Behind the Build: Julian Sally

From sales staff and tradesmen to behind-the-scenes troubleshooters, dozens of personnel bring a Gallagher and Henry home to life. In “Behind the Build,” the Gallagher and Henry blog celebrates spirited members of our team.

Today, we introduce Julian Sally, Gallagher and Henry’s estimator. Julian, who holds a degree in Construction Management and Engineering Technology from Purdue University, came to Gallagher and Henry in April 2019 after a 15-year career in construction and project management, primarily for municipalities.

What brought you to Gallagher & Henry in 2019?
I learned of the estimator position through my recruiter. He told me Gallagher and Henry built custom homes and that they are a mid-sized, family-owned business that has been around 50-plus years. He said the estimator position was a good opportunity that rarely becomes open at Gallagher and Henry. After learning the details of the position, and with my kitchen and bath design, estimating, and construction management experience, I thought I would be a good potential fit.

What does your role as estimator entail?
My position as estimator entails me keeping pace with the workflow of current projects under construction through issuance of purchase orders, maintaining and updating the subcontractor and supplier database, and submitting quotes to our sales managers per client request for custom options to our models. For example, let’s say a client wants to expand the side of the house out 4 feet. We would call that a “custom option” because it is not part of the standard or alternate architectural plans for the model. This would require planning and estimating of that custom option for feasibility and cost.

So, what goes into accommodating a homebuyers’ request to modify an existing floor plan?
When a client requests a custom option, multiple trades would be required to complete that “custom option.” An architect may need to create plans. Subcontractors would submit quotes. I would then review subcontractor quotes and create and estimate for the client. That cost is provided to the client, who would then decide if they want to purchase that option or not. Due to the custom nature of various client requests, it keeps the job interesting. It keeps you sharp.

What do you enjoy most about your role as estimator?
The specificity of it. In past work, I had to wear multiple hats and take on multiple positions through the course of a construction project. At Gallagher and Henry, I look forward to and enjoy honing in on being increasingly efficient at the multiple roles within the singular position and responsibility of estimator. Multiple hats, but within a singular role or position.

What do you enjoy most about working for Gallagher and Henry?
I enjoy the teamwork. Everyone within the company has a singular focus of creating the best product for the client. Everyone is an expert and engaged in their position. The communication maintained and required to be able to build custom-option homes is a necessary culture well developed within the company. I respect that culture and enjoy the challenge involved with the custom nature of our company as well as the output required to constantly build a great house and satisfy our clients.

What do you enjoy outside of work?
I love the outdoors. I like to fish, hike, and bike ride on trails. I enjoy playing chess. I like to cook and if I try a new recipe, I make it until I perfect it to my taste.

Movie, theatre, music, or sports: what’s your preference?
Movies would be at the top of that list. Four-star movies like The Aviator, The Godfather, The Green Mile, or A Beautiful Mind, for example. If a movie gets four stars, I am always curious to know why.

Successfully Satisfied

In November 2016, Chuan and Tram, then parents of one young daughter with a second child on the way, moved into Gallagher and Henry’s Farmingdale Village community in Woodridge. Gallagher and Henry’s earnest efforts to accommodate customization requests, the quality of the homebuilder’s work, and the spirited growth of the family’s Farmingdale Village neighborhood makes this couple a pair of satisfied buyers.

Chuan and Tram gained familiarity with the Woodridge area and Gallagher and Henry thanks to family friends who lived in a Gallagher and Henry-built home near Farmingdale Village. Knowing Tram desired a move to the western suburbs to be closer to family – “The village,” Chuan calls it. – the couple visited Farmingdale Village on a few occasions to tour the model homes and discuss different possibilities. Those visits spurred a strong rapport with Gallagher and Henry sales manager Sandie Kanakes. “We had a good feeling about Gallagher and Henry,” Tram says.

When those same family friends told Chuan and Tram that Gallagher and Henry had opened a new phase of development at Farmingdale Village, the couple quickly made their way to the sales office. “We were actually excited to be the first home in the new area because it allowed us to pick the exact lot we wanted,” Chuan says. “Plus, we really liked the idea of our kids growing up with the neighborhood.”

Chuan was immediately drawn to the Calysta, then the newest floor plan in Gallagher and Henry’s Lifestyle Series. “I wanted the biggest home I could get,” he says. “Go big or go home, right?”

There was, however, one small problem: Gallagher and Henry did not have a Calysta model for the family to tour. “But they already had some families living in Calystas, so Sandie arranged for us to visit one of those homes,” Tram says. “That sealed it for us.”

