There in the Worst Moments of your Life
Halloween night 2019, Cindy Smith's smoke alarms went off in her house, alerting her to a fire in her kitchen.
"Within 10 minutes, our entire house was up in flames," she said.
Standing in her front yard barefoot in her night shirt, cell phone in her hand, Cindy watched firefighters work to save her home. She ended up losing everything.
"My house was annihilated," Cindy said.
Around 2 a.m., Joe with Michaelis arrived with his team to board up all the windows and doors. They finished around 5 a.m., but since it was unsafe to secure the roof, Cindy says Joe sat in front of the house to make sure it was safe until the sun came up. Overwhelmed with Michaelis' customer service in those hours, Cindy says they were the easy choice to help her clean up and move forward.
"With what Joe had done in the worst hours of my life, there was no way I was going to go with anyone else to put my house back together," Cindy said.
In the case of a whole-house fire and reconstruction, Michaelis started with a walk through of the home, led by estimator Rick Smith.
"We were there the morning after the fire, which was a pretty grim scene," Rick said. "They sustained a significant amount of damage, and like most people who have a fire, they didn't know what to do, where to go, or who to call. One of the most gratifying parts of my job is that we can get out and help people who have just lost so much."
Rick walked through each room, doing a thorough inspection top to bottom and pointing out what could be salvaged versus replaced. He walked Cindy through the process so she knew what to expect from the insurance company and insurance adjuster, and then the process that would follow.
"My first day is usually several hours of answering questions and getting a general scope together to get the ball rolling for them," Rick explained. "Once we had an approved estimate from the insurance adjuster and a construction budget, that's when I handed it off to Dave Doyle, one of our project managers, to oversee the reconstruction."
"Every step of the way, they were so impressive," Cindy says. "I've never built a house – I didn't know what to do and what things meant. Other than having a family member pass, this was the worst moment of my life. So to have them work so well with insurance and hold our hand all the way through everything, it was comforting. They felt like family and we built a trust immediately."
The Michaelis team working on Cindy's home removed the roof, took it down to the studs and completely reconstructed part of it. On a project like a whole-home reconstruction, Michaelis acts as the general contractor, subcontracting different trades and elements as any builder would. Cindy says each contractor was as outstanding as her Michaelis team.
"You can tell they are very cautious and careful about how they chose their contractors to come in and do the work, because everyone we met was the same caliber of people," said explained. "They were accommodating and comforting. I'm sure they do all these things for normal new homes, but they gave us this comfort in this situation and you just don't get that from everybody."
Cindy ended up making a few upgrades beyond what insurance covered, and six months after the fire, she is back in what she calls her dream home.
"I couldn't ask for one thing to be better; I have not one thing to complain about. When you're standing out in the middle of the night in a night shirt and cell phone, that's all you own, to being able to go back home, it's just a huge thing. I love this company. I love Michaelis. God had to send them to me, I tell you. It would have been such a scary experience without these people taking care of me. They handled me with care the whole way through the project, and they have landed me back home safely."
We're honored to say, #MichaelisDoesThat.