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When Brenda Christopherson started helping out with her husband’s home building business 40-plus years ago in Santa Rosa, deciding what went into a house was a lot less complicated.
“It was a long time ago,” Brenda said, reminiscing about how her husband, Keith Christopherson, then a carpenter, and a partner started building houses as Christopherson Homes, a general contracting and spec-home company. They soon got too busy to personally squire clients around to all the places they needed to go to pick out paint, tile, countertops, wallpaper, flooring, hardware, fixtures, appliances, lighting, carpeting, windows, doors and anything else conceivably necessary to complete their new houses. That became Brenda’s job, which she said she chose over being a travel agent, because as the Sonoma County business began to take off, her perfectionist style and personality wouldn’t allow her to do both without compromising the other.
Today Brenda, Keith and their daughter, Amy Christopherson Bolten, are the managing partners of Christopherson Builders, a highly successful Northern California award-winning real estate developer and residential builder with more than 7,000 new homes and 63 communities in its repertoire throughout Sonoma, Napa, Glen, Yolo, Sacramento, El Dorado, Placer and Solano counties. Christopherson Builders won Best Home Builder and Best Home Developer in the Best of the North Bay 2023 contest for Sonoma County.
It’s no surprise that Keith turned to real estate and construction, as he was “always surrounded by it,” Brenda said, pointing out his grandmother’s side of the family developed Stonestown and the Sunset District in San Francisco. “Keith’s dad and his brothers were always involved in real estate and construction.”. Brenda has become an expert in the real estate and architectural dimensions of the business as well as marketing roles she still oversees today. The company has garnered J.D Power Awards for its building prowess, and Keith and Brenda were inducted into the California Builders Hall of Fame in 2006. Daughter Amy, a longtime advocate of energy efficiency and green building, came to the family business with a strong management background, having worked in the private and public sectors.
Brenda points to Christopherson Builders’ longevity as a strong factor in the company’s continued success, noting that other builders that started after the fire of October 2017 simply didn’t have the wherewithal to last as long. “We’ve been around here for a long time,” Brenda said. “It’s also about our commitment to fulfill our commitment. We can get halfway through a project and realize it’s not going to be financially productive, but we know we’ve just got to stick with it.”. Christopherson Builders, she said, prides itself on listening to its customers, unfailingly upholds the warranty end of its projects and brings an unwavering stick-to-itiveness commitment to finishing projects–sometimes troubled projects or even ones abandoned by other builders.
Emphasizing a commitment to customer service, Brenda said Christopherson Builders truly values its people. “We have always subscribed to that. We value our customers, our employees and our trade partners, in that order. You’re nothing without your trade partners and your employees,” Brenda said.
What makes Christopherson Builders different from other builders, she said, is that it’s a one-stop shop, a full-service concierge building experience from start to finish. It puts a premium on engineering to reduce cost without compromising on high-quality design and livability.
Thanks to its real estate services, the company can help clients find and purchase a lot, develop property they have or buy a new home. The staff members assist homeowners in obtaining construction loans, site assessment, architectural services, soils reports, plotting and civil engineering, and Christopherson Builders partners with clients in the interior design and construction components. After breaking ground, clients can expect to move in within nine to 10 months. “It’s a big advantage,” Brenda said. “We can do absolutely everything in all different areas from real estate, contracts and development. We are one place, one source, so there’s not a big hodgepodge of services and providers.”
Christopherson Builders offers a plan library with over 80-plus new home designs, for everything from tiny 600 square foot ADUs and cottages to sprawling 10,000-square-foot estates. Clients can choose from pre-engineered plans for homes to be built, or they can work with Christopherson Builders for a one-of-a-kind custom design. The company creates memorable single and two story-homes on hillsides as well as flat terrain. Brenda said the current customer base is a mix of newbies moving into the area, homeowners who are rebuilding after losing homes to wildfires and returning customers who are so satisfied with their prior Christopher Builders properties that they’re ready to move on to second or third houses.
Christopher Builders makes the home building process as seamless as possible, Brenda said, by being able to handle all aspects of buying, selling, building, rebuilding and developing real estate and remodeling. “What most people want, whether they realize it or not, is to buy a completed home. It’s such a long and complicated process,” she said about home building. “Finding the right lot, the lot preparation and the foundation work–that’s what really throws people for a loop. “One thing people need to know is we’ve been here for decades,” she said. “They may be thinking they are saving a couple of bucks with somebody else on the price, but then they find out that is just a fraction of their real cost.”
What’s on the horizon for Christopherson Builders? Four new communities across Sonoma and Mendocino County. The projects are a mixture of single family homes and multi family residences and are currently in planning and development, with construction anticipated to commence in Q1 2024.
Christopherson Builders, 565 W. College Ave., Santa Rosa, 707-584-6377