Chase Custom Homes & Finance Blog

Vendor Spotlight: Hancock Lumber Company

Hancock Lumber CompanyAs part of a monthly blog series, we would like introduce some of our trusted vendors and suppliers. Chase Custom Homes & Finance has been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the home building process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber Company is a 6th generation, family-owned business operating a timberland company, a sawmill division and a network of lumberyards, home design showrooms, and now a truss manufacturing facility. Hancock Lumber supplies lumber and trusses for traditional site-built “stick-built” homes here at Chase Custom Homes.

New Home Framing

Hancock Lumber also operates Home Again Design Showrooms in South Portland, Kennebunk, Brunswick and North Conway. Here, customers can tour kitchen and bath products and samples to get project inspiration.

Hancock Lumber Home Again Showroom

Hancock Lumber Home Showroom

We spoke with Kevin Hancock, CEO of Hancock Lumber Company.

Tell us more about Hancock Lumber Company?
“Led by 522 employees, Hancock has four times been selected as a ‘Best Place to Work in Maine’ and was recognized as the 2017 National ProSales ‘Dealer of the Year’. Four of their locations have received OSHA’s highest safety certification, earning SHARP certifications at their Casco, Bethel, Pittsfield sawmills and Bridgton lumberyard. The company is also a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, and the MITC ‘Exporter of the Year’ award.”

What are the advantages of working with Hancock Lumber Company?
“Hancock Lumber’s mission is to create a work environment that first and foremost recognizes employees as human beings and ultimately improves the lives of anyone who works at the organization. Taking market leading care of employees and customers defines who we are. Our focus on employee and customer intimacy means fostering deep levels of engagement across all segments—knowing each employee, each customer, each vendor, and each community with an intense level of detail, compassion, and sincerity. Our relationships have deep roots and are long-term because we ask questions and listen to what matters most for the people on our team and the people we are servicing. We know who we are and we put all our energy into being the company we want to be by staying true to our values and concentrating on our core customers, products and services.”

What does Hancock Lumber Company enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes
“Hancock Lumber looks to partner with customers who have aligned values and Chase is one of those companies.  We care deeply about our people, are passionate about providing value and excellent customer service, and are deeply connected to the communities we’re a part of- and, so is Chase Custom Homes”

Visit Hancock Lumber Company online.
Facebook page

Vendor Spotlight: Maine Traditions Hardwood Flooring

As part of a monthly blog series, we would like introduce some of our trusted vendors and suppliers. Chase Custom Homes & Finance has been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

The beautiful hardwood flooring in our new homes comes from Kennebec Lumber, a company that’s been building a family-operated, Maine-based business for 19 years and counting. Based in Central Maine, Kennebec Lumber now employs more than 100 men and women.

Kennebec Lumber began producing flooring in 2005, and is the maker of the Maine Traditions Hardwood brand. Maine Traditions Hardwood produces pre-finished, unfinished and engineered flooring, in a range of species, including red oak, hard maple, yellow birch, red birch, American cherry and hickory.

The Maine Traditions Hardwood line is distributed by Independence Flooring Supply in Westrook, Maine. Chase Custom Homes & Finance works closely with Independence Flooring Supply to find the perfect hardwood product to fit our customer’s needs.

mcbrierty photo

What makes your products superior/of the highest quality?

Chantal Callahan, Marketing Manager of Maine Traditions Hardwood (MTH): “Our lumber is cut and milled in Maine, then transformed into flooring of superior quality. Because the raw material is grown in the cool Northern Woods, the slow growth of the trees produces lumber with unique grain and character. And minerals in the area’s soil create color that uniquely enhances the beauty of our flooring. We take pride in producing our products from sustainably managed forest products, some of which have been managed by the family for over three generations.”

mcbrierty final

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes?

MTH: “We sell our flooring products through Independence Floor Supply. They have a great representation of our entire product lineup, and expertise to follow!”

Learn more about Maine Traditions Hardwood and view their online product gallery: http://www.mainetraditionsflooring.com/

Maine Traditions Hardwood Facebook Page



How to Position Your Finances to Build or Buy a Home This Year

Saving for a Home

The New Year is a time to start fresh, set new goals and make plans. If your goal is to position yourself financially to build or buy a home, these tips will help get you on the right track.