Though the family inhabited a brand-new home on Chicago’s Northwest Side, they did not design that residence. Chuan, in particular, craved the opportunity to put his personal stamp on the Calysta. “Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a customization kind of guy. I like to have things my way,” he says.

And Chuan delivered no shortage of ideas. He wanted cabinetry in the kitchen removed to accommodate a full-size refrigerator and full-size freezer. He requested a deeper pour in the basement to allow for 9-foot ceilings. And he asked that the exterior living room wall be pushed out an additional 4 feet to further enlarge the Calysta’s 3,365-square foot plan.

An ambitious Chuan also crafted plans for a completely redesigned second floor that converted the four-bedroom plan into a five-bedroom home without sacrificing the office or the convenience of second-floor laundry. “I mocked it up in Photoshop and the architect took it from there and finalized the plans,” Chuan says.

To achieve peace of mind, Chuan hired a trusted and thorough inspector to examine the home twice: once at framing and again when the home was complete. “I had used this inspector twice before on purchases and he’s thorough,” Chuan says. The inspector’s two separate investigations of the property cemented the family’s confidence in its investment with Gallagher and Henry.

As hoped for, Chuan and Tram’s children, now 5 and 4 years old, have grown up with the neighborhood over the last four years. Newly built homes now surround the family and a wonderful sense of community has blossomed, including a neighborhood block party and annual Halloween festivities. “We’re loving it,” Tram says. “It’s our forever home.”

4 Common Homebuyer Mistakes – and How Gallagher and Henry Helps You Avoid Them

As purchasing a home requires a substantial investment, the homebuying process can spiral into an overwhelming endeavor. Given such high stakes, it is inevitable that homebuyers face uncertainty and doubt, if not anxiety and angst, that leads to missteps or misgivings.

Gallagher and Henry is here to help you navigate this process with ease and confidence.

1. A Common Mistake: Rushing to Buy
Quite often, homebuyers feel pressured to act fast. If they fail to move decisively, after all, a desired property can be scooped up. Making such a hefty decision under intense pressure, however, is no way to make a significant life move and a likely path to buyer’s remorse.

How Gallagher and Henry Helps: At Gallagher and Henry, there are no high-pressured sales pitches, no urgent buy-or-die deadlines. We have been building homes in the Chicago area since 1954 and we are not going anywhere. We are committed to our homeowners and our business. As a family-owned, family-operated homebuilder, we want you to feel confident in your choice. So, we will supply earnest answers to your questions, connect you to helpful resources, and give you the time and space to make an informed, assured decision.

2. A Common Mistake: Failing to Survey the Market
Even the most informed homebuyers can fall prey to assumptions. They think their budget limits them to a certain area or to the resale market, for instance, and they fail to consider new home construction as a viable option.

How Gallagher and Henry Helps: Gallagher and Henry’s sales offices and model homes are open Thursday-Monday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Stop in and explore. Ask questions. Gather information on Gallagher and Henry’s points of differentiation. Learn about the specific Gallagher and Henry community you are visiting as well as others across the southwest and western suburbs. Our floor plans are available on our website for your perusal 24/7. We are also transparent with our prices and standard features, while we can also cost out any modifications you might be interested in seeing.

3. A Common Mistake: Waiting for Perfection
You are wise to create a wish list of wants and needs to guide your home search. But searching for the “unicorn,” the home that checks every last box, can produce an extended, frustrating home search.

How Gallagher and Henry Helps: You do not need to wait for perfection. Rather, go out and grab it. Gallagher and Henry currently has homesites available in eight communities while our Lifestyle Series includes six distinct home plans – four two-story options and two ranch plans. And though we build with brick, our home plans are pliable. You want a larger kitchen? A fifth bedroom? Another full bathroom? Extra windows delivering natural light? Specific finishes? Our plans serve as a starting point and our construction know-how enables us to flex the plans and deliver on specific requests from our homebuyers.

4. A Common Mistake: Miscalculating the Costs of Homeownership
Owning a home is more than the monthly mortgage payment, as numerous other costs come into play, including property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance. These expenses can – and do – add up, and that can put stress on household finances.

How Gallagher and Henry Helps: Gallagher and Henry has established relationships with experienced lenders who can help homebuyers secure competitive rates and gain clarity on monthly principal and interest payments rooted in their personal financial circumstances, not hypotheticals. Even more, moving into a new Gallagher and Henry home minimizes maintenance costs, especially on big-ticket items. There will be no needing a new roof or furnace, windows or appliances anytime soon, as everything in your home comes new and under warranty. On the utilities front, meanwhile, all new Gallagher and Henry homes carry the ENERGY STAR label, which reduces energy use 15-30 percent on an annual basis.