High Five for Customer Guides
Finding your lot and choosing your floor plan and design specifications are all just the first part of the home buying (and building) process. At Brookfield Texas, we think it’s important to stay open and available to our customers even after they’ve signed a contract. Whether it’s your first home or your twenty first, you deserve someone to hold your hand and answer your questions throughout the journey. We do our best to keep the lines of communication open and answer any questions you might have through foundation, framing, mechanicals, and finishing.
That’s why we match each customer with an experienced Customer Guide. Kirsti, Karen, Diane, Dawn, and Frances serve as the hub between customers and the rest of the Brookfield team, helping to keep things on track, set up meetings with your construction superintendent, process paperwork, and serve as your eyes-on-the-scene as your project goes from empty lot to beautiful, finished home. This personalized connection, combined with weekly reports and photos in the Builder Portal, can be especially helpful for customers who are out of town or not able to stop by regularly to check on progress for themselves.
Meeting Your Customer Guide
You’ll first meet your Customer Guide at your Builder Orientation, when you’ll go over your plans and initial scheduling. “When I first started five years ago, customers were feeling a little lost in the homebuilding process,” says Diane Blackwelder, our Customer Guide Lead. “We developed the Customer Guides program to help bridge that gap—you start with your New Home Counselor in the front, and then you add your Builder and your Customer Guide, so you’ve gone from a team of one to a team of three.”
Transparency is Key
Throughout the construction process, your Customer Guide is your partner and advocate, talking with the builder team and addressing any concerns so you can have the best possible experience. “We’re your go-to person throughout the building process,” Diane says. “We meet with the building, finance, and closing teams on a weekly basis to get the latest updates and communicate that progress to our customers.”
“One of the hardest things is timelines and managing expectations,” says Customer Guide Karen Spahn. “Everyone wants to know when their home will be finished, but that’s hard to know so early in the process.”
This year, with COVID causing national materials shortages and delays in permitting, materials, and tradesmen availability, the Customer Guides have often had the challenging job of communicating delays to customers eager to sell their current homes and get to Kissing Tree. “We’re here to make this journey as smooth as possible, and when there are hiccups, we try to let customers know as soon as we know,” says Diane. “By building that relationship where the customer understands that we’re on their team, it can help make hard news easier. If they know we’re on top of things, it can help them leave the work and the building to the experts and have fun with all the lifestyle aspects here at Kissing Tree.”
We think Karen says it best: “At the end of the day, we’ll deliver you a high quality, beautiful home that you’ll be proud of for years.”
MEET THE CUSTOMER GUIDES
Family: I’m married with 4 grandchildren and a dog named Butch.
Hobbies: I speak fluent Finnish.
Favorite local spot: Las Fontanas in New Braunfels has the best street tacos.
Favorite part of the job: I love my job! It doesn’t even feel like a job, we just go and talk to people! And we have a great team.
Favorite floor plan/style: I would be just fine with one of The Cottages; less maintenance is good because I like to travel.
What do you tell people about KT? KT homeowners are a very active and social group. Everyone is super friendly, and it’ll be easy to make friends here. There’s lots to do and special groups for lots of different interests you might have.
Any insider tips?
When you purchase here, you get to come and go and enjoy all the activities while your home is being built. There are people who come swims laps every day! It’s a great chance to get to be part of the community.
Family: Married for 2 years, with 3 children and 6 grandchildren, plus a dog named Elle and a horse named Charlotte.
Hobbies: I love playing the piano. I previously completed in inline speedskating and placed 1st at Nationals.
Favorite local spot: The Pita Stop
Favorite part of the job: Meeting all the customers and getting to know them during their home journey.
Favorite floor plan/style: The Champlain – I love the huge open entry way and plan. It’s great for entertaining!
What do you tell people about KT? It is such a unique, fun active community. All the residents care and look after each other. And the amenities are awesome—our residents move here to live life and enjoy it to the fullest.
Any insider tips?
