Congratulations to the Brabec brothers for winning the Reflector Readers' Choice Award for Best Builder/Contractor. The article which follows below has been reposted from the article which appeared in the 2017 June issue of the Reflector (readerschoice.thereflector.com).

"Scott Brabec and his brother Rob feel that people come to them because customers have looked at homes for sale and can't find what they really want, so they decide to build. Brabec Homes is a design and building firm. People like that idea because they work with one person in the design and building aspect of the home. Scott feels that it is best to start with a budget and then work backwards, that way there are no surprises. Scott indicates that open concepts, covered patios, and outdoor living spaces are the popular request of customers. Probably the biggest request now is a second in-law suite on the main floor of the house. This is a flexible room they can be used by a renter, college student or a caretaker.


As real estate prices have increased steadily this past year in the Portland/Vancouver area, building a custom-built home makes more investment sense then ever. The demand for quality in homebuilding has also become higher than ever before due to buyers being more informed. While one could safely say all home purchases: i.e. “Tract”, “Spec” or “Custom” (new or used) are investments; custom homes have proven to be lower risk with higher return investments. I’ve listed below five top reasons why now is the time to have your custom dream home built for investment reasons.

1. Quality Built with State-of-Art Materials

New homes require less maintenance because each component is NEW and built with quality materials. Building materials are created to last longer and be more environmentally friendly than ever before.
Internet/Media connectivity, smart home technologies, and state-of-art HVAC systems add value in most custom homes.
Most custom-built homes come with a warranty that can often be extended, offering many coverage options.

2. Advanced Energy Efficiency

Today’s home buyers not only have a deeper knowledge of new building products but also of green energy materials. Today’s custom-built homes are more energy-efficient and utilize space and lot/property better than homes built 20 years ago.  Today’s custom home will cost you less in utilities than an equal size home built 5 years ago. Advancements in better insulation applications, low voltage lighting, solar off-grid and alternative energy gives the custom home buyer more options adding up to greater cost savings. Greater utility cost savings equal greater investment returns.

3. Custom Built Appeals to Perspective Buyers

While custom homes are built with the needs and wants of the client, often these homes will fit the needs and wants of future buyers as well. Real estate agents are often told by buyers that they don’t want a cookie cutter home? Custom Homes are one of a kind but built to code with solid engineering principles and great design, making a custom home more appealing for generations to come.

4. The Home of the Future Has Arrived and It a Custom Home

The future has arrived. Technology coupled with advancements in engineered building products has unleashed a creative approach to custom home building. A home that speaks to you and you to it, that allows you to manage your home using a mobile device while you are away, high tech security, just to name a few. These are not uncommon. They are available and ready to be built in to your custom home. The home of the future is a home you can bank on increasing your investment.

5. Tax Advantageous

You can deduct the interest on up to $1 million in mortgage indebtedness on your primary home, you can also sell your primary home for tax free profits up to $250,000 for singles and $500,000 for married couples if you live in the home for the last two of a five-year period. If you are in the 28% or higher tax bracket, it behooves you to own property.

“Investment” is defined as “the action or process of investing money for profit or material result.”

Every time I drive up to my house I have the physical proof (material result) that I made a great investment. When I see the prices of homes and the cost of renting rise I know exactly what owning my home has profited me.

ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms)

ICF is a system of forms for concrete usually made with a rigid thermal insulation.  The foam blocks will stay in place as a permanent substrate for walls, floors, and roofs adding for greater insulation. The blocks lock to each other as they are stacked and then filled with concrete. Kind of like Legos for builders.

ICF, or concrete homes, simply put are better built homes.  Though they do cost a bit more up front, we believe about 10%, the value and payback over the long run, usually 5-7 years, is quite beneficial.

Beautiful homes - From the exterior it is hard to even know a home is of concrete.  ICFs can be used to build virtually any home plan, using any finish; brick, stucco, siding, and more.

Built to last - All concrete homes are designed to exceed standard seismic codes and is recognized as a safer form of construction when hurricane, tornadoes, earthquakes or fire threatens.

Energy efficient - The mass of concrete slows down the transfer of heat and cold making your home warmer in winter and cooler in summer with less energy.

Lower maintenance - Two of the top causes of exterior maintenance are termites and rotting which concrete homes have a natural defense against.

Environmentally friendly - Building with concrete helps save our precious forests.  The amount of land used to extract the materials to make concrete is only a fraction of that used to cut down our forests for lumber.  Scrap tires and other combustible waste that would otherwise take valuable land in landfills are often used as a fuel source in the cement manufacturing process.

Quiet and comfortable - The greater mass of concrete can reduce sound penetrating through a wall by over 80% when compared to wood-frame construction. Although some sound will penetrate through windows, a concrete home is often two-thirds quieter than a wood-frame home.

Solid investments - ICF is stronger than stick built homes and safer in hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and fire.  Insurance companies usually offer discounts on premiums.

As the blocks are locked together metal rebar is placed in the blocks to add strength to the walls.

Walls are fully built and the foam blocks left still in place to provide the added insulation.

This is the completed ICF home built by Brabec Homes in Vancouver Washington.

“Comparison Chart for Custom Home vs Spec. (Speculative) vs Tract Home”

The terms used for Home or Building Types are often misunderstood by many. Part of the blame for this misunderstanding is the builder or realtor who wants to list the home as a “Custom Home” because it attracts buyers. Below is a simple Comparison Chart you can use to see the differences between the three home types.

Using the Comparison Chart determine which Statements are important to you in selecting which home type best suits your need.

Building a custom home allows each customer to live in a home designed specifically for their wants and needs. If it is truly a Custom Home then those wants and needs will go way beyond paint colors, carpet and cabinets. A custom home builder expects your input and makes it part of the process. (Next Articles will be about "What makes a Custom Home "Custom").

Homes that are custom built will have a higher value per square foot than "speculative" or "tract" homes. This value will be realized not only when you take possession, but also if you should ever sell.

While the quality that is inherent in a custom home enhances its worth, it also gives the owner a greater sense of security, health and well-being.

In this age of dangerous chemicals and cutting corners, buying a pre-built home doesn't allow you to see what you’re buying under all the paint and crown molding. As an expectant participant in building your custom home you have the opportunity to inspect the home while it is being built. You will see what is in the walls, underneath the floors, and in the attic.

If you want to choose from one of three house plans painted in one of three colors, then a tract builder is right for you. If you want a home that is uniquely your own, tailored to optimize the features of your lot that meets the specific needs of your family, a Custom Home Builder can make those dreams come true.

This quote applies to custom home building: 
"I think every person has their own identity and beauty. Everyone being different is what is really beautiful. If we were all the same, it would be boring."