The Centra Homes Blog

Homecoming: From Knoxville to Dayton and a New Centra Home

October 25th, 2019

A new job opportunity offered the Zobels a chance to move home to Minnesota near family and friends. It was precisely what this young family dreamed of—if only they could find a place to live.

Back in 2014, the Zobel family (then a family of four) moved from Minnesota to Tennessee. John had accepted a new position as an Assistant Professor at the University of Tennessee. While he knew the family was leaving for the right opportunity in Knoxville, he also hoped they’d eventually find their way home.

In 2018 that opportunity presented itself. Zobel was hired at the University of Minnesota and the family (now five-strong) was on the move. The only immediate hurdle to clear involved finding a home in Minnesota.

The Search For a New Home

“We briefly considering building a home,” recalls John, “but with our Tennessee home under sales contract that didn’t really fit our timeline.”

So the family began looking at potential homes in earnest. First considering previously owned homes in the Plymouth area, they quickly found homes built in the 80s and 90s needed extensive maintenance. So they shifted their lens to new construction in outlying suburbs. As the months passed, the family increasingly added urgency to their search. 

“We ultimately walked through probably 40 homes,” recalls John, “these huge subdivisions offered one cookie-cutter home after the next.”

Zobel says that the family was also disappointed by small lots and the “big box store” feel of homes that he says lacked attention to detail and seemed “less reliable in the long term”.

Granstrom Orchard in Dayton

Finally the Zobels reconsidered a subdivision they had overlooked previously and stopped in Centra Home’s Granstrom Orchard community in Dayton. Immediately John was struck by the larger lots and says the upgrade in quality materials and workmanship was apparent.

The Zobels also made an immediate connection with Centra Sales Counselor Zach Adams. 

“Zach from Centra Homes was knowledgeable and very friendly. Walking around the neighborhood, the other neighbors there knew him. It made us realize this guy is someone who is pleasant to work with.”

—John Zobel, Centra Homes Buyer

On a tight timeline and impressed with what they had seen, the family zeroed in on a completed spec home at Granstrom Orchard. This offered a quick close on a “well designed” home that was packed with extras including a drainage pond in the backyard for hockey and skating. Following an 11th hour case of cold feet, the family decided to purchase the home.

“Zach left it up to us and wasn’t pressuring us or salesy.” says Zobel, “We talked through options and he was extraordinarily on point, making the process incredibly easy.”

Zobel calls the close on his new home a “great experience” and says it took only 15 minutes.   


Over a year later the Zobels are enjoying their new Centra Home. Zobel says the family’s four-car garage, pond, and large yard are all working out well. He notes that his family now hosts neighborhood soccer games for the kids as well as skating parties in the winter. He says the smaller subdivision leads to a real sense of community but with “elbow room”. He also enjoys the proximity to his sister and in-laws.

Zobel calls the home a “blessing” for his family and says they have grown comfortable quickly. As for Centra Homes, Zobel notes that the service didn’t end at closing.

“I expected more problems with a new home, but the few issues we’ve had Centra responds to immediately. I’ve been very impressed when warranty service was needed” —John Zobel, Centra Homes Buyer

All in all the Zobels are thankful to finally be back in Minnesota in a quality-built home and are enjoying every bit of their homecoming. A journey that was four years in the making.

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