Our phone numbers are landlines only, so we can’t receive texts on them—emailing and calling are the best ways to get ahold of your Customer Guide. Also, if you have a specific concern, don’t be shy about setting up an appointment. If you let us know what you’re worried about ahead of time, we can look into the situation and try to get some answers for you. That’s better than stopping by unexpectedly; if you do that, we’re often in builder meetings or other appointments, and that can be frustrating for customers.
Hometown: Outside of the small town of Rosebud, Texas
Family: Married for 25 years with two teenage boys and a small dog
Hobbies: I love to bake and actually had a small home baking business for a few years.
Favorite local spot: Palmers has a good happy hour and great food.
Favorite part of the job: I love helping people. Building a home can be a stressful thing, especially for those living in another state. I like that I can help to take some of the worry and stress off our customers by being a resource for them to ask questions and get updates.
Favorite floor plan/style: The Champlain or the Bristol. I like that they have a separate dining area that is not connected to the great room, and I like the kitchen layouts. My favorite exterior would be the Texas Hill Country.
What do you always tell people about KT? KT is a great place to work, and I’ve never seen another community like it. I love that everyone travels around the community on their golf carts!
Any insider tips? The biggest thing is to be flexible and know that timeframes can change. This is a months-long process, so dates are all estimated. And rain can cause significant delays—you can’t pour a foundation if it’s raining.
Hometown: I’m a Phoenix, Arizona native, but Texas is my home now!
Family: Married for 21 years to the love of my life, Christopher. We have 7 children and 15 grands.
Hobbies: I volunteer at Meals on Wheels, and I am a Certified Ombudsman for the Aging. I also have an Arizona and Texas Real Estate License.
Favorite local spots: Cantina Del Rio, Noli’s Vite Italian, Muck & Fuss, Clear Springs, and of course McAdoo’s! We eat out a lot—I cooked for so many for so long, and I’m kind of done with it.
Favorite part of the job: I love the fact that I get to work with homeowners and help take out some of the stress of purchasing a home. My other favorite part of working here is our strong leadership! Everyone in the Customer Guide department works together and supports each other.
Favorite floor plan/style: I like The Cottages, because I enjoy a smaller home since it is just my husband and myself at home now. My favorite is the Speith, at 1,561 Sq ft. with a 2-car garage.
What do you tell people about KT?
I tell people that I would live here if I could and there is always something to do and someone to do it with. A lot of our homeowners have lost a spouse and are really looking for a secure place where they can make friends and call home.
Any insider tips?
We’re here to support our customers. I’ve worked in real estate for years, and nobody else has someone like us who takes their hand and walks them through it. A big part of our job is empathy and knowing where the customers are coming from and meeting them where they’re at.
Hometown: I’m from New Orleans, but I grew up in Austin and the surrounding areas.
Family: I am married with 2 kids—a 27-year-old boy and a 10-year old girl. There’s a 17-year age difference, and I wouldn’t change a thing. I also have a border collie and 2 cats.
Hobbies: I am a holiday fanatic and decorate for every season. We put together a haunted trail and Halloween party at our house for the kids in our town every year. Christmas is my favorite though; I turn our house into a Christmas cottage.
Favorite local spot: Muck and Fuss in New Braunfels has the best burgers!
Favorite part of the job: I love watching the homes come together and delivering for our KT customers! For many of them, this is their last home and what they’ve worked so hard for for most of their lives, and that’s pretty special.
Favorite floor plan/style: I love the Monroe; I think it has a perfect flow, especially for entertaining. I love it so much that I talked my parents into purchasing one! My favorite style is the Modern Farmhouse because it looks so welcoming and cozy.
What do you tell people about KT? I tell everyone it’s like Disney World for adults. There’s so much to do here, and the residents are so nice and just happy to be here. I wish more people of this demographic knew how important it is to continue to make friends and stay socially active. I think it leads to a longer healthier life.
Any insider tips? Believe it or not, I have been promoting KT for the last year and a half! I was a realtor for the last 9 years before I jumped at the opportunity to work here. I fell in love with this community the first time I visited.