Nick Balding graduated from college with a degree in business management and joined a real estate investment firm in Wilmington, N.C., that his brothers founded. The firm specialized in restoring historic houses. Since then, his brothers have moved on. But Balding, joined three years ago by wife Catherine, developed a vision for the company that focuses on design/build for historic restoration.
Historic restoration requires “different materials, different construction methods, and more attention to detail,” Nick says. He touts the company’s 3-D capabilities, enhanced by Google Sketch Up, to “increase our sales skills and help clients visualize.”
- Sits on the board of the Historic Wilmington Foundation, which lobbies the state to reinstate a tax credit of 20% on homes “designed to guidelines,” i.e., to historic standards, i.e., if the homeowner spent $200,000, they would get 20% of that back in credits on state income taxes over a five year period.
- Balding is particularly proud of a recent historic renovation in which he persuaded clients to stick with their 10-ft by 10-ft kitchen instead of demolishing three rooms, which he reworked and restored to perfection.
- Has been able to make use of his training in finances to ensure consistent profitability, aided and abetted by peer consulting group Remodelers Advantage.
- Insists on maintaining the personal discipline to respond immediately to any and all problems having to do with jobs. “A lot of contractors don’t answer their phone or call clients back,” Balding says. Knowing that drives clients crazy, he makes a point of responding immediately. For instance, on a recent project newly installed HVAC unit failed to work in heating mode. “I talked with the manufacturer, then the installer, then the client. I said: ‘We have a good product and we’re going to get it right and make it work before we leave.” And he did.