Building Dreams
Tom Bentley, founder and CEO of Bentley Homes, has been building on his passion for superior and distinctive home construction for more than 40 years
by Phil Gianficaro

When Bentley Homes’ founder and CEO Tom Bentley was a boy, he was always building things.

Young Bentley built things big and small. At age 11, he constructed an elaborate tree house in the backyard of his family’s Villanova home. If something broke in the family home, his dad wouldn’t worry, saying assuredly, “Tommy can fix it.” If the boy saw a construction site, he would ask his mother if he could watch a while, and she would happily oblige.

Building was more than a mere hobby for young Bentley; it was in his blood.

More than half a century later, and 41 years after he founded Bentley Homes, little has changed. As the premier builder of homes, from estate homes to apartments and townhouses, throughout Chester and Delaware counties and on the Main Line, 63-year-old Tom Bentley continues to build upon his company’s sterling reputation for craftsmanship and quality by building sensational homes.

“We’re home grown,” says Bentley. “I grew up on the Main Line. This area means something to me beyond my business. My dream when I finish a house is that someone sees it and thinks it’s been there 20 years. That means we’ve blended into the fabric of the community.”

Whether it’s a fine custom home worth a few million dollars, a more affordable townhouse or something in between, Bentley Homes does not waver on its attention to detail and its pledge to capture each homeowner’s personality and sense of style in the new home.

“The amazing thing to me is, most people think we’re just super high-end luxury,” Bentley says. “But over the last 40 years, we’ve built hundreds of homes and townhouses, not super luxury. We do a lot of different projects and price points.

“That said, we have more luxury sites available,” he continues. “We are so proud to have built a brand of homebuilding that is synonymous with luxury. We want people to know that same quality of craftsmanship and superior design extends across all styles and prices, from townhomes and apartments to single family homes and luxury communities. Our homes range in price from $200,000 to over $3 million.”

Bentley Homes has become known as a superior option for those looking for a new home. Clients have sought out its expertise in building unique homes that are far and above the so-called cookie-cutter styles—homes that are virtually indistinguishable from one another—offered by some other builders.

Likewise, Bentley Homes may very well be the best choice for those hoping to be more satisfied with their new home than they could ever have imagined. That was true in 1974, when Bentley founded his business, and it remains true 41 years later.

“My greatest gift is that I enjoy what I’m doing,” he says. “I enjoy going to work. I like our product, and so do our customers. Also, I have a great team. My CFO has been with me coming up on 25 years. A lot of people in the company have been with me 15 years. My president has been with me 10 years. Our subcontractors, carpenters, plumbers and drywallers, many of them have been with us for years.”

Bentley can list reason upon reason for why someone should choose Bentley Homes. For him, it all begins with prime locations and varied price ranges.

“We’ve been in business 41 years, so that speaks for itself,” he says. “Our styling either speaks to you or it doesn’t. But if it doesn’t, we can customize to your liking. If people are looking for a new home in a particular price range, we usually make the sale. People know that with us, they’re getting a quality home.”

Bentley Homes takes pride in its tradition of building highly personal design and exceptional quality into homes of every size. Customizing one’s home and bringing the buyer’s vision for that home to life is a commitment from which Bentley will not stray.

“We love doing custom homes, even if we’re doing smaller homes,” he adds. “But even when we’re doing less expensive homes, I like using nicer materials. We have great floor plans, but I drive my architects crazy by changing the plans all the time. I want to do all I can to satisfy the home buyer.”

Bentley is focused on caring for not only the home buyer but also the world around him. He has always made giving back to the local community a priority in his marketing efforts. Since the inception of Bentley Homes in 1974, the company has raised funds for a variety of local charities and organizations such as Make-a-Wish Foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand, Mustang Scholars Foundation, Smile Train, American Red Cross,, American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, Caron Treatment Centers, Peter’s Place and Home of the Sparrow, to name a few.

Also, Bentley Homes is renowned for its sensitivity to the preservation of trees, natural elements and open spaces. Such a commitment creates opportunities for beautiful outdoor living spaces, expanding the enjoyment of a Bentley home.

“We try to not cut down trees,” Bentley says. “As I said, when we build a new home, we try to make it seem like it’s been there for years.”

While Bentley Homes will continue to cater to buyers with an eye on high-end luxury homes, it is also focused on the construction of apartments and townhomes.

“The [baby] boomers are downsizing and don’t want to go into a senior community; they want to go to a community that talks to them,” Bentley says. “We’re building a lot of townhouse properties and apartments. People are not putting a lot of money in real estate. There are only so many dollars you have in your pie chart. People would rather use that money to travel.”

Not long ago, Bentley was filling out a building permit in a part of Montgomery County and experienced déjà vu. He knew he had never been in that township previously to build a home. Suddenly, it dawned on him: He was in Lower Merion Township, and the building permit form he was filling out was the same as the one he filled out for that tree house all those years ago. Nothing had changed in the past 25 years, much like Bentley Homes’ commitment to quality.

Bentley Homes

Photograph by Jody Robinson