1.) Get Your Credit in Check. Credit is a big factor in the home buying/home building process. It’s important to regularly monitor your credit. Free credit pulling apps like Credit Karma make it easy to check. Today there are many credit cards that offer free FICO scores to help you keep an eye on your credit. You also want to focus on chipping away at debt to lower your DTI (debt to income ratio). Did you know? You can build a new home with a credit score of 580 or higher!

Credit Score Chart

2.) Smarter Savings. Have you looked at your savings account interest rate lately? The average savings account has a low 0.06% APY (annual percentage yield, or interest). Even some high yield savings accounts top out at 1.10%. If you have a large sum saved, consider switching to a low-risk Money Market Account and earn closer to 1.45% APY with interest compounded daily and paid monthly. Today, money market accounts are FDIC insured and with most accounts, you can easily access and transfer money online. This article provides a few options and more information: Best Money Market Rates & Accounts – January 2018.

3.) Collect Important Documents

In order to get pre-appoved for a home loan, most banks require the following documents:

  • Pay stubs covering the last 30 days
  • Bank statements, including all pages covering the past 60 days of your checking, savings, investment and retirement accounts
  • Last two years tax returns, including all pages and all schedules of your personal and/or business returns with W2s, K1s, 1099s
  • Valid photo ID
  • If you own property, copies of the mortgage statements, property tax bills and home owners insurance policy

** These tips are best practices and suggestions. Please consult your financial advisor first.

Vendor Spotlight: Dews Door Company

As part of a monthly blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Located in Cumberland Center, Maine, Dews Door Company is a family-owned business.  Founded in 1989, Dews Door provides garage door services from design and repairs to new installations. Dews Door specializes in garage doors and automatic openers for both residential and commercial customers. Customers can stop in and tour their beautiful showroom to see the most popular door styles and color options.

Dews Door

Charles Dews started the company in 1989, Adam his son started working for him in 1994 and he and his wife Amber took over the business in 2007 when Charles (Chuck) retired.

What are the advantages of working with Dews Door Company?

Amber Dews, Vice President of Dews Door Company: You get personalized service and are treated like family. You also are working with one of the owners from start to finish – you don’t get that elsewhere!

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes?

Amber: We like the predictability of working with Chase, we have come to know what to expect and ultimately we have the same goal. They treat their customers like family as do we.

Check out these amazing before and after photos of Dews Door’s work!

Dews Door Before_After

Dews Door Before_After 2

Other examples of Dews Door Company’s fine work for Chase Custom Homes:


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Visit Dews Door Company online!





Vendor Spotlight: Agren Appliance

As part of a monthly blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

Agren Appliance

Agren Appliance has been in business for nearly a half century. The company started in 1969 with just two service trucks and has grown to be the state’s largest independent appliance and mattress retailer. “Agren was founded in 1969 by my father,” says Eric Agren, customer service leader and second generation family member. Eric’s brother, Jason Agren, is the president of Agren Appliance.

Read on to learn more about the advantages of working with Agren Appliance.

Wolf appliance

How long has Agren Appliance been in business? How did the company get started?

Eric Agren: “Agren was founded in 1969 by my Father.  It started with two service trucks and my Father worked out of our house until he opened the first retail store in Auburn.  Today, Agren has 5 locations throughout Maine, and is the state’s largest independent appliance and mattress retailer.  We also have the largest service department in Maine, the largest parts department in Maine, and we service everything we sell.”

What does a typical customer meeting look like when someone visits your location?

Eric Agren: “Our main goal is to educate and help customers that are looking for new appliances and bedding.  We have the largest appliance showrooms in Maine, our sales staff is highly trained, low pressure, and ready to help customers make an informed decision for their appliance purchase.  A meeting would entail reviewing the customer’s budget and preferences on new products, and putting together a package for them that will fit their needs.”

What are the advantages of working with Agren Appliance?

Eric Agren: “Agren has been in the appliance business for 48 years.  Many of our staff have been with our company for over 20 years, providing the most experienced team of people in the business in Maine. Agren also offers the largest showrooms in Maine, with highly trained sales staff that are there to help customers find the right solution for their appliance needs.  We work hard to make sure customers can make good, informed decisions on their appliance purchases.  Finally, we have enough buying power to easily compete with the box stores.  In fact, we guarantee our pricing to be equal or better than theirs at any time.  And, we provide service to our customers after the sale if it is needed.”

What do you enjoy most about working with Chase Custom Homes’ clients?

