Warmington Residential

At The Legacy Collection, Warmington Residential wanted to establish the unique character of the community and drive homebuyer interest – and it appears to be succeeding on both counts. The first new home opportunity in Ladera Ranch, Calif., in five years, the community was originally slated to include 28 home sites, but due to demand, an additional 20 home sites were obtained. Today, as sales releases have been accelerated to meet this demand, 43 of the 48 homes have been released for sale, and 36 have been sold.

“The Legacy Collection presented an opportunity for Warmington Residential to re-enter both the Orange County market and the luxury home market on spectacular custom lots with a product that showcases our ability to respond to consumers and provide what they really want, which is quite different from what was already available in the 8,500-plus home Ladera Ranch master plan,”  Warmington Residential President and CEO Jim Warmington Jr. relates. 

“The neighborhood enabled us to prove to potential buyers, equity partners and lenders that despite the uncertainty in the market at the time the neighborhood was introduced, that Warmington could succeed by designing homes that catered to a niche market.”

Marketing the Legacy Collection

The Legacy Collection has been marketed as a luxurious, single-level home community that places special emphasis on unique options, such as a second story. Its marketing has focused heavily on the indoor/outdoor living spaces provided by these residences. 

Initially, the neighborhood was marketed to local residents of Ladera Ranch. “We believed strongly that many of our buyers would come from the neighboring community, and data confirmed that there was pent-up, move-up buyer demand in the area,”  Warmington recalls.

The community’s brochure was designed to resemble working drawings of the floor plans as a set of custom home blueprints. This established the semicustom nature of these residences and is a play on their location within the custom-lot neighborhood of Covenant Hills in Ladera Ranch.

Warmington Residential nurtured prospective buyers via the leads that were acquired through direct mail, series-based and targeted e-mail campaigns, on-site events and some display advertising. Ultimately, as the neighborhood was developed and sales started, word-of-mouth advertising played an important role.

“As The Legacy Collection amassed award recognitions – including the Golden Nugget Awards, the SoCal Awards and the Best of Orange County – its profile was again heightened and played an important role in our overall marketing effort,” Warmington says.

In the Beginning

Warmington Residential began pursuing the opportunity to build the $60 million Legacy Collection in 2011. The company analyzed the numbers numerous times before a deal was struck with the seller, Rancho Mission Viejo Co.

The location is an upscale, gated enclave of the Ladera Ranch community master plan known as Covenant Hills. The 48 lots that Warmington acquired were part of the community’s custom lot enclave.

“It was a good choice, because back in 2011, the custom lot sales were virtually non-existent for the previous owner,” Warmington Residential Executive Vice President Matt Tingler explains. “Our approach was to bring a very special, predominantly single-story, high-end production home to the market.”

Construction on two model homes began in June 2012, and completion of the 48 mostly wood-framed homes designed by Mark Scheurer Architects is anticipated in spring 2014. Warmington Residential California is the general contractor and has hired at least 39 direct construction contractors.

Energy-efficient and Luxurious

All homes at The Legacy Collection are engineered to exceed Cal Green and Title 24 energy standards. “With the use of high-efficiency windows, radiant barrier roof sheathing, low-water-use plumbing fixtures and engineered HVAC systems, our homes are efficient and conserve our valuable resources,” Tingler emphasizes.

The Legacy Collection is designed to epitomize the essence of the Southern California indoor/outdoor lifestyle. Sunlit courtyards lead to sprawling great rooms. An optional second level can be added to include casitas, lofts, bonus rooms, bedrooms or decks. The newest 20 home sites offer additional enhancements, such as optional Legacy Rooms, loggias and additional bedrooms.

“Warmington has a renewed and focused effort on creating communities and product that is special and different from anything found in the market, to set us apart and give homebuyers something that they must have,” Tingler asserts.

For The Legacy Collection, this includes:

  • Single-story or predominantly single-story living, which Warmington maintains is scarce in the marketplace today
  • True indoor/outdoor living
  • Sophisticated and innovative floor plans that are focused on tomorrow’s market trends
  • Customizable options
  • Integrated upgrades and designer selections though The Warmington Group’s Chateau Interiors and Design
  • Enhanced community design that reflects extensive research and planning geared toward the demographic
Amenities Galore

Model homes display European style architecture with Tuscan and Santa Barbara influences. The Legacy Collection’s kitchens are equipped with a large center island; stainless steel 48-inch professional cooktops with six burners and a griddle; a 48-inch hood with halogen lighting; a double oven with convection upper oven; built-in microwave; and an energy-efficient dishwasher with a stainless steel interior. Also featured are a cast iron white porcelain farm sink with a stainless steel faucet and a walk-in pantry.

Master suites feature a private bath with 6-foot soaking tub and optional jets, a separate stall shower, double vanities and expansive walk-in closets. On some plans, the master suite opens to the courtyards, and on other plans, the master suite opens to the rear yard, emphasizing the indoor/outdoor lifestyle.

Additional features are 45-inch fireplaces in the living rooms, traditional 6-inch baseboards and 3-inch casings throughout. Window stools and aprons are available in selected areas. Customization options include rustic beam ceiling details in main living areas and sliding pocket doors that disappear to create a seamless indoor/outdoor living environment. 

Because The Legacy Collection owners are residents of the gated Covenant Hills community, they can access village clubs and recreational amenities and 1,600 acres of pristine, protected open space.

Synergy Central

The Warmington Group of companies is a full-service real estate organization that maintains expertise in residential homebuilding, community development, acquisitions, and apartment and commercial property asset management. The group is comprised of Warmington Residential, Warmington Properties Inc. and Chateau Interiors and Design. 

“Warmington homebuilding companies traditionally have been merchant builders – that is, they would acquire mostly fully entitled land for the sole purpose of building residential communities,” Tingler explains. “For the past few years, however, we have been spending a much larger percentage of our efforts repurposing land – that is, creating value by re-entitling a project from, say, an industrial to a residential use.”

 Warmington Residential is still building homes on a large percentage of its acquisitions, but is selling some lots. “Today, many builders are aggressive in their efforts to acquire additional lots, given the current shortage of buildable land in California,” Tingler observes. “Because we are opportunistic within the real estate areas that we understand, we have recently begun selling certain parcels that we have entitled, instead of building homes on them. This has become a larger part of our business plan.”

Challenges and Opportunities

Among the challenges Warmington Residential is meeting are increased material and labor costs. “With the increase in construction activity associated with the economic recovery, we are seeing upward pressure on both commodity pricing and labor costs,” Tingler reports. “Over the past several years, a large percentage of the skilled labor force left the construction industry altogether. So consequently, we are experiencing somewhat of a shortage of labor within our subcontractor base. Although our subs have been cautiously hiring back quality workers, we often find ourselves competing with other builders to get the labor we need to meet our schedules.”

The flip side of this difficulty is that it means the economy is improving. “The housing market continues to be in a recovery mode,” Tingler declares. “Home prices have risen significantly over the past 12 to 15 months, which has led to renewed enthusiasm as well as competition in the marketplace – both for homebuyers and for land.”

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