Fortress Builders

When many home builders were leaving the business in the midst of a failing housing market, Bill Sinnett and Tim Kern put their combined 25 years of experience in real estate and new-home construction together and realized a dream to start their own home-building company here in Columbia. Sinnett, a retired army paratrooper who had spent the past twelve years in real estate, and Kern, a former building materials salesman with vast experience in pricing and cost estimating, decided to call their company Fortress Builders. And, as the name implies, the focus is on quality. 

Despite starting their company during a down-turn, Sinnett and Kern and their hand-picked team of sales associates have grown sales 200% from 2011. The sales team is led by staff of motivated and experienced sales agents, including Bill Jr., and John Nichols, also a retired Army veteran. Fortress homes are in 14 neighborhoods in the Columbia area, and each home is quality-built. “We only build a house that we would move into,” says Kern. Fortress won best in show In the Tour of Homes with the Hunters Run model the Eastchester in the category 201,000 to 250,000. 

Building a home with Fortress begins with choosing a plan. Over a dozen ready-made floor plans are available- -from the 1600-square foot Kentfield, with its open floor plan and double front porches, to the 3800-plus square foot Westchester, with a possible 6 bedrooms and a fireplace in the master suite. Fortress also builds custom homes. “We have the ability to design homes in-house for our clients or to take their ideas or plans they’ve purchased and build the house on their land for a very competitive price,” Sinnett says. 

Once a plan is chosen, the next step is a visit to the Fortress design center. There, associates walk the buyer through the process of making the many choices involved in new home construction. Customers can not only see, but touch examples of flooring, cabinetry, and fixtures to beautify and personalize their new home. 

Kern and Sinnett make the home-building process as painless as possible for the homeowner, allowing custom changes to the plan even as the home is being constructed. “We meet one-on-one with the buyers throughout the process, and at any time a buyer can request to see the builder” Sinnett says. “That gives buyers security because they know that they can speak with the person who makes the decisions. They get instant answers.” 

Fortress has a 100% customer satisfaction rating with the Better Business Bureau. This focus on customer service continues once the home is complete. “Our buyers have a 24/7 hotline if they have any warranty issues,” Sinnett says. 

“It isn’t just about getting a sale. It is about building a dream for home ownership. We take that seriously.” says Kern. “We intend to raise the bar for new homebuilders. for home ownership. We take that seriously and want to build the best product for our buyers and give that excellent hands on customer service which we feel is unmatched. Our customers have complete access to the decision makers and that gives our customers a great feeling of security” says Sinnett. With their emphasis on quality, value, and customer service, Fortress Builders is doing just that. 

Visit Fortess Builders online now at or call 803-461-1525 to speak to a sales agent 

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