Eric Agren: “When we meet with a Chase Custom Homes customer, we know they have already had a good experience with their building needs, and they have a clear path of what they need in their kitchen for appliances.  Working with Chase is seamless in acquiring specifications, design and the like to make the appliance purchasing experience as easy as possible.  Since our companies have a good working relationship, the client can rest assured that the little details will get worked out right as they build their home.”

Visit Agren Appliance online: https://www.agrenappliance.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/agrenstores

Call 800-335-0235


Vendor Spotlight: Bethel Kitchen Design

As part of a new blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!

 Bethel Kitchen Design has been in business for more than 21 years. Owner Charlie Reiss founded the business after 25 years in the building industry. “Working as a builder I found there was a need for a retailer who carried a better line of high-quality cabinetry,” he says.

After carefully researching which product line to carry, Charlie went with Schrock Cabinetry. His first year in business he sold 25 kitchens! Since, sales have continued to grow, but Bethel Kitchen still upholds its promise to superior customer service and attention.

One of the things Charlie enjoys most is helping ease customers’ nerves about big design decisions. “We really take the time to get to know the customer and give them much more individual attention than you would find at the average retailer,” says Charlie. “We’re also really flexible. We know people work and have families to take care of. We’ll work around your schedule and take a meeting at night or on the weekend.”

“We really take the time to get to know the customer and give them much more individual attention than you would find at the average retailer.”

Between Charlie and his business partner, Celeste, Bethel Kitchen has more than 40 years of combined experience in the kitchen design arena. “We try to paint the full picture of the space so design decisions are easier and less intimidating,” says Charlie. “I have tons of samples – everything from flooring to tile to full Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams design centers so we can assist customers in making color selections and make it a stress-free, fun process. Sometimes customers are so thrilled that they hug Celeste and thank her for her help.”

After many years, Bethel Kitchen Design continues to be one of the most important steps along the homebuilding process. Chase Custom Homes is proud to work with Bethel Kitchen Design to make customers’ kitchen and bath dreams a reality!


161 Main Street

Bethel, Maine 04217


Some examples of Bethel Kitchen Design’s fantastic work!






Vendor Spotlight: Stone Surface Granite & Marble

As part of a new blog series we would like to introduce and help you learn more about our trusted vendors and suppliers. We have been working with many of these companies for more than a decade and each supplier is a key part of the homebuilding process. We wouldn’t be able to do it without them!
Stone Surface Crew
Stone Surface has been in the granite business for 15+ years. The company offers expertise in everything from kitchen design and product selection to fabrication and installation. Stone Surface has extensive inventory, stocking more than 200+ granite slabs for customers to choose from to create their own unique look while meeting their needs and budget. The company also carries a variety of stainless steel kitchen sinks and full cabinetry product lines.
When customers visit Stone Surface, they meet with the people that will actually be installing the product and servicing well after the sale. Chase Custom Homes & Finance is proud to continue a long standing relationship with Stone Surface.
Stone Surface Installers

Learn more online at http://www.stonesurface.net.

  • 247 MAIN STREET BRIDGTON (207) 647-3611
  • 49 FOX STREET PORTLAND (207) 536-4238

Some examples of Stone Surface’s work in new homes:

granite sink




It’s All in the Details: 3 Interior Upgrades You Can Have in a Custom Home

There’s a lot more to a home than curb appeal. Interior details and customization matter – these are the things that make a home more than just a living space. With a custom home there are lots of options and features you can add to enhance your home and add a personal touch. Here are three of our favorite interior details:

Upgraded Kitchen Cabinets & Custom Backsplash

We’ve all seen the remodeling and fixer-upper shows on TV that show off dramatic kitchen transformations. What component instantly makes a huge difference? New cabinets! Especially in a new home, cabinets serve as a show piece and can really enhance the look of your kitchen. Add a custom tile backsplash to really make a statement.

Custom Modular Kitchen

Custom Built-In Shelves and Storage

Not only do built-ins serve as fuctional storage space, they also add a showstopping touch. And, because built-ins can be designed to cater to your needs, the options are nearly endless. Use to display art, books, family photos or create hidden storage, built-ins are a great way to add both beauty and functionality.

Custom Living Room Built-In Walls

Custom Trim & Wall Panels

Custom trim and panels add a polished, elegant touch to any room. Cove or crown, batten or baseboard, these finishes show off expert craftsmanship.

Custom Door Trim

Start dreaming of the details! See more examples of custom interior details and finish work here.

*Photos: Westchester Modular Homes.

Grand Opening Fun!

