Father, sons work together to build family homebuilder business

By Hollie Deese

Joe DeFatta began building homes 35 years ago, and in 2007 he and his son David, a Middle Tennessee State University graduate with a degree in residential construction and land development, decided to start their own business – right before the recession hit.

But that only made them work harder.

“I grew the company by standing in the middle of the road and waving down cars,” Joe jokes. He got clients by selling the fact that he, the builder, would be working with them the whole time. He pledged not to pass them off to someone else on the team.

“We started out that way, and, to a certain extent, we still operate the same way — except now I have David so I’m not spread as thin,” Joe says. “My younger son, Joe, has been working with us for almost a year, and in a little more time he’ll be able to do that.”

Slowly, methodically and strategically they grew their business from two houses in 2007 to close to 50 a year today.

“We might’ve come out a little beaten up, but we learned a lot of lessons,” David says. “We really focused on our company and the culture and the product and the process. He’s got tons of experience in building homes and helping run homebuilding companies. And with my eagerness to start our own thing, it’s been a great partnership between us.”

David says it is their phenomenal team that sets them apart, from sales agents to designers to project managers. But one thing he and his dad really pride themselves on is being present throughout the process, remaining small enough to still give each homeowner personal attention.

“We’re a small family business, and we are both intricately involved in each and every detail. Whether it be behind the scenes or on site, we are always available to our customers,” he says. “There’s not many other companies where you can get ahold of the actual builder, and in our case, we’re both available. We’re both ready and willing to walk through the process with our customers.”

They were picked as one of the builders for Stephens Valley based on their work in Temple Hills, another one of John Rochford’s developments.

“We feel extremely blessed that they chose us to be part of the Stephens Valley team,” David says. “To hold up our end of the bargain, we’re going to build the highest-quality homes with the best integrity for the community.”

In fact, David is so committed to Stephens Valley that he and his wife built a home there and moved in July with their daughters, ages 2 and 4.

“I think that speaks a lot to the community, that we bought into it so much we built our own home in there,” David says. “And it’s been fantastic.”

DeFatta Custom Homes
110 Reynolds Drive, Franklin