Meet our October Builder of the Month, Greg Ingersoll of Wausau Homes Elkhorn.
Greg Ingersoll, has been working in Southeastern Wisconsin for the past 3 decades. His experience spans all phases of building, remodeling, and land development, to managing condominiums in the prestigious Geneva National Golf Community in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
Get to know Greg on a more personal level with our Q&A.
How long have you been a Wausau Homes builder?
I signed on with Wausau Homes in January of 2017 and opened my Design Studio that May, so just about 2-1/2 years.
How did you get into the Home Building Business?
I started working in construction in 1984 as a junior in high school, during the summers and on weekends for an older gentleman who had been building homes for many years. He taught me “old school” building and craftsmanship skills and taught me how to take pride in my work. After 3 years of college I realized that the path I had chosen wasn’t a good fit for me. In 1990, I went back to working in the trades; initially for other builders as a framer then a trimmer and eventually went out on my own. I’ve had my own roofing business, a remodeling business, became known in the area as one of the best trim carpenters and even worked in the real estate appraisal business for a time. When the economy took a dive in 2008 and building came to a halt, I managed the building maintenance for 16 homeowners’ associations for a local, high-end golf community for four years. From there I was hired away to be the COO of a friend’s construction company in which we purchased foreclosed homes, gutted and rebuilt them for the rental market. In two years, I managed the building of 52 homes. When the foreclosure market dried up in 2015, I went back out on my own and started a remodeling company again. One year later, Wausau Homes began recruiting me to become their Walworth County builder.
Why did you choose to be a Wausau Homes builder?
It’s really a story of being obedient to where God was leading me and watching Him miraculously open doors. At the time, Wausau Homes began recruiting me, I had been a builder in the area for 27 years. Through a series of events over a six month period that only God could have orchestrated, I ultimately chose to become a Wausau Homes builder for several reasons. I’m a ‘systems’ guy. When you’re managing several projects at once, you need good systems in place. Wausau Homes has an amazing company that backs me up every step of the way and provides me the training and support systems to make sure I’m successful. Secondly, and maybe more importantly, the core values of this company are what sold me on becoming a Wausau Homes builder. The company’s core values aligned perfectly with my own personal values. I wanted to be part of an organization that not only promotes those values but stands behind them, and me, every step of the way.
When you're not building homes what do you like to do?
Spending time with family is always my favorite thing to do when I’m not managing a project. I am fortunate to have the majority of my family living close by. We often share meals together, play board games or cards together, travel together and even enjoy playing golf together. We have a son who plays college basketball, so we travel quite a bit to see his games in the winter months. My other passion is building furniture. I don’t have the time to do this nearly as much as I’d like, but if I ever get to retire, my time will be spent in the workshop building furniture.
What part of the custom home building process do you find the most rewarding?
I love the set day parties and the housewarming parties. I’m not really a “party” guy, but I love showing off our unique building process and seeing people’s reactions, as well as their reactions when they get to see the finished home. Both are incredible marketing tools for us and create lasting impressions.
If you were building your dream home what is the one feature you would have to have?
For me, it would be a well-designed, gourmet kitchen. I love to cook; plenty of countertop space and an island are a must. The kitchen always seems to be the central gathering place when entertaining, so my dream kitchen would be part of an open concept design that includes a family room/gathering area and large dining table.
What is one tip you would give to all custom home buyers?
We see a lot of home buyers in our area come in with extremely high expectations for what they want in a home without having prioritized their “must-haves” vs “negotiables.” Let’s face it…most home buyers need a great deal of education when it comes to understanding what it costs to build a custom home in today’s economy. Inevitably, the home buyer, unless they have the unique situation of unlimited funds, will have to make tough choices when it comes to designing their home. Having a list of “must-haves” and a list of “wants” prepared before you talk to a builder can help avoid disappointment down the road.
Are there any home building trends in your area that stand out?
Other than one, every home we’ve designed and/or built has had a barnwood mantle piece. Sometimes it’s been incorporated into a tile surround, other times with stone, or just by itself. But everyone seems to love the barnwood mantles…that and the barn-style sliding doors. We’ve installed quite a few of those in our homes, as well. Pretty much whatever trends are prevalent on HGTV is what our clients are asking for. We also tell our clients that once we order their house, they’re not allowed to watch HGTV until the house is done.
What has been your most rewarding build to date and why?
The second home we built was in 2018, for a retired federal judge and his wife. They were such a delight to work with, even through a challenging start to their project. We found a spring that ran right under their home when we excavated, which ended up costing them quite a bit more in excavation costs than originally thought. But we worked through it and were able to build them exactly what they wanted for their “forever” home. They have remained one of our biggest cheerleaders and open their home to us any time we have a serious client who would like to see a completed home. Earlier this year we took a prospective client through “the Judge’s home” and after seeing it, the client was sold. They signed a Design Agreement that day and are actually building the exact same home we walked them through with very few modifications. We are so grateful for this couple, their generosity and support.
What events can interested home buyers find you at in the coming months?
We will have a large booth at Elkhorn’s Oktoberfest event on Oct. 19th where customers can purchase a raffle ticket for the playhouse we built and donated to a local charity. We’ll also be grilling and selling hamburgers, chips and water to raise funds for the same organization. Plus, people can register to win prizes by signing up for our email list. And if they book an appointment for a four-chair meeting, they’ll receive $500 off of a future Design Agreement. We’ll be at several Business After Hours events, and we’ll have at least two more set days and a Housewarming Party this fall. Plus, look for us in Elkhorn’s Christmas Parade on Dec. 7th.