Does Amish-Built offer a better product?

By
Real Estate Agent with Cutler Real Estate

Living less than an hour from "Amish Country", we here in Canton, Ohio see the words "Amish built", "Amish cooking", "Amish made" quite a bit. Those billboards and ads certainly tempt us that our tummies are going to be so satisfied after a meal, and that a handmade Amish quilt is going to hold some exceptional value above and beyond what we could purchase elsewhere. I have to agree, I certainly DO love Amish cooking, and I myself have a handmade Amish quilt.

Coming from a family owned business, we had many Amish and Mennonite Customers, and developed some great friendships over the years. When my family travels thru Wilmot, Ohio, I still recall one of my "favorite" clients, Mr. Wayne Miller. Next time we pass thru, I certainly have to make sure to pay Wayne a call. Wayne does not have any electricity in his home, nor a telephone, but he did have one across the street in his barn/machine shop. He used to tell me to "let the phone ring a long time" because he had to cross the busy highway if he heard the phone ringing!

I'm just wondering if this term is being used loosely, and perhaps being USED AND ABUSED by many. A client recently told me that she had "Amish builders" put a roof on her home. I think most consumers are lead to believe that the word "Amish" always means quality work. The client did not ask for any references, and did not get any guarantees or warranties in writing. She was not given a phone number to contact anyone (Amish don't have phones, right??) She was not given an address as an alternative. In my clients case, these "Amish builders" 9 years later have left her with a bad roof job that is going to need replaced, and now are nowhere to be found. I've seen some "Amish built" homes that certainly cannot compare in quality to other local builders, and recall a home with a hideous vinyl siding job.

It angers me that some people may use this term as a slick sales tool to take advantage of unsuspecting customers. Being in the real estate business, I'm actually surprised I haven't heard of an "Amish Realtor" yet - I know they are out there! I myself have heard my Mom say that a friend chose a contractor because they were "Amish". For all I know, the guys couldn't be further from the Amish religion or culture. And certainly no offense, but just because you are Amish, does that mean that your work/craftsmanship is far superior to all others? Does that mean that everyone else that is not Amish is in some way inferior in their trade?

I guess the bottom line is as with any product or service, be sure to get the details of what work is going to be performed, what materials, that building codes are going to be followed, and no corners will be cut. Find out the name of the company, their credentials, their background. Ask for a list of prior jobs that they have performed.

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