Grand Opening Westbrook Maine

Thank you to everyone who came to our Home Center Grand Opening on Saturday, May 13th. We were so pleased with the turnout and happy to meet everyone who stopped in!

The event kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony, offically opening our new custom modular Home Center.

Ribbon Cutting Chase Custom Homes Grand Opening

Pictured above, left to right are: Tony Silvernagel, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC); Eric Hallee, president of Chase Custom Homes; Quincy Hentzel, PRCC; John F. Chase, owner and CEO of Chase Custom Homes; Bill Noone, vice president of Chase Custom Homes; John Colucci, vice president of sales and marketing, Westchester Modular Homes; City of Westbrook Mayor Michael Sanphy, and Ann Peoples, City Council.

Grand Opening guests toured our new Home Center, learned more about new construction options and enjoyed some delicious pulled pork, smoked turkey, cornbread, beans and more from Moe’s Original BBQ.

Modular Home Center Grand Opening Westbrook Maine

Chase Custom Homes Grand Opening Westbrook Maine

Winners Announced!

What’s a celebration without great prize giveaways? Last week we selected the winners. Drum roll please….

$100 to 33 Elmwood: Nate Littlefield of Windham!
$100 to Shawnee Peak Maine: Cindy Slaney of Westbrook!
Portland Seadogs Tickets: John Flechtner of Portland!
And the GRAND PRIZE… a 55” 4K TV from Agren to Dan and Jane Freund of Portland. Dan is pictured below with his new TV.

Grand Opening Grand Prize Winner

Click here to see the full photo gallery from our Home Center Grand Opening. If you missed this event you can come and tour the model home anytime, M-F 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and weekends by appointment!


5 Things You Didn’t Know About Modular Construction

Custom Colonial 6 (2)

What do you picture when you hear the words “modular construction?” Sometimes this term is associated with standard box homes that seem to all look alike.

Well, the first thing you might not realize is this is no longer the case. Today, a modular home can deliver everything a traditional stick-built or site-built home offers. Modular homes are built to an extremely high standard, completely customizable and well-appointed with many upgraded finishes and features.

Our factory building partner, Westchester Modular Homes, has been in business for more than 31 years and has become an industry leader in modular home design, customization, craftsmanship and energy efficiency. As an independent, authorized Westchester Modular Builder, we can offer a unique custom modular solution.

Now that you know a little bit about Westchester, let us share a few things you might not know about modular construction.

#1: You can design your own floor plan 

Do you want an open-concept kitchen, living and dining room area? Maybe you need a first floor master suite or you’re just trying to make the best use out of limited square footage. Whatever your needs are our design team can take your concept and turn it into reality, using the latest drafting software. Our drafters produce full color, life-like renderings and give you a virtual tour complete with paint colors, flooring, appliances, cabinetry and furniture so you can really visualize what your new home will look like.

#2: You can have all of the upgrades you would find in a site-built home 

With the ability to customize any design, you can incorporate upgrades to fit your taste and budget. Take your home to the next level with popular upgrades like a gas fireplace, hardwood, stonework, custom interior trim or upgraded cabinets. Add a bay box to your kitchen to for some extra square footage and dress up your home’s curb appeal with attractive window shutters and grilles. There are so many options.

Great Room - 2 of 5

#3: Typically, you’re looking at a faster construction timeline

Modular construction is inherently faster than site-built. In just a few days, within a controlled factory environment, your home is 80 percent complete. The typical timeline for a move-in ready modular home is 16-31 weeks. In either case you will still need to locate and purchase land, perform a site check, site prep and complete the foundation, which can take between six and nine weeks.

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#4: They’re built super weather tight and structurally sound 

Just because the modular process is fast tracked, it does not mean lower quality. In fact, studies by the Federal Emergency Management Agency have found modular homes to be safer than site-built, based on assessments in storm impacted areas. This comes down to the manufacturing process behind a modular home. The controlled factory environment allows for accuracy and precision in every step of assembly. Modular homes also have to withstand many miles highway travel before they arrive at their final destination, therefore the home must be built to the highest standards of durability.

#5: There’s less of an environmental impact 

Since modular homes are built mainly in the factory, there is less travel to and from a construction site and far less construction site waste. Westchester Modular’s is also the first on the East Coast to be a certified Energy Star building partner. To earn this rating, Westchester has made energy strides in all aspects of the home building process, from more effective insulation to high-performance windows, efficient heating and cooling equipment and the use of Energy Star rated lighting fixtures, ventilation fans, appliances and more.