When Billy Johnson, founder and president of Amberwood Homes, meets with new clients, he does not immediately launch into questions about what they are looking for in their dream home.
“When I meet homeowners, they are always a little skeptical,” Johnson said.
He prefers to joke with them for a bit and talk about other subjects first.
“Once they are settled down and more relaxed, we can talk about the house, but I always let them bring the subject up,” he added.
This client-centric and relaxed approach not only sets his company apart, it definitely seems to work. As Johnson noted, Amberwood Homes is one of the top custom home builders in the Valley.
For new homeowners who want to build a custom luxury home anywhere from Queen Creek to Cave Creek or Mesa out to the Estrellas, Johnson said they can count on him and his experienced team to help them bring their luxury home vision to life.
“My job is to help give people ideas and put them down on paper, and then I’ll tell homeowners, ‘You give me a budget, and I’ll tell you how to stay in it.’ I have a lot of fun doing that,’” he said.
“No one will build a better home for the dollar, so I try to convince people that while this is a huge investment for them, we have done this more than a few times and they will end up with a really nice home.”
Johnson is a northern Alabama native who went into the military as young man. He was inspired to launch Amberwood Homes after he built a home.
Soon after starting his business, Johnson realized he loves meeting the new homeowners and guiding them to the best luxury home for their needs.
In fact, Johnson noted, when he cut back on his responsibilities with the company, he found semi-retirement wasn’t for him.
After sharing his feelings with one of his co-workers, she responded with, “Well then, why don’t you come back to feel and do what you love?’”
In the three-plus decades he has worked with his clients, Johnson said he has seen luxury home trends come and go. These palatial homes can get into the 11,000-square-foot range.
“In the mid-’90s everyone was into 8-foot doors and Tuscan design,” he said.
The 2000s brought a surge of oak floors, which he said “are now dead.” Today, many new homeowners are looking for a large great room, as well as extra-large garages and fully functional outdoor living spaces.
“Big garages are a big thing right now,” he said. “They can be about 2,500 square feet on their own with air conditioning. Also, people could care less about a formal dining room, but they do want a patio kitchen.”
Large kitchens with “two of everything” including a pair of ovens and Sub-Zero refrigerators are also popular, Johnson said. While he’s thrilled with Amberwood Homes’ success and his happy clients, something else keeps him motivated.
“Anybody can say this, but can anyone be honest about it: I love my work, I really do, and I really enjoy it.”