will be instructed that they are not allowed to conduct in person interactions without the use of a mask by both parties.
- Acceptable masks are anything that act as a barrier and prevents the distribution of respiratory particles and saliva from the mouth and nose; such as scarves, bandanas, dust masks, etc.
Protective gloves will be worn at all times and supplied.
- Gloves will be left at the door for you to put on or brought out to you.
- Please put on facial protection prior to putting on the gloves.
- Even though you are wearing protective covering we still ask that you avoid touching unnecessary items and ask that you ask us to show you instead.
6 foot distancing. We will keep our physical distance during our appointment.
- This may mean that in some rooms we will need to shuffle bodies around and only have 1 person in a room at a time.
Talking with our sales staff and getting price quotes
- Everyone goes from “just looking” to “I’m ready to move forward” at a different pace. We want to help you through this process.
- Getting in touch with us is easy.
- If you are working with a realtor, please notify us so we can be sure we are keeping the realtor involved.
I’m ready to submit a refundable deposit and sign a purchase agreement
- We will schedule a time for you to drop off your deposit. Our sales agents will provide you further details when we approach this step.
- Our sales staff will set up a screen sharing meeting where they will review each item of your purchase agreement. Some of our devices may not have video components for this meeting so you may only hear our voice.
- Like many, we are still learning some of the features of screen sharing software so please be patient as we work with the new normal.
Finalizing options/colors and general guidelines for model visits
- Options and color visits are something we will need to do in person. Please review the Essential Operations part of this article.
- Our sales staff will meet with you at our model in McHenry. We will escort you to our design center or around the model, asking that you let our staff open and close doors.
- Once in the design center, our staff will bring you selections.
- We are setting aside all selections that have been interacted with for cleaning after the appointment has been completed.
- We will have bathroom facilities available that are for customer use only. Bathrooms will be sanitized after each appointment.
- Additional follow up conversations will be encouraged via virtual settings.
The Construction Meeting
- An email invitation for a Zoom video conference will be sent to you prior to the construction meeting.
- Our warranty and production manager will be sharing your blueprint with a screen share and we will review the blueprint in tandem with the construction letter and color letter.
- Zoom has the ability to allow all participants to draw on the screen so this will be helpful if you have any questions.
- Who do you meet at the construction meeting and what is this meeting for.
- You will meet with your sales agent and our construction staff. Our intention is to make sure that we are planning to build what you have envisioned.
- We will go over every component that is involved with building your home while we do a final review of the blue print and explain the things you may need to know as a future homeowner.
- We will answer any construction related questions you may have regarding the construction of your new home.
- We will advise you of things you might not have thought of and things you may want to consider.
Color confirmation Appointment
- Following our construction meeting you will meet with your sales agents again to confirm that all colors were documented correctly and there are no additional changes.
- See section 5 on finalizing options/colors for how this appointment will go.
Your Pre-closing Orientation
- Much of this appointment will not need to change, if we follow the Essential Operations process. We can walk you through your home and explain how the different components work, explain and answer questions about your new home.
- Additionally, your sales person will send you a reminder list from the Essential Operations a day or two leading up to the Orientation.
- During “Shelter in place” we do not conduct warranty inspections, if special circumstances are needed they will be determined on a case by case basis. Emergency services as defined in our customer manual will be available.
- We will make up any missed inspections following the shelter in place order.
- Online warranty submissions can be received and our warranty email is checked daily, during business hours.
- We want to be here for you even if we cannot be there for you in person.